- Who can you sponsor under family class sponsorship?
- Eligibility Requirements for the Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- Eligibility Requirements for the Sponsored person
- How to apply to sponsor a relative
- Permanent residence application
- Document checklist
- Processing time
- Application approval
- Rejection appeal
- How can Total Law help
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Family Sponsorship?
Canada has sought to welcome several eligible immigrants over the years, and Family Sponsorship brings the second largest category of immigrants to the country due to the government’s commitment to keeping families together.
Family Class Sponsorship enables Canadian permanent residents, citizens, or a person registered under the Canadian Indian act to sponsor a foreign national to immigrate to Canada.
If approved, the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident of Canada, giving them the right to live and work in Canada without restrictions. Also, after five years of holding permanent residence status, they can apply for citizenship if they have stayed in the country for at least 1,095 days within five years of approval for permanent residency.
Spouse, Common-law Partner or Conjugal Partner
Canadian citizens and other eligible sponsors can sponsor a partner that is of either sex that is at least 18 years old.
If your partner is your spouse, then they must be legally married to you.
If your partner is a common-law partner, they should meet these requirements:
- Aren’t legally married to you
- Have been living with you for at least 12 succeeding months in a conjugal relationship without long periods spent apart.
If you want to sponsor a conjugal partner, your partner must:
- Not be legally married to you or in a common-law relationship with you
- Have been in a conjugal relationship with you for at least one year
- Have been living outside Canada before the application
- Not be able to live with you in their home country or marry you because of legal and immigration reasons, such as:
- You both are in a same-sex relationship, and it’s illegal in their home country
- Your relationship is not legally or socially accepted and can lead to persecution
- They are married to someone else and not allowed to divorce in their home country
Under Family Class Sponsorship, you are allowed to sponsor your children if they:
- Are under 22 years of age
- Are not married or with a common-law partner
- Are older than 22 but are unable to financially support themselves due to a mental or physical condition
- Have depended on you for financial support since before they turned 22
- Are your own biological or adopted child
- Are your spouse or partner’s dependent children
With the exception of age, your dependent children must continue to meet these requirements until the Canadian government finishes processing the application.
Parents and grandparents
You can also sponsor your parents and grandparents if:
- You are related by blood or adoption
- They are your parent’s or grandparent’s partner
Note that if you are sponsoring your parent’s or grandparent’s partner, the beneficiary will have to be a dependent of your parent or grandparent. That means you will file an application for your grandparent or parent in which they are the principal applicant, and their spouse or dependent children can be added as dependents.
You can include a dependent child of any parent or grandparent you are filing for as a dependent in the application.
In addition, there’s a limit to how many applications are approved for this division. If the quota is filled before you apply, you can consider the super visa or super visitor visa.
Sibling, grandchild, niece and nephew
You can sponsor your sibling, grandchild, niece or nephew if:
- They are related to you by blood or adoption
- Both of their parents are deceased
- They are under 18 years old
- They are not married, in a common-law, or conjugal relationship
If their parents are not dead but are not in their lives (for example, in jail or abandoned the child), you cannot sponsor them to immigrate to Canada.
Apart from your spouse, dependent child, grandparents and others mentioned above, you can also sponsor certain relatives; you may sponsor one relative that is related by blood or adoption, regardless of their age, if:
- You don’t have any other living relative that fits the other four categories that you can sponsor.
- You don’t have any relative in the other categories who is a Canadian or permanent resident or registered Indian. of Canada.
Eligibility Requirements for the Canadian citizen or permanent resident
If the foreign national meets the requirements for family sponsorships listed above, there are additional requirements you must meet.
As the sponsor, you are to meet requirements that include that you:
- Are at least 18 years old
- Live in Canada
- Are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or registered person under the India act
- Meet the financial requirements to provide for the basic requirements of the relative’s everyday living and health needs not covered by the public health services provided by the government of Canada
- Are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability
- Are not in debt due – to a loan or unpaid child support payments
- Have not declared bankruptcy
- Are not in prison
- Did not violate the terms of the sponsorship agreement when you previously sponsored a relative
- Can prove that you are related to the sponsored person
- Can legally stay in Canada and have not received a removal order
In addition, depending on how related you are to the sponsored person, you may need to provide proof of other requirements.
Also, in some categories, you must be invited to apply; if you want to sponsor your parents and grandparents, you must submit an interest to sponsor form and, if invited, can then apply for your parent or grandparent.
Furthermore, you may need to provide additional requirements depending on if you live within or outside Quebec.
If you live outside Quebec, you must be able to provide a promise of undertaking to financially support the person you sponsor for a specific period, usually 3 – 20 years, and repay any provincial assistance rendered to that individual.
If you live in Quebec, you must meet Quebec’s immigration sponsorship requirements similar to the above, with a few exceptions, including that the time to support the person will be at least 10 years. After applying to sponsor a family member, you will receive an email or letter with instructions on how to submit a special agreement to the Quebec government.
Eligibility Requirements for the Sponsored family members
The family members being sponsored must meet some requirements as well to be able to obtain permanent residence under family sponsorship. In general, immediate family members being sponsored must fall under one of the categories and meet the criteria for that category. In addition, they must:
- Take every effort to support themselves and their dependents if they are not dependents of the Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
- Be able to agree to the responsibilities mapped out in the undertaking
- Live outside Canada at the time of application unless they are in Canada legally with a valid temporary visa, such as a work or study permit.
- Be able to provide proof of relationship, such as birth or marriage certificates and pictorial evidence.
- Be able to immigrate to Canada without posing a health risk to the general public.
- Must not have a criminal record
Due to the different categories in family sponsorship and their varying criteria and supporting documents, it’s recommended that you discuss with an immigration solicitor to find out the exact criteria and required documents for your circumstances.
Submitting the application forms
Family sponsorship and other Canadian immigration processes are handled by the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or IRCC for short.
The application process starts with submitting a petition to be invited to sponsor your family member if you are sponsoring a parent or grandparent. If you apply without being invited, your application will be rejected without a refund of the processing fee.
If you are sponsoring any other relative, you can submit your sponsorship application and your family member’s application for permanent residence at the same time.
The application for family sponsorship can be submitted through the online portal of the IRCC. However, if you cannot use the online portal due to a disability, the IRCC has provisions for paper, braille or large print applications. To be approved for that method, you must email the IRCC with your details and the method you would like to use.
The Canadian citizen is to fill these forms:
- Document Checklist — Sponsor
- Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking
- Financial Evaluation
- Income Sources
- Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union, if it applies
- Medical condition statement, if it applies
- Statutory Declaration of Severance of a Common-Law Union, if it applies
- Details Of Military Service, if it applies
The above forms must be printed and signed by hand. You must send the electronic copies of the signed forms to the family member sponsored to upload them in their online application and electronically sign their part of some of the forms and the entire application for themselves and their dependents.
The principal applicant (beneficiary) must fill these PDF forms:
- Generic application form for Canada
- Schedule A – Background/Declaration
- Additional family information form
- Supplementary information – your travels
Because there are different categories of family members that you can sponsor, the exact forms the sponsor and beneficiary need to fill may differ. To be certain of what applies in your case, please reach out to an immigration solicitor.
Pay application fees
The next step is to pay the application fees online. The fees may include:
- Application processing fees for the sponsor ($75), the principal applicant ($75 or $475), and their dependents
- The right of permanent residence fee ($500)
- Biometrics fee
The exact fees you will pay may differ. Ensure that you check the application guide for your category or discuss with an immigration attorney before making payment. If you pay the wrong immigration fees or don’t pay any of the fees applicable to you, your application may be rejected.
Also, after the biometrics fee has been paid, your family member will get a letter inviting them to give their biometrics (photograph and fingerprint) at a collection point. They have 30 days to do that.
Also, because you may be required to submit proof of a medical exam and police certificate, you will spend on those as well. The fees vary by approved medical practitioner and country.
Submit your application
The last step is to submit your application. Before doing that, ensure that you have answered all the questions in the forms, have electronically signed the application on the IRCC’s portal, uploaded your supporting documents, and uploaded your application fee receipts.
If you cannot apply online, you may be able to submit your application via courier service, regular mail or a visa application centre.
Before you apply, have in mind that when you sign the undertaking to care for your relative, that agreement is valid even if the partnership ends (divorce, separation, etc.), there is a rift in your relationship, you are unemployed or earn less. Also, if the principal applicant died – in cases where they have dependents in the application – you must continue to provide financial support to the dependents.
In addition, you may need to go through other steps depending on who the relative is. For example, if you are sponsoring your dependent child without sponsoring your partner, you will have to show that the other parent or guardian agrees to your child immigrating to Canada.
As a result of the different categories, forms, and steps, it’s recommended that you contact an immigration solicitor in Canada. Total Law can assist you with your application to maximise your chances. Call us on +1 844 290 6312 or contact us online.
Permanent residence application
If the sponsorship application is accepted, the Canadian immigration visa office in your relative’s home country will send your relative an application for permanent residence.
The relative must fill that application. However, if you are sponsoring a dependent child, you or the child’s legal guardian can fill out the application form on the child’s behalf. After completing the form, it should be sent back to the Canadian visa office.
That should be sent along with:
- The relative’s passport (or photocopies, the visa office will let you know which)
- One photograph
- The receipt of the right of permanent residence fee
The visa office will review the application to verify that it meets the Canadian immigration requirements. If the relative is not a child, they may be invited for an immigration interview before a decision is reached.
Please note that Quebec has additional criteria and steps, so be mindful of that when applying to immigrate to Quebec.
When applying for family class sponsorship, you should provide the required and supporting documents to maximise the chances of success. They include:
- All completed forms
- Document to prove the sponsor’s status, such as a photocopy of either one of the following:
- Permanent Resident Card (both sides) or, if not issued a Canadian Permanent Resident card, your Record of Landing or your Confirmation of Permanent Residence
- Canadian Citizenship Certificate or card (both sides)
- Canadian birth certificate
- Birth certificate issued by the Directeur de l’état civil, if born in Quebec.
- Canadian passport
- The beneficiary’s passport
- A photograph of the principal applicant and dependents
- Receipt of all fees
- Evidence of relationship such as a copy of:
- Your marriage certificate, if sponsoring a spouse
- Your birth certificate, if sponsoring a parent
- Child’s birth certificate if sponsoring a biological child
- The adoption order, if sponsoring an adopted child
- Shared ownership of residential property, if in a common-law relationship
- Proof that you meet financial criteria. That may be:
- A letter from your employer with details on your employment, hours, and salary, if employed
- Last notice of assessment over the 12 months preceding your application, if self-employed
- Bank statement showing any interest deposited in your persona account from your business if self-employed
- Pay stubs over the 12 months preceding your family sponsorship application, Statement of business activities over the 12 months before the application
- Proof of previous marriages or relationships such as a copy of:
- The divorce certificate
- Annulment certificate
- Death certificate
- Declaration of severance of a common-law relationship.
- Police certificates (for relatives)
- Medical examination certificates (for relatives)
Due to the different relationship categories and their specific required documents, it’s recommended that you reach out to a Canadian immigration lawyer to assess your eligibility and provide advice on the exact documents that will boost your application. Get in touch with us for assistance. Please call us on +1 844 290 6312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family sponsorship processing time
The family sponsorship time depends on your relationship with the application. For example, spouse sponsorship applications typically take 12 months to process, but on the other hand, parent or grandparent sponsorships typically take 20 to 24 months.
Other factors may also affect this, including the number of applications the IRCC has to process and if there’s an annual limit to family sponsorship applications in your relationship category.
During the processing time, you will be asked to submit the medical exams and police certificates (for applicants over 18).
Family sponsorship approval
When your application has been approved, the IRCC will send the Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and a permanent resident visa. They have expiry dates. The beneficiary should travel to Canada and meet an from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at the port of entry before the documents expire.
The immigration officer will ask for the COPR, travel documents, and visa and ask some questions to decide if to formally offer Canadian permanent resident status to the relative.
If the relative is a child and the other parent is not a Canadian citizen, they should travel to Canada with such parent or legal guardian or should be able to present letters of permission from that parent if they are not travelling with them.
After your relative is granted permanent resident status by the Canadian government, they will receive a permanent resident card by mail after a few weeks to a month of entry into Canada to live and work. In a few years, they can apply for Canadian citizenship and then obtain a Canadian passport.
Family Class Sponsorship rejection
Sometimes, applications are rejected at any of the steps. If the sponsor’s application to sponsor their relative is denied, the sponsor can withdraw their application and get their $75 CAN sponsorship fee back. Other fees will not be refunded.
If the sponsorship application was approved, but the family members’ permanent residence application was rejected, you will get a notice of that and the reasons for the rejection.
If your application for permanent residence was rejected, you can submit Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) appeals if the sponsored relative lives outside Canada. The IRCC will send information on how to appeal the decision. You cannot submit an appeal for a relative that’s already inside Canada.
If your application was rejected, Total Law can help. We will review your application to advise on the next steps, whether it’s an appeal, a re-application, or applying to immigrate to Canada through another program.
Total Law has expert knowledge and experience in the Canadian immigration system. Our Canadian immigration lawyers have helped several families to immigrate to Canada successfully through Canada’s family sponsorship programs.
Our immigration services include:
- Assessing the eligibility of the sponsor and beneficiaries
- Advising on the best immigration route to take
- Assisting with gathering the required and supporting documents
- Completing all forms with the highest of standards
- Liaising with the IRCC on behalf of the applicants
- Assistance with obtaining travel documents
- Providing concierge and relocation assistance, including moving belongings to Canada
In addition, we provide Canadian citizenship help so that the beneficiary can become a Canadian citizen in the minimum time. We will advise both the relative and sponsor on actions to take while in Canada to ensure that their eligibility for citizenship is not violated, and help to apply for citizenship.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
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Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
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By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
The sponsor can check the application status after receiving an acknowledgement of receipt (AOR) letter or email. That is usually sent after the IRCC receives your application.
If the relative would like to check the status of the application, they must create an online account and link it to the application using the application number they received when the IRCC started processing the application
A family sponsorship application can be withdrawn at any time before the relative becomes a permanent resident through the online web form. If the IRCC hasn’t started processing the application, you may be able to get a refund after you have successfully withdrawn your application.