Welcome to the Canadian Family-Sponsorship information page! As a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you have the right to bring your family members from abroad and have them legally work and live in Canada. In most cases, your sponsorship of family members can eventually lead them to become citizens of Canada.
Before you can utilize your right to sponsor family members to Canada, you must be at least 18 years old. Anyone under this age cannot file a Canadian family-sponsorship visa application.
Who Can Be Sponsored
Canada is committed to family reunification. As part of their immigration programs, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (the government department that handles all immigration matters) has a specific visa track known as the family sponsorship visa. Canadian citizens or permanent residents can sponsor the following family members:
- Spouse, Common-law partner, Conjugal partner
- Dependent children
- Brothers and sisters
- Other relatives (i.e., an orphaned niece or nephew)
Each category has its own set of requirements that the sponsor needs to comply with for the family sponsorship visa application to be properly reviewed by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
What Does Sponsorship Entail
As a sponsor for the Canadian family sponsorship visa, you are the principal applicant who promises to take care of your family member’s welfare. This also includes his or her economic well-being. If for any reason the family member has to receive government financial assistance, you will be responsible for paying back the money to the Canadian government.
In Canadian family sponsorship visas, it is important to demonstrate that the spousal partner is immigrating to Canada because of you and not just because of his or her desire to live and work in the country. Therefore, you will need to prove that your relationship with your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner is genuine. Proof of a genuine relationship with your spousal partner can be demonstrated via a marriage certificate and/or the following documentation:
- Frequent communication, such as letters, emails and phone calls
- Photos of you and your partner together
- Joint agreements, such as a lease agreement and/or bank accounts
Same-sex partners are eligible for sponsorship under the Canadian family sponsorship visa as long as the marriage was legally recognized in the country where it occurred. This includes same-sex marriages within Canada or outside of the country. It is your responsibility to provide Citizenship and Immigration Canada information about whether or not your same-sex-marriage was legally recognized, as well as when and where it occurred.
Besides the eligibility of spousal relationships for a Canadian family sponsorship visa, you may also sponsor any dependent children under the age of 22 (even those from a previous marriage or relationship). However, children under the age of 22 who are in a spousal relationship cannot be sponsored.
You will need to provide proof of your relationship to your dependent children. In addition, the children being sponsored will need to undergo a criminal and medical examination. Dependent children who have a criminal record may be prevented from entering Canada. All medical examinations must go through a physician approved by the Canadian government. If a child has a contagious medical condition, it may be grounds for no-admittance to Canada.
Sponsoring Parents & Grandparents
Canadian permanent residents and citizens are allowed to sponsor their parents and grandparents. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, over 38,000 applications are received each year for sponsorship of these family members, creating a major backlog and long wait times. In fact, over 165,000 family sponsor visa applications for grandparents and parents are still pending.
The Canadian government has recently taken action to cut the backlog and reduce the wait times by increasing the number of visas for these family members to 25,000. In addition, the government has introduced the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa, which will be valid for up to 10 years. This multiple-entry visa will allow an applicant to remain in Canada for up to 24 months at a time without the need for renewal of their status. The creation of this visa allows for sponsored parents and grandparents to come into Canada within eight weeks instead of years.
Of course, you must prove the relationship to your parents and/or grandparents to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). In terms of sponsoring a parent, you will need to provide your birth certificate. If sponsoring your grandparents, you must not only show your birth certificate, but also the birth certificates of your parents.
Sponsoring Other Relatives
Canadian family-sponsorship visas include the ability to sponsor orphaned relatives, such as a niece, nephew, grandchild, brother, and sister. However, the sponsored orphaned relative must be under the age of 18 and not married or involved in a common-law relationship. Also, written consent must be obtained from any legal guardian before the child can leave their home country and the ability to provide for the economic well-being of the orphaned child must also be demonstrated.