How to sponsor your family for Canadian immigration
Family class immigration is the second largest category of newcomers under Canada's Immigration Levels Plan.
Can I be a sponsor?
To sponsor a family member, you must demonstrate to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that you are:
- a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada
- 18 years of age or older
- able to support the sponsored person for several years
Who can I sponsor?
- Spouses, common-law partners, and conjugal partners
Canadians can only sponsor relatives like brothers, sisters, aunts or uncles in very specific situations.
How do I sponsor my spouse or partner?
You and your spouse may either apply as an inland applicant or an outland applicant. Inland applicants go through the sponsorship process in Canada, while outland applicants live outside the country. Only Canadian citizens can live with their foreign spouses outside of Canada throughout the sponsorship process. Permanent residents taking the outland option must remain in Canada and their spouse outside of Canada while the application is processing.
The application process will require you to submit the following two applications at the same time:
- Your application to sponsor your spouse or partner
- Your spouse or partner’s permanent residence application
If you are applying as an inland applicant, you may also submit an application for a Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP) along with your application. The benefit of a SOWP is your spouse or partner can work for any employer of their choice in Canada while waiting for IRCC to finalize their permanent residence application.
How do I sponsor my child for Canadian immigration?
In order to sponsor your child, you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident aged 18 or older, and prove that you can financially provide for your basic needs as well as those of your child.
Your child may be eligible for sponsorship if they are your legal or biological child, not married, and under the age of 22. Children age 22 and older may qualify as dependants if they have a physical or mental condition that prevents them from being able to support themselves and they have depended on their parents for financial support since before age 22.
The process to apply to sponsor your child is similar to spousal sponsorship. You can download the application package from the IRCC website, enclose required documentation, pay the fees, and then submit the application online.
How do I sponsor my parent or grandparent?
Parents and grandparents can be sponsored through the PGP.
IRCC does not accept PGP applications on a rolling basis like for other family class programs. The reason is demand to sponsor parents and grandparents far exceeds the number of immigration spots available to them. As such, in recent years, IRCC has held lotteries to invite eligible sponsors to submit permanent residence applications on behalf of their parents and grandparents.
In order to be eligible as a sponsor, you must be aged 18 or older and living in Canada as a citizen or permanent resident throughout the sponsorship process. You may not sponsor your parents or grandparents for immigration through the PGP if you are a temporary resident or if you have a permanent residence application in process.
You must also show proof of income that demonstrates you have the required Minimum Necessary Income (MNI).
The application process including the MNI required to sponsor parents and grandparents changes regularly. Application instructions come from IRCC on an annual basis. IRCC is yet to reveal details for the 2023 PGP process.
The Parents and Grandparents Super Visa
Grandparents and parents who wish to live in Canada as visitors may be eligible for the Super Visa, which allows them to stay for up to five years on their initial visit without needing to renew their status.
To apply for a Super Visa, parents and grandparents need to submit various documents to IRCC such as:
- An invitation letter from their child or grandchild in Canada
- Proof the child or grandchild meets the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) minimum
- Proof of the family relationship such as a birth certificate
- Proof of private medical insurance coverage
The application should be processed at the Canadian visa office that is responsible for the applicant's place of residence. All applicants need to also undergo a medical examination. Instructions will be provided by the Canadian visa office after your application has been submitted.
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