The family class category is used to reunite family members in Canada. Under this category, Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor close family members, such as a spouse, child, or parent. When you agree to sponsor, you sign an undertaking, promising to give financial support for the basic needs of the people you’re sponsoring, and any of their dependent children. Basic needs include food, clothing, shelter and other needs for everyday living, dental care, eye care and other health needs not covered by public health services. Before signing the undertaking agreement, you should make sure that those you sponsor won’t need to ask the government for financial help. If they receive social assistance, you’ll need to pay back what they received. You won’t be able to sponsor anyone else until you have repaid the amount.
The undertaking is a binding promise of support, meaning that it is your responsibility to support the applicant(s) for the length of the undertaking period even if your situation changes. For example, the undertaking won’t be cancelled even if: the person you are sponsoring becomes a Canadian citizen; you become divorced, separated or your relationship with the sponsored person breaks down; you or the person you sponsor moves to another province or country; you still have all responsibilities documented in the undertaking.
The length of time you are legally responsible for the person you sponsor varies based on the type of family member you are sponsoring, and is either 3 or 10 years for non-residents of Quebec. Quebec has different undertaking length.
Become a Sponsor
You can become a sponsor if you are:
at least 18 years old
a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or a permanent resident living in Canada:
- If you are a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when your sponsored relative(s) become(s) a permanent resident.
- You can’t sponsor someone if you are a permanent resident living outside Canada.
- able to prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability, and;
- can provide for the basic needs of any person you are sponsoring (and in some limited situations, that you meet the low-income cut-off).
Note: There is no low income cut-off (LICO) for spouse, partner or dependent child sponsorships, unless a dependent child also has one or more dependent children of their own. If a dependent child you are sponsoring has one or more dependent children of their own, you must include a Financial Evaluation (IMM 1283) form with your application (see your checklist for more details).
You cannot become a sponsor if you:
- have failed to pay:
- an immigration loan
- a performance bond
- family support payments
- have failed to provide for the basic needs of a previously-sponsored relative who received social assistance
- are under a removal order
- are in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison
- receive social assistance for a reason other than a disability
- are still going through the process of bankruptcy (undischarged bankruptcy)
- were sponsored by a spouse or partner and you became a permanent resident less than five years ago
- sponsored a previous spouse or partner and three years have not passed since this person became a permanent resident
- have already applied to sponsor your current spouse, partner or child and a decision on your application hasn’t been made yet
- were convicted of a violent or sexual offense, or an offense that caused bodily harm to a relative—or you attempted or threatened to commit any of these offenses
You can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner if:
- they are at least 18 years old
- your relationship is genuine (real) and wasn’t entered into just to get permanent resident status in Canada
Spouse. A partner with whom you are legally married. Includes both opposite- and same-sex relationships, but does not include common-law partnerships. See section 2 of the IRPR for the legal definition of marriage.
Common-Law Partner. A person who has been living together with another person in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. Includes opposite- and same-sex relationships. See subsection 1(1) of the IRPR for the legal definition.
Conjugal Partner. A person outside Canada who has had a binding relationship with a sponsor for at least one year, but could not live with their partner. Includes both opposite- and same-sex relationships. See section 2 of the IRPR for the legal definition.
Principal applicants who are living in Canada are not eligible to be sponsored as conjugal partners, either in the Spouse, Common-law in Canada program or the overseas sponsorship program.
If your spouse or common-law partner is applying in the Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada class, they must already co-habit (live) with you in Canada.
Important: A conjugal partner is, in relation to a sponsor, a foreign national residing outside Canada who has been in a conjugal relationship with the sponsor for at least one year. A foreign national residing inside Canada cannot be sponsored as a conjugal partner.
parents and grandparents
The online submission form to show your interest closed at noon EST on February 1, 2018. Citizenship and Immigration Canada is no longer accepting submissions for 2018.
You may be able to sponsor your parents and grandparents to become a permanent resident if you’re at least 18 years old and a:
- Canadian citizen or
- person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or
- permanent resident of Canada
If you sponsor your parents and grandparents to come to Canada as a permanent resident, you must:
- support them financially. Find out for how long.
- make sure they don’t need social assistance from the government
- provide for your own essential needs and those of your parents and grandparents and their
Responsibilities of Sponsor. When you sponsor your parents and grandparents to become permanent residents of Canada, you must:
- meet certain income requirements
- support that person and their dependants financially
You and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that:
- commits you to provide financial support for your relative (and any other eligible relatives accompanying them):
- for a period of three to 20 years
- depending on their age and relationship to you
- beginning on the date they become a permanent resident
- states that the persons becoming permanent residents will make every effort to support themselves
Dependent children under age 19 do not have to sign the agreement.
If you’re sponsoring a spouse or partner, any dependent children should be listed on their application forms. If you are sponsoring one or more dependent child(ren) as the principal applicant(s), you must submit a complete set of application forms and documents for each child.
Note: Canadian citizens can’t be sponsored. If you have a child who was born after you became a Canadian citizen, or your child was born in Canada, they might be a Canadian citizen. For more information on dependants who may be Canadian citizens, see Step 5 below.
Dependent Child. Your child or the child of your spouse or common-law partner can be considered a dependent child if that child meets the requirements below on the day we receive your complete application:
A child who depends on their parent (i.e. the principal applicant and/or the sponsor) for financial or other support. A son or daughter is a dependant of their parent when the child is:
- Under 22 years old and does not have a spouse or partner or
- 22 years old and over and has depended substantially on the parent’s financial support since before the age of 19 because of a physical or mental condition.