Family Sponsorship

If you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, age 18 or over, you can sponsor certain family members to become Canadian permanent residents. If you become a permanent resident, you can live, study and work in Canada. If you sponsor a relative to come to Canada as a permanent resident, you are responsible for supporting your relative financially when he or she arrives.

Family Sponsorship

As a nation with a commitment to family reunification and keeping loved ones together, Canada offers a number of immigration programs that give Canadians the opportunity to sponsor their family members to Canada.

Your relatives can live, study and work in Canada if they become permanent residents of Canada. You can sponsor certain relatives to come to Canada 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
You can sponsor your:
  • Spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner
  • Dependent child (or child you plan to adopt): must be 21 and younger
  • Parents and Grandparents: father, mother, grandfather or grandmother
  • Orphaned Relatives: brother, sister, nephew, niece, grandson or granddaughter, who are orphaned, under the age of 18, and not married or in a common-law relationship
  • Other relative: *only Lonely Canadians are eligible to sponsor (have no other family living in Canada)

Basic requirements for family sponsorship

To be a sponsor:

  • You must be 18 years of age or older
  • You and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits you to provide financial support for your relative, if necessary. This agreement also says the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support her or himself
  • You must provide financial support for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years from the date they become a permanent resident
  • You must provide financial support for a dependent child for 10 years, or until the child turns 25, whichever comes first

Definitions of Relationships

Spouse – You are a spouse if you are married to your sponsor and your marriage is legally valid

​Common-law partner – You are a common-law partner, either of the opposite sex or same sex, if you have been living together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year in a continuous 12-month period that was not interrupted. You will need proof that you and your common-law partner have combined your affairs and set up a household

Conjugal partner – This category is for partners, either of the opposite sex or same sex, in exceptional circumstances beyond their control that prevent them from living together and therefore cannot qualifying as common-law partners or spouses

Dependent children – A son or daughter is dependent when the child:

  • ​is 21 and younger and does not have a spouse or common-law partner
  • is older than 21 and depended substantially on the financial support of a parent since before the age of 22 because of a physical or mental condition

Sponsorship Obligations

All sponsors are required to sign an undertaking to provide the sponsored person with the basic requirements from the day they enter Canada until the term of the undertaking terminates. The undertaking is a contract between the sponsor(s) and IRCC that the sponsor will repay the government for any social assistance payments made to the sponsored person. Sponsors remain obligated to the undertaking agreement for the entire period of the contract, even in a change of circumstances such as marital breakdown, separation, divorce, or a financial change in circumstances.

Sponsors Living outside Canada

Canadian citizens living outside of Canada may sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner or dependent children without dependent children of their own, who have not been convicted of an offence causing bodily harm, provided that they are able to demonstrate that they will reside in Canada after their sponsored landing(s).

​Permanent residents residing abroad may not sponsor their family from outside Canada. Furthermore, a spouse or common-law partner in Canada may only file an in-Canada application to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner if they are cohabiting in Canada; otherwise, the application must be filed through a visa office.