Family Sponsorship Program & Requirements
Canada plays a huge emphasis on family identification and thus has several programs for family members. Those programs fall under family sponsorship programs and to sponsor your family member or a close family relative, one must be at least 18 years old with a status of Canadian permanent resident or a Canadian citizen. A Canadian citizen can sponsor even residing outside Canada; however, most cases require the sponsor to be inside Canada. One must be able to support the sponsored relatives; financially and must not be on social assistance. Individuals who are to be sponsored must not be inadmissible to Canada for any reason. An entitled sponsor can sponsor any of the following individuals; parents, spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, children, dependent children, grandparents, an orphaned grandchild, siblings, niece, nephews, and in special cases any other relative, for their permanent residence of Canada.
Processing Fee of Family Sponsorship Application
From April 01, 2020, the processing fee has been changed for most of the economic stream applications but the family class sponsorship applications processing fees remained unchanged. To process the application, a processing fee and a “right for permanent residence” fee must be paid. The processing fee is non-refundable. The processing fees and right of permanent residence fee (RPRF) also known as landing fees, are as follow:
- Sponsoring family members above 22 = CAD$ 550 / adult
- Sponsoring family members below 22 = CAD$ 150 / child
- Right of permanent residence fee (RPRF) = CAD$ 500 / adult and for non-dependent child
Under 22 dependant children are exempted from RPRF.
Types of Family Sponsorship
There are several types of sponsorship under the family sponsorship program:
- Spousal Sponsorship
- Sponsoring Common Law Partner
- Sponsoring Conjugal Partner
- Sponsoring Dependent Child
- Parent & Grandparent Sponsorship
- Sponsor Adopted Child or Other Relatives or Family Member
To sponsor a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner a proof of the legitimacy of the relationship must be shown and the sponsored person must be 18 years or above. A Canadian Citizen can sponsor, spouse, and common law whilst residing outside of Canada whereas under a conjugal sponsorship program they should be residing apart and could not be together under circumstances beyond their control. Spousal sponsorship application can be applied shortly after the marriage whereas, for the common-law relationship and conjugal relationship, the relationship should be of at least one year, before applying.
In each case, the relationship should be genuine and there can be many things to prove the genuineness of the relationship. Some of the evidence may include travel tickets, photographs of ceremonies, life insurance policies, etc. The sponsored person must not have any criminal convictions or serious health problems.
To sponsor more than one dependent child, a separate application form for each child must be submitted. This includes adopted children. A dependent child categorizes as someone who is under 22 and unmarried. If the child is 22 years and above, he/she should be enrolled in a full-time study and/or be dependent financially upon parents.
Sponsoring a parent and grandparent can be done through two programs. For permanent residence, the parent & grandparent sponsorship program under the Family Class Program and for temporary residence Parent & Grandparent Super Visa program. To sponsor a parent/grandparent, the sponsor must be residing in Canada to submit an application while the applicant can be either in Canada or abroad at the time of application. Both types of applications i.e. permanent residence application and temporary residence application can be applied simultaneously. Parent & Grandparent Sponsorship application can only be submitted online on Immigration, Refugees and Citizen Canada (IRCC) website, only when the program gets open, usually once a year. Whereas, for the parent & grandparent super visa application the applicant has both options whether file online through MYCIC account or by hiring a representative and through their authorized representative portal or can be filed a paper-based application through Visa Application Centre (VAC) to the relevant Canadian High Commissions, Embassies or Consulates as per the nationality of an applicant or his/her current country of residence.
Proof of Finances for the Family Sponsorship Program
Family sponsorship is not a route in itself but rather has several different application routes under it as mentioned above, so proof of finances requirement varies according to each program.
- For spousal sponsorship, common-law partner sponsorship, or conjugal partner sponsorship there is no such financial requirements for the sponsor to meet, but it does not mean that if a sponsor is unemployed or extended period or has no or very less income and the sponsored spouse/partner has even no proofs that can show that he/she can contribute economically to the family then there may be negative repercussions on the sponsorship applications, similarly there are certain other factors which even make sponsors ineligible to sponsor their spouse/partner. These factors are thoroughly explained on our Spousal Sponsorship, Common-Law Partner Sponsorship, and Conjugal Partner Sponsorship pages of our website.
- Just like spouse/partner sponsorship, dependent child sponsorship application also does not require proof of finances, and the same rules apply as to spouse/partner sponsorship application.
- Parent & Grandparent requires the sponsor to meet the minimum necessary income requirement and show proof of funds for the past 03 years as per the LICO table. The updated LICO table is available on our Parent & Grandparent Sponsorship page, with other requirements and details about the program.
- Similarly, for sponsoring Adopted Child or Other Relatives proof of funds is required as per the LICO table concerning the host family composition.
So, the rule of thumb is, proof of funds is required for all the family class sponsorship applications except when sponsoring the spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, or dependent children. For other sponsorship applications, the sponsor must prove that they have a steady income that is meeting the requirement of the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) and is at least meeting the Low-Income Cut-Offs (LICO) table as per the family size. Sponsors must demonstrate through thorough documentation that they are meeting or exceeding the income requirement for the past 12 months or up to 03 years as per the route of application and are eligible to sponsor their respective family members.
The Super Visa program allows parents & grandparents a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) for a long-time visit. This enables them to obtain a multiple visit visa for up to 10 years. In some cases, parents/grandparents from a visa-exempt may also require a super visa to stay for a longer duration of up to 2 years, depending on their nationality. The only difference between the super visa and the regular visit or visitor visa is the allowed duration of stay. On a visit visa, one can stay up to 06 months whereas the super visa enables parents and grandparents to stay in Canada for up to 02 years in their every entry. Even sponsors will have to show proof of funds for at least the last 12 months for a super visa. Detailed information about Super Visa can found on our SUPER VISA page.
To sponsor a sibling to Canada, the sibling must be under 22 years of age and their parents must be deceased, or else they are dependent on parents and are 22 years of age and unmarried and are part of the parent & grandparent application provided by the sponsor is meeting the income requirements of as many persons. However, this condition can be waived under certain circumstances such as the sponsor having no other close relatives. The sponsor must be financially sound to sponsor his/her sibling.
There is a special sponsorship application provision of a Lonely Canadian who can sponsor any relative beyond their parents, grandparents, or siblings but certain rules and regulations apply and are applicable only if no immediate family is available to be sponsored. The details about the lonely Canadian or Alone Canadian Sponsorship Program can be found on page Sponsoring Other Relatives.
Proof of Finances vs Financial Support
There is a misconception among the general persons between proof of finances requirements and financial support obligations. People mix both terms and use them instead of each other whereas there is a huge difference between both terms and in sponsorship application, it plays an important role. Proof of finances is required for certain types of applications as described above and certain sponsorship applications are exempted from it, but financial support requirement is universal and applies to all sorts of sponsorship applications. The amount of time under which the sponsor remains obligated to take care, wellbeing, and financially liable for the sponsored persons varies according to the type of application. Whilst filing for the sponsorship application the applicant signs an undertaking with the Canadian government that he/she will be responsible and accountable for the support of the sponsored persons. So, this understanding in other words is a commitment or unconditional promise by the sponsor. This commitment or undertaking remains in effect regardless of the sponsored person become a Canadian citizen, get separated from the sponsor, the couple gets divorced, or no matter what happens with the relationship between sponsor or sponsored person. This undertaking also remains effective for the duration regardless of sponsor or sponsored person move to other provinces or part of Canada and even remain effective regardless of severe or adverse financial capabilities of sponsor due to any mishaps in the future. The amount of length of undertaking for sponsorship varies as per the type of application and is as below:
- For the Spouse or common-law partner sponsorship, the sponsor will remain liable from the day the applicant (sponsored person) becomes a permanent resident (PR) of Canada until 03 years.
- In case sponsoring under 22 years of age, dependent child, or dependent child of a spouse or sponsored spouse the sponsor will remain liable for the maximum duration of 10 years or until the sponsored child become 25 years old.
- In case sponsoring 22 years or older dependent child or dependent child of a spouse or sponsored spouse, the sponsorship obligation remains effective for 03 years from the date the child becomes PR.
- In case sponsoring parents or grandparents and their dependent children, the undertaking period will be 20 years from the day they become PR of Canada.
- In case sponsoring adopted children or other relatives, the undertaking period will remain in effect for 10 years from the date they become PR.
Provision of a Co-signer in Family Sponsorship Applications
As we previously mentioned family sponsorship is not an application type but rather an application class under which different types of applications can be filed. So, the provision of a co-signer will vary according to the type of application under which one is filing the sponsorship application. A co-signer is the person who shares the financial support responsibility with the main sponsor for the entire length of the undertaking period, as described above. The co-signer can be the married spouse or a common-law partner of the person who is sponsoring, as the main sponsor. The co-signer is needed when the main sponsor is not meeting the minimum necessary income requirements as per the LICO whereas the household income (the combined income of both spouses or partners) is meeting the income requirement. In the case of married, the spouse can be a co-signer at any time but in case not married and living as common-law partners, then the couple should meet the common-law relationship requirements (living or co-habiting for at least 12 months) prior to declaring themselves as co-signer.
Circumstances Prevent a Sponsor from Sponsoring
The following circumstances prevent a sponsor from sponsoring:
- If the sponsor has been convicted of violent or sexual offenses.
- If the sponsor receives social assistance for reasons other than social disability and cannot financially support the person, he/she wishes to sponsor.
- If the sponsor is in jail or under a removal order.
- If the sponsor is going through bankruptcy.
- If the sponsor has already sponsored a spouse or a family member and a verdict has been not passed.
- If the sponsor has sponsored a spouse or a family member and three years or ten years (depending on the type of sponsorship) have not been passed since this person has become a permanent resident.
Medical examinations will be required for each sponsored individual to be attached to the application. Security and criminality checks are also required along with the application.
Processing times vary from country to country and according to the nature of the application. Team, The Visa Canada, can help you to submit the sponsorship application for your loved ones!