Family Class Immigration allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their spouse, common-law/conjugal partner, dependent children, parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada. Canada strongly supports keeping families together whenever possible. As such, IRCC gives the processing of family Class applications the highest priority at Canadian Visa Offices.
Spousal Sponsorship program is a subsection of the Family Class immigration category under which, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident may sponsor a spouse or common-law partner for Canadian permanent residence.
Both the Canadian citizen or permanent resident (also called the ‘sponsor’) and the foreign national (the ‘sponsored person’) must be approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in order for the sponsored person to receive a visa.
In order to receive a visa through this immigration program, the sponsor and sponsored person must prove that their relationship qualifies under one of these three categories:
- Common-law Partner
- Conjugal Partner
NOTE: Canada recognizes same-sex marriage, and same-sex partners may be eligible to apply under any of the above three categories, provided they meet all eligibility requirements.
An Outland application is generally pursued when the sponsored partner is living outside of Canada. However, Outland applicants can still be in Canada and apply through the Outland program, and may be permitted to travel in and out of Canada throughout the application process. Outland applications are processed through the visa office that serves the applicant’s country of origin, or where they have resided legally for at least one year.
The other potential option for Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship is the Inland route. Inland sponsorship is when the couple is together in Canada and the foreign spouse/common-law partner has temporary status in Canada, either as a worker, student, or visitor. The person being sponsored may be eligible for an Open Work Permit, allowing him or her to work for any employer in Canada while the sponsorship application is being processed.
The objective of the Family Class of immigration is to reunite close family members in Canada.
Through the Family Class, Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their dependent children, parents and grandparents, spouse, common-law, and conjugal partners.
The Dependent Child Sponsorship Program
Dependent children, both natural and adopted, may be sponsored to live with their parent(s) as permanent residents in Canada. In order to be eligible for this program, both the Canadian citizen or permanent resident (also called the ‘sponsor’) and their child abroad (the ‘sponsored person’) must be approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in order for the sponsored person to receive a visa.
To receive a visa through this immigration program, the sponsor and the sponsored person will be required to prove their relationship to one another. Individuals whose adoption proceedings are in the final phases of processing may begin sponsoring their child before the adoption has been finalized. Be sure to read the specific requirements for the program, as well as some additional general requirements for Canadian sponsorship.
Canada’s Family Class sponsorship program includes a stream dedicated to parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Parents and grandparents approved under this program receive Canadian permanent residence.
To be eligible for Canada’s Parents and Grandparents Program, an individual must be:
- A Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or a registered Indian under the Canadian Indian Act;
- Be 18 years of age or older;
- Be residing in Canada (potential applicants will need to provide a proof of status during the Interest to Sponsor phase);
- Exceed the minimum necessary income level for this program (if married or in a common-law relationship, the income of both the sponsor and spouse can be included) and provide proof of income to IRCC; and
- Sign an undertaking
- to financially support the sponsored for 20 years (starting when they become permanent residents); and
- to repay any social assistance benefits paid to the sponsored family members (if applicable) for a period of 20 years.
- If the sponsor resides in Quebec, an additional “undertaking” must be signed with the province of Quebec.
Applicants to the PGP will have to prove that they meet the minimum income requirements by submitting notices of assessment issued by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) in support of their application.
IRCC may have additional options for considering a person ineligible to sponsor a parent and/or grandparent as permanent resident but still have them in Canada with them – if the requirements are met.
Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents have another option to bring a parent or grandparent to Canada.
The Super Visa Program allows parents and grandparents to come to Canada as long-term visitors on a multi-entry visa that remains valid for up to 10 years. Unlike standard visitor visas, a Super Visa allows visa holders to stay in Canada for up to two years on initial entry to Canada.
To be eligible for the Super Visa program, parents and grandparents must meet standard visitor visa requirements. In addition, they must:
- Provide a written commitment of financial support from their child or grandchild in Canada;
- Show that the sponsor in Canada meets minimum income requirements;
- Prove they have purchased Canadian health insurance for at least one year
- Complete an immigration medical examination.
- Provide proof of their relationship to the child/ grandchild – their sponsor