Canadian Family Class Sponsorship Requirements - - Canada Immigration Newsletter

Canadian Family Class Sponsorship Requirements

What are your options for Canadian Family Class Sponsorship?

Many Canadian citizens and permanent residents have loved ones abroad that they wish they could bring to Canada. You can sponsor certain relatives to come to Canada if you’re at least 18 years old and a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.

The Canadian government is committed to keeping families together whenever possible and offers a number of ways to allow this dream to become a reality under its Family Class Sponsorship class. Canada’s Family Class Sponsorship programs are some of the most generous family reunification programs in the developed world. .

There are a number of relationships that qualify for Family Class Sponsorship, including spouses and common-law partnersparents and grandparents, and dependent children. For parents and grandparents, there is also the Super Visa program.

Canada Parents and Grandparents Program

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.


One of the most popular ways to bring a parent or grandparent to Canada is through Canada’s parents and grandparents sponsorship program. The program has a yearly cap on the number of applications that are accepted, with 2019 target capped at 27,000. However once this cap is reached, there is still the Super Visa Program which allows parents and grandparents to come to Canada on extended multi-entry visas that could last up to a total of 10 years.

Regardless which program you choose, it is important that you ensure that the parent or grandparent meets the eligibility requirements and that the sponsored parents/grand parents themselves meet Canada’s sponsorship requirements. To learn more about these requirements and how they can be met see Canada Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship Program, and What is Canada Super Visa and Requirements?.

How to Sponsor your spouse or partner

There are many options for a Canadian permanent resident or citizen to bring a spouse to Canada. Whichever option is taken it is important to ensure that following eligibility requirements are satisfied:

Requirements for the Sponsor:

  • The sponsor must be at least 18 years of age;
  • The sponsor must be a Canadian permanent resident living in Canada or a Canadian citizen;
  • The sponsor cannot be in prison, bankrupt, under a removal order (if a permanent resident) or charged with a serious offence; and
  • The sponsor cannot have been sponsored to Canada as a spouse within the last 5 years.

Find out who can apply to become a sponsor. Use IRCC’s basic guide (IMM 5525) to help you with the application steps, including:


Requirements for the Sponsored Person:

  • The sponsored person must be at least 16 years of age and
  • The sponsored person must not be too closely related by blood to the sponsor.

Requirements for the nature of the relationship:

The applicant must prove that the relationship between the sponsor and the sponsored person qualifies under one of three categories:

  • Spouse: This means that the Sponsor and the Sponsored Person are legally married. For those married within Canada, a Certificate of Marriage from the province or territory where the marriage took place will show that the marriage is valid. Note that same-sex marriages performed within Canada are valid for spousal sponsorship. If the marriage took place outside of Canada, it must be valid under the law of the country where it took place as well as under Canadian federal law. Same-sex marriages that took place outside of Canada are not valid for spousal sponsorship, but an application can be made under either the common-law partner or conjugal partner categories if such a relationship can be proven.
  • Common-law partner: In order to establish a common-law relationship, the Sponsor and the Sponsored Person must cohabit continuously for at least one year, excluding brief absences for business or family reasons.
  • Conjugal partner: Conjugal partners can be of either opposite-sex or same-sex. A sponsored person is defined as a conjugal partner if:
    • Exceptional circumstances beyond their control have prevented the applicants from qualifying as common-law partners or spouses, such as immigration barriers or legal restrictions limiting divorce or same-sex relationships; and
    • The applicants have had a mutually dependent relationship for at least one year with the same level of commitment as a marriage or a common-law union. This can require a demonstration of emotional ties and intimacy, financial closeness, such as joint ownership of assets or mutual financial support, and efforts to spend time together and reunite.

An individual cannot apply to become a sponsor if he or she:

  • did not pay an immigration loan, a performance bond and/or family support payments;
  • failed to support a previously-sponsored relative, which resulted in the sponsored individual seeking social assistance to meet his or her basic needs;
  • is under a removal order;
  • is in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison;
  • receives social assistance for reasons other than a disability;
  • have filed for bankruptcy and have not received an ‘order of discharge’ by the court (he or she is still going through the process of bankruptcy);
  • were sponsored and held permanent resident status for less than five years;
  • sponsored another spouse/partner previously and three years have not passed since the sponsored spouse/partner became a Canadian permanent resident;
  • have already submitted an application to sponsor his or her current spouse/partner/child and a decision was not yet made on his or her submitted application;
  • were convicted of a violent or sexual offence or an offence that caused,attempted to cause or threatened to cause bodily harm to a relative. 

 Does your spouse or partner want to work while they are living in Canada and waiting for their application to be processed?

If you’re sponsoring your spouse or partner under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in-Canada Class, they may be eligible for an open work permit. Find out how to apply.

How to Sponsor a dependent child

Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have dependent children abroad can bring them to Canada through Canada’s dependent child sponsorship program. There are several eligibility requirements that must be met by both the sponsoring parent and the dependent child.


Requirements for the Sponsor:

  • The sponsor must be 18 years of age;
  • The sponsor must be a Canadian permanent resident living in Canada or a Canadian citizen; and
  • The sponsor cannot be in prison, bankrupt, under a removal order (if a permanent resident) or charged with a serious offence.

Requirements for the Sponsored Dependent Child:

  • The sponsored child must be in one of the following situations of dependency:
    • Less than 22 years of age and not a spouse or common-law partner; or
    • Is 22 years of age or older and has depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 22 and is unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition.

Requirements for nature of the relationship:

  • The Sponsored Person must be either:
    • The biological child of the parent if the child has not been adopted by a person other than the spouse or common-law partner; or
    • The adopted child of the parent.

For more information see Sponsoring a dependent child.

How to Sponsor other relatives or friends

Under certain circumstances, a province in Canada may offer Canadian immigration options for relatives or even friends of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. ​

You can sponsor:

  • Your brother, sister, nephew, niece, grandson or granddaughter, who are orphaned, under the age of 18, and not married or in a common-law relationship
  • another relative if you do not have a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner, or one of the following living relatives below (excluding the person you wish to sponsor) which you could sponsor instead:
    • a child
    • a mother or father
    • brother or sister
    • uncle or aunt
    • nephew or niece


  • you do not have any of the relatives mentioned above who:
    • is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, Indian (Native, registered under the Indian Act)
    • have an application for permanent residence that is being currently processed

Sponsor must be:​​

  • At least 18 years of age
  • A Canadian permanent resident living in Canada or a Canadian citizen
  • Not in prison, bankrupt, under a removal order (if a permanent resident) or charged with a serious offence

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.