Family Sponsorship Visa

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

The Meaning of Being a Sponsor

When you agree to sponsor someone it will bind you to 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 need to make sure that those you sponsor won’t need to ask the government for financial help and if they receive any such help, you’ll have to pay back what they received. You won’t be able to sponsor anyone else until you have repaid the full amount.

It will be your obligatory promise 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 have financial problems

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.

You can become a sponsor if you are:

  • a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or a permanent resident,
  • at least 18 years old
  • living in Canada:
  • if you’re a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when your sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident.
  • You can’t sponsor someone if you’re a permanent resident living outside of Canada.

You must also be able to show that you can give basic needs for:

  • yourself,
  • your spouse or partner,
  • your spouse or partner’s dependent child(ren) (if applicable)
  • your dependent child(ren) (if you’re sponsoring only your dependent child).

Note: In most cases, there is no low-income-cut-off (LICO) for spouse, partner or dependent child sponsorship’s. However, if either a spouse or partner you’re sponsoring has as dependent child who has dependent children of their own, or a dependent child you are sponsoring has a dependent child of their own, you must meet a minimum LICO score, which is determined by the Canadian government each year.

If you live in Quebec, you must also meet Quebec’s conditions to be a sponsor.

Sponsoring your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner

If you’re married

You can sponsor the person as your spouse if your marriage is a legally valid civil marriage.

Opposite and same-sex marriages:

  • will be recognized for immigration purposes, where the marriage:
  • was legally performed in Canada, or
  • if performed outside of Canada, the marriage must be legally recognized in the country where it took place and in Canada.

Note: IRCC no longer recognizes marriages performed outside of Canada by proxy, telephone, fax, Internet and other forms of marriage where one or both persons were not physically present at the ceremony.

If you’re in a common-law relationship

You can sponsor the person as your common-law partner (same or opposite sex) as long as you’ve been living or have lived with your partner for at least 12 consecutive months in a marriage-like relationship.

If you’re in conjugal relationship

A conjugal partner is:

  • a person who is living outside Canada,
  • in a conjugal relationship with the sponsor for at least one year, and
  • could not live with the sponsor as a couple because of reasons beyond their control (e.g. immigration barrier, religious reasons or sexual orientation).

This term applies to both opposite and same-sex couples.

You can sponsor a conjugal partner if:

  • there is a significant degree of attachment between the two of you, implying not just a physical relationship but a mutually interdependent relationship, and
  • you’ve been in a genuine (real) relationship for at least 12 months where marriage or cohabitation (living together) hasn’t been possible because of barriers such as sexual orientation, religious faith, etc.

Working and studying – spouses and common-law partners in Canada

If your spouse or common-law partner already has a work or study permit, he or she may continue to work or study as long as the permit is valid. It is illegal to work or study without authorization from IRCC.

If your spouse or common-law partner is living in Canada with you and is applying as a member of the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class, they can also apply for an open-work permit when they apply for permanent residence. They must include a completed Application to Change Conditions, Extend their Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker form and the correct fee, explaining that they are applying for an open-work permit.

Sponsoring your dependent children

You can sponsor your dependent children outside Canada who meet the following definition:

Dependent children

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 IRCC receive your complete application:

  • They’re under 22 years old, and
  • They don’t have a spouse or common-law partner
  • Children 22 years old or older qualify as dependents if they meet both of these requirements:
  • They have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22, and
  • They are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition
  • Dependents must continue to meet these requirements until they enter Canada as a permanent resident.

The person you’re sponsoring has a child in the sole custody of a previous spouse, if yes they need to be included in the application Children in the custody of a previous spouse or partner are considered dependent children.

Even if there’s a written agreement or court order to show that the sponsored person doesn’t have custody or responsibility, you must list the child on the application and this child must do a medical exam.

Doing this gives the sponsored person the possibility to sponsor their child as a member of the family class in the future, when there may be changes to the custody or living arrangements. Also, if a permanent resident doesn’t declare all their family members on their application, they could risk losing their permanent resident status.



Eligibility to sponsor relatives

Some of your relatives may be eligible to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents.

If you have relatives who want to immigrate to Canada under the Family Class:

  • you must sponsor them
  • you and your relatives must meet certain requirements
  • Your relatives need to have:
  • medical exams
  • criminal checks
  • background checks

IRCC may not allow them to enter Canada if they have a criminal record or are a risk to Canada’s security. They may have to get a police certificate from police in their home country.

Sponsoring an eligible relative

You can sponsor certain relatives if you’re 18 years of age or older and a:

Canadian citizen or

  • person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or
  • permanent resident of Canada
  • You must live in Canada to sponsor eligible relatives unless you:
  • are a Canadian citizen who lives abroad and
  • plan to return to Canada when your relatives immigrate and
  • are sponsoring your:
  • spouse or
  • common-law or conjugal partner or
  • dependent children who have no dependent children

If you live in Quebec, you must also meet Quebec’s conditions to be a sponsor after IRCC approves you as a sponsor. This includes signing an “undertaking” with the province. This is a contract that binds your sponsorship.

Your responsibilities

When you sponsor a relative to become a permanent resident of Canada, you must:

  • meet set income guidelines
  • agree in writing to give financial support to your relative and any other eligible relatives coming with them:
  • beginning on the date they become a permanent resident
  • for up to 20 years (depending on their age and how you’re related)

The person you sponsor must sign an agreement saying they will make the effort to support themselves. This includes sponsored dependent children 18 or older. Dependent children under 19 don’t have to sign this agreement.

Who you can sponsor

Depending on your circumstances, there are two options for who you can sponsor.

Option 1: orphaned close relatives

You can sponsor close relatives only if they meet all conditions. This means they must be:

  • orphaned
  • under 18
  • without a:
  • spouse
  • conjugal partner
  • common-law partner
  • related to you by blood or adoption, such as:
  • brothers or sisters
  • nephews or nieces
  • grandchildren

Option 2: other relative

You may sponsor one relative, related by blood or adoption, of any age if you meet all of the conditions, including:

  • you don’t have a living relative you could sponsor instead, such as a:
  • spouse
  • common-law partner
  • conjugal partner
  • son or daughter
  • parent
  • grandparent
  • brother or sister
  • uncle or aunt
  • nephew or niece
  • you don’t have any of the above-named relatives who is:
  • a Canadian citizen
  • a permanent resident
  • registered Indian under the Indian Act

If the relative you want to sponsor has a spouse, partner, or dependent children who will come with them to Canada you must include them on the same sponsorship application.

Other options: Express Entry

If you’re relative doesn’t qualify for sponsorship they may still be able to come to Canada as a skilled immigrant through Express Entry. This program:

  • manages applications for certain economic immigration programs
  • selects applicants for their:
  • skills
  • experience
  • ability to contribute to Canada’s economy
  • awards points to some candidates who have family living in Canada

Sponsoring your relative Quebec Requirements

Sponsor (guarantor)

You can sponsor a close relative if you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Québec, you are at least 18 years of age and you satisfy the prerequisites.

The sponsorship targets this close relative and, if applicable, accompanying family members.

Sponsored person (close relative)

To be sponsored, your close relative must belong to the family class and satisfy specific requirements:

You can sponsor:

  • your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner – specific requirements
  • your dependent child – specific requirements
  • your father, mother, grandfather or grandmother – specific requirements
  • your orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece, grandson or granddaughter, who is under the age of 18, and not married or in a common-law relationship – specific requirements
  • a child you plan to adopt (international adoption) – process for adopting a child residing abroad

Responsibilities and obligations

In undertaking the sponsorship process, both the sponsor and the sponsored person must be aware of the responsibilities and obligations they have toward each other and toward the government of Québec.

Duration of sponsorship (or undertaking)

The duration of the undertaking that you sign will vary depending on the family relationship between you (the sponsor or guarantor) and the person sponsored.

Prerequisites for sponsorship

You must satisfy all the following requirements, in addition to any specific requirements that apply.

  • You must have fulfilled all previous commitments. If the Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale (MESS) determines that you have defaulted, you must have repaid all the amounts paid as financial help of last resort (social help) or special allowances to the person you sponsored.
  • You must not receive financial help of last resort (social assistance) except allowances related to your age or a disability that poses obstacles to employment that are serious, permanent or of indefinite duration.
  • Over the past five years, you must have complied with obligations arising from a judgment ordering you to pay money. If not, you must have repaid all outstanding amounts.
  • You must not have been convicted, in Canada or abroad, of a sexual offence, attempt or threat to commit such an offence against anyone or an offence resulting in personal injuries, or an attempt or threat to commit such an offence against a family member or relative, your spouse, common-law spouse or conjugal partner or a member of their family or relative unless you were acquitted or rehabilitated or finished serving your sentence at least five years before submitting your application.
  • If you sponsor your father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, a dependent child who has a child or a close relative who is a minor and an orphan, you must prove that you have at your disposal satisfactory financial resources for the duration of the undertaking
  • You must not be subject to a removal order or detained in a penitentiary or prison.
  • You may not sponsor a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner who is under 16 years of age.
  • You must make sure that the sponsored person, if he or she is of legal age, signs the declaration attesting that he or she fully understands the nature and scope of the undertaking.

Specific requirements

In addition to the prerequisites for sponsorship, you must also consi the following specific requirements of the close relative you wish to sponsor.

Spouse, de facto spouse or conjugal partner

To sponsor this person, you must prove that:

  • your spouse, de facto spouse or conjugal partner is at least 16 years of age
  • a previous undertaking to sponsor a spouse, de facto spouse or conjugal partner has come to an end.

Dependent child

If the dependent child you are sponsoring has a child of his or her own, you must prove your financial capacity.

Parents, grandparents and their dependent children

To qualify as sponsor, you must prove that:

  • you have the financial ability to support the person you wish to sponsor as well as all members of that person’s family, whether or not they are accompanying the sponsored person.

Brother, sister, nephew, niece, grandson, granddaughter, who is an orphan with no mother and father, under 18 years of age, and not married or a de facto spouse

To qualify as a sponsor:

  • you must first establish that you have the financial capacity to  support the child you wish to sponsor;
  • you will be needing to undergo a psychosocial assessment by the Centre jeunesse in your region in order to demonstrate that you are able to support and look after the child you wish to sponsor. The Ministère requests this assessment. It then transfers it to the Centre jeunesse once it has been proved that your financial capacity satisfies regulatory requirements. A fee is charged.

Child to be adopted (international adoption)

In Québec, the Secrétariat à l’adoption internationale, under the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS), coördinates activities related to international adoption.

To adopt a child residing abroad (even if the child is related to you), all Québec residents must first get authorization from the Secrétariat à l’adoption internationale before beginning the process in the child’s country of origin.

These rules are valid for both permanent residents who do not yet have Canadian citizenship as well as for Canadian citizens and people with dual citizenship.


Meaning of sponsoring parents and grandparents

When you sponsor persons who are members of the family class, you must sign an agreement with the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (or with the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion [MIDI] if you live in Quebec).

The undertaking is a promise to give financial support and basic requirements for the family members you are sponsoring.

Basic requirements are:

  • food
  • clothing
  • utilities
  • personal requirements
  • shelter
  • fuel
  • household supplies

This also includes other health care not provided by public health, such as eye and dental care.

The agreement or contract ensures that these persons and their family members do not have to apply for social assistance or ask money from the government. The length of undertaking for sponsorship of parents, grandparents and their accompanying dependents is 20 years.

Your obligations as a sponsor begin as soon as the person you are sponsoring and, if applicable, his or her family members arrive in Canada.

You can also have a co-signer

Your spouse or common-law partner may help you meet the income requirement by co-signing the sponsorship application. A common-law partner is a person who is living with you in a conjugal relationship and has done so for at least one year prior to the signing of the undertaking.

The co-signer must:

  • meet the same eligibility requirements as the sponsor;
  • agree to co-sign the undertaking;
  • agree to be responsible for the basic requirements of the person you want to sponsor and his or her family members for the validity period of the undertaking.

The co-signer will be equally liable if obligations are not performed.

If your co-signer is a common-law partner, you must submit the Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union.

Sponsorship eligibility

In order to sponsor, you must…

  • be 18 years of age or older;
  • be a Canadian citizen, Registered Indian or permanent resident;
  • be sponsoring a member of the family Class;
  • live in Canada;
  • sign an undertaking promising to provide for the basic requirements of the person being sponsored;
  • sign an agreement with the person you are sponsoring that confirms that you understands your mutual obligations and responsibilities;
  • prove that you have adequate income to give the basic requirements for your family members in Canada as well as the persons included in your sponsorship undertaking. You may also have a co-signer.

Sponsors living in Quebec

The government of Quebec is responsible for determining whether or not sponsors living in the province have the financial capacity to sponsor family members and the length of their undertaking.



To apply for the parent and grandparent super visa, you must:

  • be the parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada,
  • be allowed to enter Canada and
  • meet certain other conditions.

Note: You cannot include dependants in this application.

A look at the things when you apply:

  • your ties to your home country,
  • the purpose of your visit,
  • your family and finances,
  • the overall economic and political stability of your home country, and
  • an invitation from a Canadian host.

You must also:

  • prove that your child or grandchild in Canada meets a minimum income threshold,
  • provide a written statement from that child or grandchild that he or she will give you financial support,
  • have valid Canadian medical insurance coverage for at least one year and
  • have an immigration medical exam.

The super visa allows multiple entry periods lasting up to 2 years. Those travelling on a 10-year multiple-entry visa can only stay for up to six months per entry.


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