Area of Law: Immigration Law
Answer # 670
How to sponsor a relativeRegion: Ontario Answer # 670
If you would like to sponsor a relative to immigrate to Canada in the Family Class category, you must first determine if you are eligible to be a sponsor, and if the family member you want to sponsor is considered a close relative and eligible for sponsorship by you. For more information about these issues, refer to the Legal Line Family Class Applications topic. To get help, call a lawyer now.
Once you have determined that you, and the family member you wish to sponsor, are eligible under the Family Class, two things must be done:
- Complete an application for sponsorship, using the appropriate application forms available from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Applications are submitted to the Case Processing Centre (CPC) in Mississauga, Canada. You will be notified in writing by the CPC about the decision on your sponsorship application.
- The sponsored family member must apply for permanent residence.
Applications for both sponsorship and permanent residence must be sent at the same time.
A separate sponsorship application must be completed for each person you want to sponsor, although each application may include that person’s family members.
Sponsoring a spouse, partner or child
To sponsor your spouse, partner or dependent children, you may be living either in Canada or outside Canada. However, if you do not live in Canada, you must be a Canadian citizen and you must demonstrate that you will live in Canada when the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident.
The forms that must be completed by the sponsor include:
- Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking
- Sponsorship Evaluation (or Financial Evaluation if your spouse or partner has dependent children included in the application who have children of their own) (if in Quebec, neither of these forms is required)
- Use of a Representative
- Receipt of Application fee paid, in the form set-out by IRCC
- If applicable, Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union
- Document Checklist
Supporting documents and photocopies that must be included by the sponsor:
- Official proof that you are a permanent resident or Canadian Citizen (e.g. Confirmation of Permanent Residence document, or Record of Landing, or Canadian birth certificate, Canadian Citizenship Card, or Canadian Passport)
- Copy of marriage certificate (if applicable), or proof of common-law, or conjugal relationship (if applicable)
- Copy of divorce, annulment, separation or death certificate (if either spouse was previously married)
- Photographs of the marriage or common-law ceremony (if available)
- Declaration of severance of any previous common-law relationship (if applicable)
- proof of employment, and/or proof of income
- If you are a Canadian citizen but live outside Canada, proof that you intend to live in Canada with your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and/or dependent children, once they become permanent residents
- Medical Condition Statement (if dependent child is adopted)
In addition to general and other personal information, these applications ask sponsors to show their income, debts, financial obligations, the number of immigrants they want to sponsor, and the number of immigrants they have previously sponsored.
Sponsoring parents and grandparents
To sponsor parents and grandparents to become permanent residents of Canada, family members must submit an interest to sponsor form and be invited to submit a complete application,
You may be eligible to sponsor your own parents and grandparents if:
- you’re at least 18 years old
- you live in Canada
- you’re a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
- you have enough money to support the persons you want to sponsor
- To show that you have enough, you’ll have to provide your proof of income.
Visit IRCC for more information on the program.
Super Visa for Parents and Grandparents visiting Canada
If parents and grandparents are coming for a visit, they can apply for a Parent and Grandparent Super Visa by applying for a temporary resident visa. Although they may not need a visa to visit Canada, depending on their country of origin, it may still be a good idea to apply for the Super Visa.
The Super Visa is a multi-entry visa that provides multiple entries for a period up-to 10 years.
Changes effective July 4, 2022
IRCC has announced the following changes to the Super Visa program, effective July 4, 2022:
- increase in the length of stay for super visa holders to 5 years per entry into Canada
- People who have a super visa also have the option to request to extend their stay by up to 2 years at a time while in Canada. (this means that Super Visa holders are able to stay in Canada for up to 7 consecutive years)
- allows the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to designate international medical insurance companies to provide coverage to super visa applicants
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
As of March 15, 2016 Foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries entering Canada by air, including those transiting through Canada, require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid visa. Entry requirements for those coming to Canada by land and sea have not changed.
An eTA is electronically linked to the traveller’s passport and is valid for five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. Applications for eTA’s are done online on the IRCC website, and in most cases the authorization will be issued immediately after submitting the online form.
If you need an eTA, it is recommended that you apply for it when you plan your trip, as opposed to waiting until you are ready to travel. As well, you must travel to Canada with the passport you used to get your eTA. If you require an eTA, you can only apply for one person at a time. For example, for a family of three, you must complete and submit the form three times.
Sponsoring other relatives
The sponsorship of other relatives is generally not available under the Family Class. In order to sponsor other relatives, such as adult brothers or sisters, the application must be made on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Otherwise, if they qualify, they may make an application under a different category of immigrant, such as one of the economic immigration programs.
Sponsored relatives complete their applications
The relatives being sponsored must complete the permanent residence application process, as well as verify the accuracy of the information that has been provided by you and add any missing information, and then sign the forms and send them back to you.
Note that the permanent residence application that must be submitted differs depending on whether the relative you are sponsoring lives inside or outside Canada. Consult the IRCC website to find the forms applicable to your particular category.
Typically, the sponsored relative will have to do the following:
- sign the Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking, (except if Quebec will be the province of residence)
- undergo a medical examination, and submit the results with the application (results are valid for 12 months)
- include a police certificate or clearance
- include photographs in the form set-out by IRCC
- obtain a passport and, in some countries, an exit visa
- complete any additional questionnaires or documents required for the country from which the application is being made
- attend an interview at a Canadian visa office, if required
Submit your application
Your application must be submitted by mail only to the Case Processing Centre (CPC). The sponsorship application first is reviewed for completeness. If it is complete, an officer will assess whether you meet the sponsorship requirements, and send you a letter informing you of the results of the assessment. If you need to provide additional documents or pay additional fees, your application will be returned to you with a letter asking you to provide the missing information or fees.
If you qualify as a sponsor, and your relatives’ permanent residence application is approved, they will then be contacted by a Canadian visa office in their home country. IRCC will issue a permanent resident visa to them. The sponsored relative must come to Canada before the visa expires, otherwise entirely new sponsorship and permanent residence applications will have to be made.
The fees for the application depend on who is being sponsored. If you are sponsoring a spouse, partner or dependent child, application fees may be paid in one of three ways: 1) online at the IRCC website, 2) at a financial institution, and 3) from outside Canada, either online, or by international money order or bank draft, payable to the Receiver General for Canada.
When sponsoring close relatives other than your spouse, partner or dependent child, you must pay the application fees either online or at a Canadian financial institution. Fees must be paid in Canadian funds.
Visit IRCC for a complete list of application fees. Application packages and more information about sponsoring a relative under the Family Class are also available from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
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Immigration law in Canada is complex. Issues such as getting permanent residence or citizenship, sponsoring someone, and coming to Canada to study or work involve many steps and can be overwhelming. To get help, call a lawyer now.
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