July 11, 2024
A Guide to Family Sponsorship

Are you trying to figure out who can sponsor your child to immigrate to Canada? There are a few factors that determine who can sponsor and what kind of family sponsorship they can apply for. Depending on the factors, you could be eligible to be sponsored by one or both of your parents. As well as other relatives such as siblings, nephews, nieces, and grandparents. Find out more about the different types of family sponsorship in this guide.

A Guide to Family Sponsorship

Family sponsorship is an immigration category in Canada that allows individuals. Or families to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner. Or dependent children under the age of 22. If you’re looking to sponsor your parents, grandparents, cousins, or siblings. Read on for more information about family sponsorship. And how it can help you bring your loved ones to Canada permanently.

What is Family Sponsorship?

Family sponsorship is a process whereby Canadian citizens or permanent residents can sponsor certain family members to come to live in Canada. The sponsor must be 18 years of age or older and must agree to provide financial support for the sponsored person for a period of time.

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The family sponsorship program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor certain family members to come to Canada. A dependent child is defined as a person under the age of 22 who is not married or in a common-law relationship. If you want to sponsor a dependent child, they must be related to you by blood, adoption, or marriage. You may also be able to sponsor a grandchild, niece, or nephew. The sponsors must be able to provide for the basic needs of the sponsored person, including food, clothing, shelter, and health care.

What is a Spouse/Partner?

Individuals under these categories are eligible for sponsorship:

  • Spouse: legally valid marriage in country of origin and under Canadian law
  • Common-law partner: At least 1 year of uninterrupted cohabitation in a conjugal relationship
  • Conjugal partner: Conjugal relationship for at least 12 months (permanence and commitment similar to marriage or common-law) where the couple is prevented from living together due to immigration barriers, religious reasons, sexual orientation, or marital status (e.g. married to someone else, where divorce is not possible in a country of origin)
  • Same-sex relationships: considered valid for immigration purposes under these categories

What is a Dependent Child?

A child of the sponsor, or a child of the sponsor’s spouse or common-law partner, can be considered a dependent child if they are under age 22 and don’t have a spouse or common-law partner of their own. Children over age 22 can be dependents if they relied on their parents for financial support before age 22, and are unable to financially support themselves due to a mental or physical condition.

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Children in the sole custody of a previous spouse are still considered dependent children and must be declared on the sponsorship application. If a dependent child being sponsored has one or more dependent children of their own, then the sponsor must prove their financial capacity by meeting a low-income cut-off.

Who can Sponsor?

A sponsor must be an adult Canadian permanent resident or citizen over the age of 18. A sponsor must reside in Canada unless they are a citizen currently living abroad and planning to reside in Canada once the sponsored individual arrives.

An individual may not sponsor if they:

  • Are in prison
  • Are subject to a removal order
  • Are in the process of bankruptcy
  • Receive social assistance from the government (except for disability)
  • Have been convicted of (or attempted/threatened to commit) an offense of a violent or sexual nature, or
  • resulting in bodily harm to a family member
  • Have failed to pay child support payments
  • Have failed to pay back immigration loans, or have made late or missed payments
  • Have sponsored a family member in the past and failed to meet the terms
  • Have sponsored a previous spouse or partner who has not been a permanent resident for more than 3 years
  • Were themselves sponsored and became permanent residents less than 5 years ago

5 Things That Define a Dependent Child

  • A dependent child is a biological or adopted child under the age of 18.
  • If the child is 18 years of age or older, they must be unable to financially support themselves due to a mental or physical disability.
  • The sponsor must be a relative of the child, such as a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or sibling.
  • The sponsor must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.
  • The sponsor must sign an undertaking promising to provide financial support for the child for a period of 10 years.

Sponsorship Agreement

Notably, the sponsor must agree to financially support their family member in the case that their relative cannot provide for their own needs. This is to ensure that the new permanent resident will not require government assistance. The length of this financial obligation depends on the individual being sponsored:

  • Spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner: 3 years
  • Dependent child: 10 years OR when the child reaches age 22 (whichever comes first); 3 years for a dependent child over age 22.
  • Parent or grandparent: 20 years

Note that this financial obligation does not disappear if the sponsored person becomes a citizen, divorces or separates from the sponsor, or moves away from Canada.

Medical exam

The sponsored individual is required to submit the results of a medical exam at the time of application, including biometrics for applicants from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

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Police Certificates

Applicants and each family member over age 18 must submit police certificates from the country where they have lived most of their life, in addition to any country where they resided for more than 6 months.

Quebec Requirements

The province of Quebec requires additional criteria for family sponsorship after federal requirements are met. After applying for sponsorship, potential sponsors who live in Quebec will receive an email or letter with instructions to submit a special agreement to the Quebec government.

How To Get Approved As a Parent or Grandparent Sponsorship Applicant

To be approved as a parent or grandparent sponsorship applicant, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. These include being related to the person you want to sponsor, being over 18 years of age, and having a minimum income. You will also need to provide evidence of your relationships, such as a birth certificate or adoption papers.

In addition, you will need to undergo a medical examination and provide a police clearance certificate. If you are approved, you will be required to sign a sponsorship agreement promising to support your relative financially.

Who Can’t Apply To Be A Parent Or Grandparent

Unfortunately, not everyone can apply to be a parent or grandparent sponsor. If you have certain types of criminal convictions, you may not be eligible. The same goes for if you’re in jail, on probation, or subject to a removal order.

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Additionally, you may not be able to sponsor if you’ve already sponsored someone who didn’t follow the rules of their sponsorship agreement. Or if you’re receiving social assistance (with some exceptions). Finally, if you can’t financially support your sponsored relative(s), that could also disqualify you from sponsorship.


Family sponsorship is a great way to bring loved ones over to Canada. But it’s important to know who qualifies as a dependent child, and who can sponsor them. Hopefully, this guide has helped clear some things up. For more information visit POPTALKZ.COM

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