What is Canadian Family Sponsorship? | What is a Spouse/Partner.
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What is Canadian Family Sponsorship? | What is a Spouse/Partner?



However, Canadian family sponsorship allows you to bring your spouse, partner, dependent children, and in some cases, other relatives to Canada permanently. This article outlines the requirements and steps involved in bringing your family to Canada under the Canadian Family Sponsorship Program (FSP).

Canadian Family Sponsorship

Therefore, the Canadian family sponsorship program is one of the fastest ways to bring your family to Canada if youโ€™re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and you want to sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, dependent child (or adopted child), and any other dependent children who immigrated with them. This article explains how you can sponsor your family members using this process. If you are interested in sponsoring your parents or grandparents in Canada, see our related article on Parent/Grandparent Sponsorship.


What is Canadian Family Sponsorship?

If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you can sponsor your parents, grandparents, spouse or common-law partner, children, and some extended family members to become permanent residents of Canada. If you are a dependent child living abroad with your family but not under one of these categories above, you may still be eligible to immigrate as an adult if at least one of your parents is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Canada offers sponsorship programs for permanent residents or citizens of Canada that wish to bring their loved ones to Canada. These programs allow certain family members to become permanent residents of Canada. One of the most popular streams of Canadian immigration, family sponsorship programs makes it easy for citizens and permanent residents to bring their spouse and immediate family members to Canada with reduced processing times because Canada knows that family should never be put on hold.

There are two main aspects to sponsorship:

  1. It allows your family member to immigrate to Canada and get permanent residence (PR).
  2. It requires you, as an individual, to make a commitment to provide for basic needs and to support that person financially.

Family Sponsorship

If you are a Canadian permanent resident or citizen with a family member who wants to immigrate to Canada, you may be able to help them become a permanent resident. Family reunification remains one of the pillars of the Canadian immigration system.

To be eligible, the person seeking sponsorship must be a:

  • Spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner
  • Dependent child
  • Parent
  • Grandparent
  • Sibling, nephew, niece, or grandchild under 18 years who is unmarried and whose parents are deceased

The person sponsored must live outside Canada, unless they are residing legally in Canada temporarily, for example with a work or study permit.

What is a Spouse/Partner?

To apply as a spouse or partner, you must be 18 years of age or older and not have previously been married. You may be married to your sponsor or be common-law partners. (This is defined as a couple who has lived together in a conjugal relationship for one year or more) Marriage or common-law partnership must have existed prior to making an application under these classes. You cannot marry just to become eligible to immigrate to Canada. If you have been married before, only your current marriage will be considered when deciding if you are eligible to immigrate to Canada on a spouse/partner basis.

  • 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 the country of origin)
  • Same-sex relationships: considered valid for immigration purposes under these categories

What is a Dependent Child?

Under Canadian immigration law, a dependent child is one who is either: under 19 years of age; or between 19 and 25 years of age and enrolled in full-time study at a recognized post-secondary institution. Additionally, a child will also be considered a dependent if he or she has depended on financial support from a parent before turning 22 years old and still depends on that same financial support while pursuing post-secondary education.

To apply for sponsorship as a family member under Canadian immigration law, you must first be found eligible to sponsor someone by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The sponsor must have been living with you as your spouse or common-law partner immediately prior to making their application.


What is Family Class Sponsorship?

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 youโ€™re at least 18 years old and a:

  • Canadian citizen or,
  • a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or,
  • permanent resident of Canada

Canada Family Sponsorship Process

However, if you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, age 18 or over, you can sponsor certain family members to become Canadian permanent residents. If you become a permanent resident, you can live, study and work in Canada. If you sponsor a relative to come to Canada as a permanent resident, you are responsible for supporting your relative financially when he or she arrives.


Once the IRCC has received your PR immigration application, you will receive an Acknowledgment of Receipt also known as an AOR. This AOR is a confirmation that your application file has been created. You may also be referred to as an “AOR date” which is the date from when your 6 months intended processing time begins.

Requirements to be a Sponsor

To be a sponsor:

  • You must be 18 years of age or older.
  • You and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits you to provide financial support for your relative, if necessary. This agreement also says the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support her or himself.
  • You must provide financial support for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years from the date they become a permanent resident.
  • You must provide financial support for a dependent child for 10 years, or until the child turns 25, whichever comes first.

Who You Can Sponsor

You can sponsor:

  • Spouse โ€“ Outside, Inland, Same-Sex
  • Common-Law partner โ€“ (restrictions apply)
  • Conjugal partner โ€“ (restrictions apply)
  • Dependent children
  • parents โ€“ (Additional conditions apply)
  • grandparents โ€“ (Additional conditions apply)
  • brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces, granddaughters or grandsons who are orphaned, under 18 years of age and not married or in a common-law relationship
  • another relative of any age or relationship but only under specific conditions
  • accompanying relatives of the above (for example, spouse, partner and dependent children).

Sponsoring Your Spouse

The Spousal Sponsorship program is a subsection of the Family Class immigration category. Under this program, 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 three categories: Spouse Common-law Partner Conjugal Partner Canada does recognize same-sex couples to be eligible for spousal sponsorship. 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. An Outland application is generally pursued when the sponsored partner is living outside of Canada.

Sponsoring Your Child

Dependent children, both natural and adopted, may be sponsored to live with their parent(s) as permanent residents in Canada. The child sponsorship program is a subsection of the Family Class of immigration. 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.

What If My Sponsorship Application is Refused?

If your application for sponsorship is refused, you can appeal the case to the Immigration Adjudication Division (IAD) within 30 days of the refusal. IAD appeals are lengthy, costly and by no means guaranteed. If your case was refused, you should contact a lawyer immediately in order to ensure your appeal is filed on time.

What Does โ€œEssential Needsโ€ Mean?

When agreeing to provide for a family memberโ€™s โ€œessential needsโ€, the sponsor must take care of basic requirements of everyday living (eg. food, clothing, shelter), and health needs not covered by public health services (eg. dental and eye care)

How Long With The Sponsorship Application Process Take?

This will depend on to which Canadian Immigration Visa Office the application was forwarded, and the type of family member sponsored. Spouses, common-law partners, and dependent children are priorities and can take about a month, whereas parents and grandparents can take more than three years.

Who can be included in the sponsored person’s application for a Canada immigration visa?

Under family sponsorship programs, the following individuals can be included in the sponsored person’s application for a Canada immigration visa:

  • The spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner of the sponsored person
  • The dependent children of the sponsored person
  • The dependent children of the sponsored person’s spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner
  • The dependent children of the sponsored person’s dependent children
  • The dependent children of the sponsored person’s spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner’s children.

How much money do I need to sponsor a family member in Canada?

The income required will vary depending on the type of sponsorship you undertake and the number of family members you already have in your care. You will be required to sign a promise to provide for the basic needs of the family member you are sponsoring.

Some sponsorship options will also require you to demonstrate that you have a minimum income in order to be eligible to sponsor. This is for instance the case with the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program.

You must exceed the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) requirement set by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for each of the past 3 taxation years before the date that you submit your application. Your MNI is assessed based on your Canada Revenue Agency Notice of Assessment. Sponsors living in the province of Quebec must meet different income requirements.

What does โ€œbasic needsโ€ mean?

The sponsor must undertake to provide the sponsored family members with:

  • food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities of life
  • dental and eye care and other health need are not covered by public health services available to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
  • The obligation to provide for the basic needs of the sponsored person(s) will only arise if the sponsored person(s) are unable to provide for these needs on their own.

Can I sponsor my same-sex partner?

Yes. Your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner can be of either sex.

Is Will marrying a Canadian automatically give the foreign spouse permanent residence in Canada?

No. Once you are married or in a common-law relationship, you can then apply for a spousal sponsorship. The married spouse will only become a permanent resident of Canada after your sponsorship application is approved.

How do I apply for family sponsorship?

To apply to sponsor your relative, you must go through the following steps:

  • Get the application package from the government website and read the instruction guide, fill out the forms.
  • Pay your application fee (including processing fees, biometrics, and third-party fees).
  • Send your application to the mailing address indicated in the application guide.

How long will my sponsorship application take?

  • Spousal sponsorship applications take approximately 12 months to process.
  • The processing of applications for dependent children varies by country.
  • The processing of PGP applications takes between 20 and 24 months.


Meanwhile, a family sponsorship application is a very detailed, time-consuming process. We’ll walk you through all of your options and help you decide which is best for your family’s situation. Our team of experienced immigration professionals can also help navigate you through each step of your sponsorship application. If you’re interested in learning more about how to apply now, visit POPTALKZ.COM NOW!

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