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A Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor his/her spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, or dependent child to immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident. Both the sponsor and the sponsored person must meet certain requirements to qualify. All applicants must go through medical, criminal and background screening.

Spousal Sponsorship

There are two options for spouses, common-law or conjugal partner or dependent children who are living inside Canada to apply for permanent residence.  A sponsor can either submit an “In-Canada” spousal sponsorship or an “overseas” spousal sponsorship.  Both applications have different forms, processing times and associated rights.  It is therefore important that you retain the services of an immigration lawyer to determine which application is right for you.

Who is a Dependant?

In the case of a dependent child, a son or daughter is considered ‘dependant’ if they are under the age of 22, or regardless of age, financially dependent on a parent due to a physical or mental condition.

Who can be a Sponsor?

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
  • permanent resident of Canada

Sponsors must be 18 years of age or older, have no outstanding sponsorship undertakings, immigration debts, court order debts and certain criminal issues, in prison or undeclared bankruptcy. Sponsors must promise to support their family member(s) financially and to do so, certain income requirements must be met.

How to Sponsor your Relatives?

In addition to meeting the definition of being a sponsor above, to sponsor a relative to come to Canada as a permanent resident, you must be able to: support your relative financially when they arrive, be able to meet basic needs for yourself and your relative (i.e.: accommodation, food, shelter, clothing etc.) and ensure that your relative does not end up needing social assistance.

Who can a Sponsor Specifically Sponsor?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, there are two options for who you can sponsor to Canada.

You can sponsor an orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild only if they meet all of the following conditions:

  • they are related to you by blood or adoption;
  • both their mother and father have passed away;
  • they are under the age of 18; and 
  • they are single, in other words, not married or in a common-law or conjugal relationship.

You can not sponsor your brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild if:

  • one of their parents is still alive;
  • no one knows where their parents are;
  • they were abandoned by their parents;
  • someone else other than their parents is taking care of them while one or both their parents are alive; and/or
  • one or both parents are in jail or otherwise detained.


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

You (the person who wants to sponsor your relative) do not have a living relative you could sponsor instead, such as a:

  • spouse
  • common-law partner
  • conjugal partner
  • son or daughter
  • parent
  • grandparent
  • orphaned brother or sister
  • orphaned nephew or niece
  • orphaned grandchild

You (the potential sponsor) do not have any relatives (aunt or uncle or any of the relatives listed above), who is a:

  • Canadian citizen
  • 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. Failure to do this can prevent your ability to sponsor a relative in the future.

Who can I Not Sponsor?

You cannot sponsor someone who is inadmissible to Canada. Inadmissibility to Canada can be as a result of human rights violations, organized crime, criminal record, security, health and/or financial reasons.

Looking to sponsor a family member to Canada? Contact us today to learn how we can help.
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