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Family Sponsorship

Family Sponsorship

Many citizens in Canada & permanent residents have their relatives outside Canada, whom they wish to bring to Canada. The government of Canada offers the privilege to such citizens under the segment of Family Class Sponsorship.


The Family Class Sponsorship Program is one of the most suitable and liberal programs that are incorporated into the immigration process by the Canadian government. Through this program, the Canadian government tries to keep loved ones and families together & unified whenever possible.


In the Family Class Sponsorship, many relationships qualify including:


Spouses & Common-Law Partners

Are you a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident? Is your spouse, common law or conjugal partner, or dependent child a non-citizen? At Cougar Immigration we can assist you in the sponsorship of your family member!

Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their spouse (including common-law 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.

Who can sponsor?

Only Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their spouse or dependent child/ren. Temporary residents, including individuals with applications for permanent residence in the process, are not eligible to sponsor their family members. Individuals who received permanent residence as a result of being sponsored by their spouse or partner are only eligible to sponsor if they became a permanent residents more than 5 years ago. In situations when marriages fail and individuals divorce (following a spousal sponsorship), sponsors wishing to sponsor another spouse must wait 3 years from the date the previous spouse became a permanent resident.

Sponsors must be 18 years of age or older, cannot be subject to a removal order, or be in prison, and cannot be in receipt of social assistance (excluding disability). Sponsors must also have no outstanding sponsorship undertakings, immigration or court order debts, or undischarged bankruptcies. Individuals who were convicted of attempting, threatening to commit or committing a violent offense, of any offense against a family member, or of any sexual offense (either inside or outside of Canada) may not be eligible to act as a sponsor.

Canadian citizens can sponsor while residing outside of Canada, while permanent residents must reside in Canada.

 Family Sponsorship

Undertaking and Sponsorship Agreement

As part of the sponsorship application, sponsors must include a signed undertaking and a sponsorship agreement. The undertaking commits the sponsor to provide financial support for the basic needs of the individual being sponsored for a period of time. This period of time varies depending on the age of the individual sponsored, their relationship to the sponsor and their place of settlement in Canada. For instance, sponsorship undertaking for a spouse is 3 years, for a child could be up to 10 years. Sponsors are also committing to repay any provincial social assistance received by the sponsored family member during the period of time of the undertaking. The undertaking is binding regardless of a change in the sponsor’s situation or in their relationship with the applicant. Generally, income requirements are not imposed on individuals who seek to sponsor their spouse, partner or dependent child. However, sponsors must be able to financially support the sponsored persons or make suitable arrangements for their support. Sponsors must only demonstrate that they meet certain income requirements if:

  1. they are sponsoring a dependent child who has 1 or more dependent children, or
  2. they are sponsoring a spouse or partner with a dependent child who has 1 or more dependent children. Sponsors who fall within one of these categories must submit a Financial Evaluation form with the sponsorship application.

Please note that sponsors residing in Quebec are subject to different immigration sponsorship requirements. These sponsors are first assessed (and must be approved) by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and then by the province of Quebec. An undertaking is also specifically signed with the province of Quebec.

Who can apply as a sponsored person?

Spouses and partners who apply for permanent residence as a member of the family class must be at least 18 years of age and must not be inadmissible to Canada. Additionally:

  • Spouses must be legally married to the sponsor
  • Common-law partners must have been living with the sponsor for at least 12 consecutive months in a marriage-like relationship
  • Conjugal partners must have been in a relationship with the sponsor for at least 1 year and must be unable to either live with or marry their sponsor because of significant legal and immigration reasons (ie: where same-sex relationships are illegal, conjugal partners would be unable to marry or live together).

In the case of a dependent child, a son or daughter is considered ‘dependent’ if they are under the age of 22 and do not have a spouse or common-law partner. Children over the age of 22 may still qualify as dependants if they are financially dependent on a parent due to a physical or mental condition and they have depended on their parent for financial support since before the age of 22. The children must be related to the sponsor by blood or adopted.

All applicants and their dependants must go through medical, criminal screening, including the dependants who are not immigrating to Canada

How to apply?

There are two options for persons hoping to apply for permanent residence as a member of the family class.  A sponsor can either submit an “In-Canada” spousal sponsorship or an “overseas” spousal sponsorship.  Both applications have different requirements, processing times and associated rights and limitations.  It is therefore recommended that you obtain some legal advice to determine which application is right for you.

The documentation requirements for sponsoring a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner or dependent child also all differ.  It is therefore important to make sure that all documentation submitted to meet the requirements of your specific case.

Child or Other Dependant

The objective of the Family Class of immigration is to reunite close family members in Canada.

Through the Family Class, Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their dependent children, parents and grandparents, spouse, common-law, and conjugal partners.

The Government of Canada has a strong commitment to keeping families together whenever possible. Because of this, processing of Family Class applications is a high priority at Cougar Immigration Offices.
Under most circumstances, individuals coming to Canada as temporary foreign workers or permanent residents have the right to bring their dependents, including any and all dependent children, to Canada with them. However, circumstances arise when this is not possible at the time of immigration. For Canadian citizens and permanent residents with dependent children abroad, the government has created a special program to facilitate their loved ones’ entry into Canada.

Family Sponsorship

The Dependent Child Sponsorship Program

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.

In order to be eligible for this program, both the Canadian citizen or permanent resident (also called the ‘sponsor’) and their child abroad (the ‘sponsored person’) must be approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in order for the sponsored person to receive a visa.

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. Be sure to read the specific requirements for the program, as well as some additional general requirements for Canadian sponsorship.

After Sponsorship

Children sponsored through the Family Class of immigration receive Canadian permanent residence. This includes the right to study and work in Canada.

Parents and Grand Parents

Canadian citizens and permanent residents may bring their parents and grandparents to Canada through one of two popular programs: the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) and/or the Super Visa program.

Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP)

Canada’s Family Class sponsorship program includes a stream dedicated to parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Parents and grandparents approved under this program receive Canadian permanent residence and may eventually be able to apply for Canadian citizenship.

To be eligible for Canada’s Parents and Grandparents Program, an individual must meet:

  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or a registered Indian under the Canadian Indian Act;
  • Be 18 years of age or older;
  • Be residing in Canada (potential applicants will need to provide proof of status during the Interest to Sponsor phase);
  • Exceed the minimum necessary income level for this program (if married or in a common-law relationship, the income of both the sponsor and spouse can be included) and provide proof of income to IRCC; and
  • Sign an undertaking
    • to financially support the sponsored for 20 years (starting when they become permanent residents); and
    • to repay any social assistance benefits paid to the sponsored family members (if applicable) for a period of 20 years.
    • If the sponsor resides in Quebec, an additional “undertaking” must be signed with the province of Quebec.

Applicants to the PGP will have to prove that they meet the minimum income requirements by submitting notices of assessment issued by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) in support of their application.

PGP Updates for 2019

In an effort to improve the application process, IRCC replaced its controversial randomized application process with a “first-in, first-served” model for the 2019 in-take cycle.

IRCC has a 2019 quota of up to 20,000 complete applications through the PGP. Invitations to apply to the program will be issued based on the order Interest to Sponsor forms were received once the forms are reviewed for eligibility.

Completing the online Interest to Sponsor Form on IRCC’s website was the first step to the Parent and Grandparent sponsorship process.

PGP 2019 Interest to Sponsor Form

Prior to submitting the Interest to Sponsor form, IRCC encourages potential sponsors to gather the required information, including proof of status in Canada.
Individuals completing the form will need to provide the following information:

  • Family name(s) (also known as last name, surname) and their given name(s) (also known as the first name).
  • Date of birth
  • Country or territory of birth
  • Primary residential address in Canada
  • Email address for communication with IRCC
  • Number of family members
  • Total number of persons the individual wishes to sponsor, including dependents (spouse/partner and children)
  • Names of the parents and grandparents the individual want to sponsor and their date of birth
  • An electronic signature; and
  • Proof of status in Canada document number.

For the January 2019 Interest to Sponsor Form submission period, potential sponsors were able to submit one of the following documents as proof of status in Canada:

  • Permanent resident card (both sides)
  • Record of Landing (IMM 1000) (only if the interested sponsor didn’t receive a PR Card)
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292 or IMM 5688)
  • Canadian Citizenship Certificate or card (both sides)
  • Canadian birth certificate
    • If the interested sponsor was born in Quebec, IRCC will only accept a birth certificate from the Directeur de l’État civil.
  • Canadian passport (pages showing passport number, date of issue and expiration, photo, name, surname, place, and date of birth)
  • Secure certificate of Indian status

Learn what to do if you receive a PGP Invitation to Apply.

As part of the Government of Canada’s multi-year immigration levels plan, the 2019 admission target for the PGP is set at 20,500 and will rise to 21,000 in 2020.

Family Sponsorship

Who is not eligible to sponsor a parent or grandparent

Individuals are not eligible to sponsor a parent and/or grandparent if they:

  • Are less than 18 years old;
  • Will not live in Canada when applying to sponsor the parent and/or grandparent and/or when the sponsored parent and/or grandparent becomes a permanent resident;
    • A potential sponsor, an applicant’s primary residential address must be in Canada at the time of applying and until a decision is made on the application.
  • Are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, or a registered Indian in Canada;
  • Are a temporary resident who is visiting, studying or working in Canada on a visa or permit;
  • Have a permanent residence application that is still in the process
  • A potential sponsor must have permanent resident status at the time of submitting the sponsorship application.
  • Cannot show proof of income that demonstrates they have the required Minimum Necessary Income (MNI).

In addition, individuals may not be eligible to sponsor a parent and grandparent if they:

  • Are in jail, prison, or penitentiary
  • Did not payback:
    • an immigration loan
    • a performance bond
    • court-ordered family support payments such as alimony or child support
  • Did not give the financial support they agreed to when signing a sponsorship agreement to sponsor a relative in the past
  • Declared bankruptcy and are not discharged
  • Receive social assistance for a reason other than a disability
  • Were convicted of a violent criminal offense, and any offense against a relative or any sexual offense inside or outside Canada
  • They cannot legally stay in Canada and must leave the country because they received a Removal Order.

IRCC may have additional reasons for considering a person ineligible to sponsor a parent and/or grandparent.

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