Family Immigration Canada

Under a government program, both citizens and permanent residents can sponsor family members to immigrate to Canada. Under the Canadian nationality law, an immigrant can apply for citizenship after living in Canada for 1095 days (3 years) in any 5-year period provided that they lived in Canada as a permanent resident for at least two of those years. Family visas are among the most widely used categories, with over 65,000 family visas issued in 2008. Relatives being sponsored under the family visa category do not need to undergo a points-based assessment.

One way your family member can accompany you in Canada is as immigrants under family class immigration stream. Through family class immigration, few members of your family are enabled to migrate to Canada, ahead of your assurance that you will be taking care of them for a certain period of time.A foreign national wishing to enter Canada must obtain a temporary resident visa unless he or she is a citizen of one of the 51 eligible visa exempt countries. Every year, more than 35 million people visit Canada.

Canada plans to introduce an electronic travel authorization for visa-free eligible nationals in April 2015.


Who can apply for Canada Family Immigration?

In order to apply for this visa, you must be either a citizen or permanent resident of Canada whose age is above 18 years. And you must be residing in Canada and have an enough capacity to sponsor your family member to immigrate to Canada under the Family Class stream.

Who can be Sponsored?

In order to sponsor your family member for Canada family immigration, they must be either a sister, brother, niece, nephew, or grandchild who are orphaned and whose age is under 18 years and are single.

Who can Sponsor?

Canadian citizens or residents can bring into Canada as permanent residents their spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, or dependent children. The spouse, partner or dependent children could be outside Canada when the application is made or could be living in Canada.

Both the sponsor and the relative are expected to meet certain requirements. It is the sponsor’s responsibility to support them financially in Canada and does not need to seek monetary assistance from the government.

The sponsor should meet certain income requirements. If the applicant earlier sponsored relatives to come to Canada and they have later on turned for monetary assistance to the government, then the applicant may not be permitted to sponsor one more person.

Eligibility criteria for Sponsors

To be eligible to sponsor, the Canadian citizens or residents should:

  • Be capable of meeting basic needs - such as accommodation, daily expenses and other living costs for themselves and applicant
  • Ready to support your relative financially when he or she comes to Canada
  • Be over the age of 18
  • Reside in Canada
  • A sponsorship agreement should be signed between the sponsor and his/her sponsored relative to commit to providing financial support if/when needed. This agreement also states that the person after becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support him/herself.

To sponsor applicants you should:

  • Have enough financial status
  • Agree to give financial support to the applicant for a period up to 10 years
  • Sponsor needs to provide financial support to a dependent child for 10 years, or until the child turns 25
  • If the sponsor resides in Quebec, then he/she needs to meet Quebec’s immigration sponsorship requirement, after Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) accepts you as a sponsor

The sponsors are also responsible for supporting their relatives financially when they arrive and should ensure their spouse or relative do not seek financial assistance from the government.

Sponsorship Agreement

A sponsorship agreement outlines the conditions for both the sponsor and the family member who is immigrating to Canada. The sponsor must accept to support his/her relative or dependent for an agreed duration of time without them receiving any social assistance.

The individual being sponsored must ensure that they support themselves, except in cases where the relative is elderly.


  • Sponsored family members and relatives granted permanent residence under the Family Class will have the right to live, work and study in Canada indefinitely
  • It is not a points-based category, but both the sponsor and the relative are expected to meet certain requirements
  • Family members entering Canada can work without any restrictions and can avail language training programs and assistance for finding employment
  • Permanent residents have access to government-funded health care, subsidized education and other social care benefits such as Canada Pension Plan Benefits, Old Age Security, and Guaranteed Income Supplement
  • After three years stay in the country, the applicant can apply for Canadian citizenship.

Eligibility Criteria for Spouse

A person can migrate as a spouse if-

  • He/she is married to their sponsor and the marriage is officially valid
  • A person has married in Canada, they should provide a marriage certificate issued by the province where the marriage took place
  • Has married outside Canada, then the marriage must be valid under the law of the country where it occurred and under Canadian law. Marriages that happen in an embassy or consulate should be in accordance with the law of the country where it took place, not the country of citizenship of the embassy or consulate.

Sponsoring Same-sex Partner as a Spouse

A marriage between two persons of the same sex will also be recognized for immigration purposes, if the marriage was legally performed in Canada, or was performed outside of Canada in a country where marriage between two persons of the same sex is legally recognized. Canadian citizens and residents can apply to sponsor their same-sex partner as a spouse if they were married in Canada and issued a marriage certificate by a Canadian province on or after the below dates mentioned:

  • British Columbia (on or after July 8, 2003)
  • Manitoba (on or after September 16, 2004)
  • New Brunswick (on or after July 4, 2005)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador (on or after December 21, 2004)
  • Nova Scotia (on or after September 24, 2004)
  • Ontario (on or after June 10, 2003)
  • Quebec (on or after March 19, 2004)
  • Saskatchewan (on or after November 5, 2004)
  • Yukon (on or after July 14, 2004)
  • All other provinces or territories (on or after July 20, 2005).

If the applicant has married outside Canada, he/she may apply to sponsor their same-sex partner as a spouse provided that the marriage is lawfully accepted according to both the law of the place where the marriage happened and under Canadian law.

Common-law Partner:

Canadian citizens and permanent residents living in Canada can sponsor their common-law partner and eligible dependent children. Applicants who have been residing with their qualifying Canadian partners for a period of 1 year or more in an ongoing relationship can be sponsored under this visa. They need to prove that they are in a genuine and continuing relationship and should have resided together at a common address.

The sponsor and the partner should intend to live together in Canada and an undertaking should be given by the sponsor to provide for all of the applicant's basic needs for a period of 3 years from the partner's arrival to Canada.

Conjugal Partner:

Applicants who have been maintaining an ongoing relationship with their Canadian partner, but have been unable to reside together at a common address with their Canadian partner for a period of at least 1 year, because of exceptional situations beyond their control, can be sponsored under this visa.

A person may apply as a conjugal partner if:

  • He/she has maintained a conjugal relationship with their sponsor for a minimum of one year and has been hindered from staying together or marrying because of:
  • An immigration barrier
  • His/her marital status (for example, he/she is married to someone else and residing in a country where divorce is impossible) or
  • His/her sexual orientation (for example, he/she are in a same-sex relationship and same-sex marriage is not granted where they live)
  • He/she can provide proofs that there were reasons they could not stay together (for example, he/she was refused long-term living in each other’s country)
  • The Canadian sponsor must sign an undertaking to provide for the partner's basic needs for the duration of 3 years from the partner's arrival to Canada.

A person cannot apply as a conjugal partner if:

  • He/she could have stayed together but chosen not to. This demonstrates they did not have the level of commitment that is needed for a conjugal relationship. (For example, one among both may not have wanted to give up an employment or study, or his/her relationship was not yet at the point where they are ready to live together).
  • He/she could not provide proofs that there was a reason that kept away him/her from living together.
  • He/she is engaged to be married. In this case, he/she should either apply as a spouse once the marriage has occurred or apply as a common-law partner if he/she has stayed together continuously for a minimum of 12 months.

Dependent Children:

Canadian citizens and permanent residents living in Canada can apply to sponsor their or their partner's dependent or adopted children. A son or daughter is dependent when the child-

  • Is below the age of 22 and does not have a spouse or common-law partner
  • Is a full-time student and is considerably dependent on a parent for financial support since before the age of 22 or
  • Is financially dependent on a parent since before the age of 22 because of a mental or physical disability

Relationships not eligible for the Family Visa

An applicant would not be eligible to be sponsored as a spouse, a common-law partner or a conjugal partner if-

  • He/she is under 16 years of age
  • He/she or the sponsor was married to someone else at the time of their marriage
  • He/she has stayed apart from the sponsor for a minimum of 1 year and either of them is the common-law or conjugal partner of another person
  • The sponsor has migrated to Canada and, at the time permanent residency was applied for, he/she was a family member who should have been assessed for their eligibility of the immigration requirements, but were not assessed 
  • The sponsor earlier funded another spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, and 3 years have not passed since that individual became a Canadian permanent resident.
  • If applicant sponsors a group of people like spouse and dependent children then all the applications for permanent residency must be filed at the same time. The application for sponsorship and permanent residence must be filed together.
  • If the applicant does not qualify to sponsor/support their spouse, common-law partner or dependent child in the Family Class, their partner/dependent may apply to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.


Other Eligible Relatives:

A permanent resident or a citizen of Canada can sponsor certain relatives such as parents and grandparents under the family class program. Both the sponsor and the relative wishing to migrate to Canada must satisfy certain requirements.

A Canadian resident can sponsor:

  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • 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
  • Children adopted outside of Canada or intended to be adopted in Canada
  • Any other family member can be sponsored regardless of age, if there is no spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, son, daughter, mother, father, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew who is a Canadian citizen, registered Indian or permanent resident or whom you may sponsor.
  • Accompanying relatives such as a spouse, partner, and dependent children.
  • Relatives over the age of 18, such as brothers and sisters or adult independent children are not eligible and hence cannot be sponsored. However, if they qualify to migrate under the Skilled Worker Class, they may gain additional points for adaptability for having a relative in Canada.

Parents and Grandparents:

Parents and grandparents can be sponsored under this visa category, by proving their relationship with the sponsor. The sponsor should be willing to live in Canada with the applicant(s) and must be capable of supporting them financially without accessing public funds.

The sponsor should meet the required income levels so as to support the applicants coming into Canada. The sponsor has to sign an undertaking to provide for all of the applicant's basic needs for the duration of 10 years from the date the applicant arrives in Canada.


Canadian citizens and permanent residents living in Canada can sponsor one relative regardless of age or relationship if the Canadian sponsor does not have any relatives who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents or any other relative who may be sponsored under the family category.

The Canadian sponsor must provide evidence of sufficient income and must also sign an undertaking to provide for all of the applicant's needs for a specified period of time.

GIC offers advice and guidance for best possible documentation. We assist and guide you at each step till you get your visa.

Visa Documentation:

  • Provide you the document checklist stage-wise and assisting you with the requisites and the alternatives upon receiving the signed service agreement copy
  • Corresponding with the department, on your behalf, if required
  • Professional advice on complete process stage wise
  • Provide documents samples and assist you with inputs wherever necessary
  • Post landing, traveling and settling assistance

 Contact Global Immigration Consultant for more info!

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