BRING YOUR FAMILY TO LIVE IN CANADA
Canadian citizens or permanent residents may sponsor certain close family members who are citizens of other countries to immigrate to Canada. Sponsorships proceed as a paper application to the Canadian immigration authorities who will process the application and, assuming that all requirements are met, will issue permanent resident status to the foreign family member.
BASIC QUALIFICATIONS TO SPONSOR
The basic requirements to qualify as a sponsor are that a person must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, be at least 18 years of age, reside in Canada, and have sufficient income to support their relatives once they arrive in Canada. A sponsor must enter into a written agreement with the Canadian government to support their relatives for a period of three years for spouses, common-law partners, or conjugal partners, ten years for children, and 20 years for parents and grandparents.
MINIMUM INCOME EXCEPTIONS
Note that there is no requirement to show a minimum level of income to sponsor a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, or child; the income requirement only applies to other types of sponsored relatives. However, the sponsor will still have to show that they have sufficient income or assets to support their family members once they arrive in Canada, without having to resort to social assistance.
RELATIVES WHO CAN BE SPONSORED
The types of relatives who may be sponsored under the family class include the following:
1. Spouse. A spouse is a husband or wife. To be considered the sponsor’s spouse, the sponsor and the applicant must be legally married. If the marriage did not occur in Canada, then provided that the marriage is legal in the country where it occurred, it will be accepted by the Canadian immigration authorities.
2. Common-law partner. A common-law partner is a person who the sponsor has lived together with continuously for at least one year in a conjugal relationship. A conjugal relationship is a marriage-like relationship.
3. Conjugal partner. A conjugal partner is a person who has been in a marriage-like relationship with the sponsor for at least one year although they have not lived together because of extenuating circumstances. Note that this is an exception category for people who have been unable to marry or live with their partner. It is not intended as a type of fiancé visa.
4. Children. A sponsor’s dependent children include children who are under the age of 19 and are unmarried.
5. Parents. Mother or father. It should be noted that when parents are sponsored they may also bring their dependent children with them, which will be the sponsor’s brothers and sisters. In this way a sponsor can bring their siblings who are under the age of 19 to Canada as permanent residents.
6. Grandparents. Grandmother or grandfather.
7. Orphans. An orphan is someone whose parents are both deceased. An orphaned sibling (brother or sister), nephew or niece, or grandchild may be sponsored if they are under the age of 18 and unmarried.
8. Adopted children. A person who is under the age of 18 who the sponsor intends to adopt in Canada may be sponsored.
9. Other relative. Where a sponsor does not have any spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, child, parent, grandparent, sibling, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece living in Canada, and no relative living abroad who may be sponsored under the regular categories, then they may sponsor any other relative regardless of their age.
Note that brothers and sisters cannot be directly sponsored under the Family Class. Brothers and sisters can only be sponsored as accompanying dependents of sponsored parents.