Immigration - Family Class Sponsorship

Apply for Family Class Sponsorship

Canadian citizens and permanent residents are both able to sponsor family members to live in Canada as permanent residents.

There are two processes that can be used to sponsor a family member: Inland Sponsorship and Overseas Sponsorship. The inland process is to apply for permanent residence for family members who are already physically present in Canada, such as a visitor or someone on a work permit. The inland process can also be used to sponsor someone who is in Canada without status (illegally). The overseas process is used to obtain permanent residence for family members who are not physically present in Canada.

See our pages on Inland Sponsorship and Overseas Sponsorship for more information.

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Eligibility to Sponsor

Who Can Be Sponsored Under the Family Class

Under most circumstances, only the following relations are considered members of the family class, and are able to be sponsored either under the inland or overseas sponsorship process:

  • Spouse, Common-Law, or Conjugal Partner – via Inland or Overseas Sponsorship
  • Dependant Child
  • Dependant Child of a Dependent Child (grandchild)
  • Parent
  • Grandparent

Other types of relations such as siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles cannot be sponsored under the normal sponsorship process. However, they may be able to obtain permanent residence in Canada under Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds (H&C), or as a last living relative.

What Is the Difference Between Spousal Sponsorship, Common-Law Sponsorship, and Conjugal Sponsorship?

There are several major requirements that a Canadian citizen or permanent resident needs to meet in order to sponsor a family member. Prospective sponsors have to be able to show that they can provide financially for the person being sponsored using income, savings, or other assets.

Some circumstances can also prevent someone from being a sponsor, including certain criminal convictions, and financial limitations such as bankruptcy. However, being in receipt of disability payments does not prevent someone from becoming a sponsor.

All three types of romantic partners may be sponsored for permanent residence in Canada. However, there is a difference between them:

  • Partners who are legally married would file a Spousal Sponsorship Application
  • Partners who are not legally married, but have lived together for a period of at least 1 year would file a Common-Law Sponsorship Application
  • Partners who are not able to legally marry, and who are also not able to live together due to circumstances beyond their control would file a Conjugal Sponsorship

All three types of applications also apply to same-sex couples.

Permanent Residence in Canada Under the Family Class

All three types of romantic partners may be sponsored for permanent residence in Canada. However, there is a difference between them:

  • Partners who are legally married would file a Spousal Sponsorship Application
  • Partners who are not legally married, but have lived together for a period of at least 1 year would file a Common-Law Sponsorship Application
  • Partners who are not able to legally marry, and who are also not able to live together due to circumstances beyond their control would file a Conjugal Sponsorship

All three types of applications also apply to same-sex couples.

As soon as they become permanent residents, new immigrants are allowed to obtain a Social Insurance Number and begin working or going to school right away. Permanent residents are also able to get provincial health care coverage, and can live anywhere in Canada. The only limitations on the rights of permanent residents are voting in Canadian elections, holding political office, and carrying a Canadian passport.

After a minimum of 4 years, a permanent resident is able to apply for Canadian citizenship.

Learn More

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Call or email us to schedule a one-hour consultation to assess the best path for you to work, study, or live in Canada.

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All information on this website is accurate as of the date of publication. Doherty Fultz Immigration Inc. (DFI) is not liable for any action taken without retaining DFI as legal representative or without express instruction from DFI.