Permanent Residence > Sponsor Family or Relative

Sponsor Your Relative

Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada of at least 18 years old can sponsor specified categories of relatives for a permanent residence. After eligible relatives become permanent residents, they can live, study and work in Canada.

Sponsor Your Family Member or Relative To Become Canadian Permanent Resident


Canadians can sponsor their certain family members and relatives to become permanent residents of Canada. This is a pathway to immigrate to Canada with the primary goal – family reunification!


Who Can Be A Sponsor?


Sponsor should meet three basic requirements for age, status in Canada, and financial sufficiency. Thus, a sponsor must be:

  • At least 18 years old.
  • Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or registered Indian in Canada. Permanent residents must live in Canada to sponsor a family member or relative.
  • Able to provide financial support to the sponsored family or relative in Canada. Financial support includes basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter.


Sponsors Are Not Eligible In Some Cases


There are some additional requirement to a sponsor. For example, undischarged bankrupts, social assistance receivers (except for disability reasons), and prisoners are not eligible to sponsor their family members.

Also, sponsors who are in breach of their child support payments, immigration loan payments, terms of the previous sponsorship agreement, or committed a violent crime or sexual offence against a relative are not eligible to become a sponsor until those conditions removed.

Sponsor Can Apply To Sponsor Only Certain Family Members or Relatives


Sponsors who meet Canadian requirements to become a sponsor can sponsor certain family members and relatives:

  1. Spouse. This includes a husband or wife to  whom a sponsor is legally married.
  2. Common-Law Partner. Usually, a common-law partner is the one who is not legally married to a sponsor. A common-law partner could be either sex, as the same sex marriages are recognized in Canada. The key is that a sponsor and a common-law partner must have been living together for at least 1 year, continuously and without any long periods apart. Either partner can leave another just for a short and temporary period and only for family, work or business reasons.
  3. Conjugal Partner. As compared to a spouse or a common-law partner, a sponsor can not marry or live together with the conjugal partner because of the barriers beyond their control. Such reason could well be the immigration barrier, religious, sexual orientation, war, etc.  Still, to sponsor a conjugal partner, a significant degree of attachment for at least 1 year must be proved.
  4. Dependent Children. A dependent child is the one under the age of 22 years old.
  5. Adopted children.
  6. Parents and Grandparents.
  7. Orphaned close relatives. Orphaned relative must be under 18 years old, without spouse or partner, and related to a sponsor by blood or adoption (brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces, and grandchildren).
  8. Any other relative. This option only possible if a sponsor does not have any relative in Canada or abroad who he can sponsor instead under the regular categories (spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, son or daughter, parent, grandparent, brother or sister, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece).

Financial Side Of Sponsoring Family And Relatives To Canada


Sponsor’s Financial Ability To Sponsor


A sponsor’s financial ability to sponsor a family member or relative is one of the eligibility requirements.

A sponsor does not need to prove financial ability if he or she is sponsoring a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children (under 22 years old), with some exceptions though.


Sponsor’s Annual Income


However, to sponsor all other family members or relatives, a sponsor must prove an annual income in the preceding 3 years. The annual income must at least be equal to the minimum necessary income, calculable based on the number of persons in the sponsor’s family.

For that purpose, a sponsor’s family is composed of the sponsor, spouse or partner, dependent children, and the sponsored person(s). Every year Canadian Government publishes federal income scales – Low Income Cut-Off (LICO). Thus, to find out if the sponsor has financial ability and is eligible to sponsor family members and relatives, firstly, find out the sponsor’s size of family, and then check the required annual income based on the number of the sponsor’s family members in the specified year.


LICO – 2017


For example, the minimum necessary income in 2017 depending on the size of the family is the following:


Size of Family Unit

Minimum necessary income

1 person (the sponsor)


2 persons


3 persons


4 persons


5 persons


6 persons


7 persons


More than 7 persons, for each additional person, add



Sponsor’s Financial Responsibility For Family Member Or Relative – Financial Undertaking


Sponsors are financially responsible for family members and relatives they want to sponsor for Canadian permanent residence.

However, the length of financial responsibility, called undertaking, depends on the age and relationship to the sponsor, and whether a sponsor resides in Quebec.


Person you sponsorLength of undertaking
All provinces except QuebecQuebec
Spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner3 years3 years
Child under 13 years of age10 yearsMinimum 10 years, or until age 18, whichever is longer
Child 13 to 21 years old10 years, or until age 25, whichever comes firstMinimum three years, or until the age of 22, whichever is longer
Child 22 years of age or older3 yearsMinimum of 3 years, or until the age of 25
Parent or grandparent20 years10 years
Other relative10 years10 years


Importantly to remember that sponsor can not cancel or withdraw undertaking after the person sponsored has become a permanent resident of Canada.

For example, if you had sponsored a wife and divorced 1 year after she became permanent resident of Canada, as a  sponsor you will still be financially responsible for the ex-wife for 2 more years! This is because the period of undertaking for a spouse is 3 years.

Sponsor can not cancel or withdraw financial undertaking even if the sponsored person becomes a Canadian citizen, the sponsor lost job or has a debt.

Sponsorship Procedure And Stages


Any sponsorship application has two stages.

The first stage is to identify whether a sponsor is eligible and meet the requirements, which is a “sponsorship application”.

The second stage is the “application for permanent residence”. However, the IRCC visa office only proceeds to second stage if the sponsor is assessed as eligible and meets the requirements in the first stage – sponsorship application.

Even though two stages have certain different documents and application forms, all these documents and forms must be submitted at the same time. Thus, the whole application package containing sponsorship application and application for permanent residence must be submitted together.


Sponsorship Procedure For Spouse and Common-Law Partners Who Are IN CANADA


In some cases, where to submit the application package – sponsorship and permanent residence applications – depends on 2 things:

  • The relationship to a sponsor, and
  • Whether a family member is temporary living in Canada.


Open Work Permit For Spouse And Common-Law Partners In Canada


For example, a sponsor’s spouse or common-law partner is temporarily staying in Canada as a visitor, foreign student, or temporary worker.

In that situation, the couple can opt to submit In Canada Family Class application. The benefit of this option is that a spouse or partner can apply for an open work permit at the time of a sponsorship application and will be able to work in Canada for any employer while permanent residence application is being processed. However, In Canada Sponsorship requires the person being sponsored to stay and live with the sponsor in Canada.

Sponsoring a Parent or Grandparent


Canadian Government only accepts 10,000 parents and grandparents sponsorship applications each year. Since the application and selection process changed in 2017, now sponsoring parents or grandparents has 4 main stages:

  1. Show interest to sponsor your parent(s) or grandparent(s). To show the interest to sponsor parents, a sponsor can submit online form sometime in January each year.
  2. (IRCC) Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada randomly selects sponsors. This selection process reminds a lottery. However, there is usually more than 10,000 applications, that is why IRCC tries to make it fair for all applicants.
  3. IRCC invites selected sponsors to apply and submit a complete application to sponsor their parents or grandparents.
  4. Sponsors submit a complete application to sponsor parents. If IRCC did not invite you to sponsor parents this year, try next year or apply for a super visa for parents and grandparents.

Sponsors are financially responsible for parents and grandparents for 20 years. Sponsor must meet financial ability to sponsor parents. The sponsor’s annual income in case of parents and grandparents sponsorship should meet LICO + 30% for a specified year!

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April 2019