Family Sponsorship FAQ's

Family Sponsorship

Q. Who can be included in the sponsored person's application for a Canada immigration visa?

Under the various family sponsorship programs of the Canadian government, you can include the following persons in your application for a Canada immigration visa:

  • Your spouse/common-law partner/conjugal partner
  • Your dependent children
  • Your spouse’s/common-law partner’s/conjugal partner’s dependent children
  • Your dependent children’s dependent children
  • Your spouse’s/common-law partner’s/conjugal partner’s dependent children’s dependent children

Q. How much money do I need to sponsor a family member in Canada?

The money required depends on:

  • The number of family members under your care
  • The type of sponsorship you undertake

You have to ensure that you will meet your sponsored family member’s needs by providing a signed promise.

In certain sponsorship options, you have to show a minimum income level to gain eligibility regarding sponsorship, like the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has set a Minimum Necessary Income (MNI). You will have to furnish proof that your income exceeds the set MNI for the past three taxation years before the application submission date.

Do note that your MNI will be assessed on the basis of your Canada Revenue Agency Notice of Assessment.

Q. What does “basic needs” mean?

These needs comprise:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Other basic necessities of life
  • All healthcare needs, like dental and eye care, which are not covered by the public health service available to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents

You will have to bear the obligation to provide your sponsored person’s basic needs only in case they are unable to do so themselves.

Q. Can the undertaking to provide "Essential Needs" be shared?

Yes, you can do so with a co-signer, who can be your spouse/common-law partner/conjugal partner.

Q. As a sponsor, what are my “obligations”?

The government of Canada asks the sponsor and their co-signer (if applicable) to sign an undertaking that declares their intention of providing for the basic requirements of their sponsored person/s for a particular time period post their arrival in Canada.

If you live in Quebec, this undertaking shall be entered into with that province’s government.

This ensures there is no dependence of the sponsored family members on Canadian social assistance or welfare.

Your time period of financial responsibility towards the sponsored person/s starts from the day they become a permanent resident. It varies on the basis of the type of family member.

The type of sponsored person Time period of financial responsibility (except Quebec)
Spouse/Common-law partner/Conjugal partner 3 years
Parent/Grandparent 20 years
Dependent child/children 10 years or till they turn 25 years of age – whichever comes first
Other relatives 10 years

Q. Can the undertaking be revoked or modified?

Once the sponsored persons enter Canada, the undertaking cannot be canceled or modified by the sponsor at any time.

Q. What if the sponsor does not fulfill the terms of the undertaking?

If you and your co-signer do not meet the commitments of the undertaking, both of you may face legal action.

Q. What if the sponsor does not have the requisite financial ability?

In such a case, the combined financial abilities of the sponsor and the co-signer are assessed to ensure that the requirements of the sponsored persons are met. The co-signer can be your spouse/common-law partner/conjugal partner. In case of any default, you and the co-signer shall be held equally liable.

Your Family Sponsorship Application shall not be approved if your and your co-signer’s combined fiscal abilities do not meet the set minimum requirements.

You will not have to meet financial ability requirements if you are sponsoring your spouse/common-law partner/conjugal partner or your dependent child.

Q. Are there any other agreements that the sponsor must enter into?

Yes, you will have to get into a Sponsorship Agreement with your sponsored person/s. This renders you responsible for ensuring that all essential/basic needs of the sponsored person and in return the sponsored person/s promises to put in the effort to become self-supporting.

Q. Can a sponsored spouse work or study in Canada while their application is being processed?

Yes, if they hold a work permit, they can work.

It is vital for the sponsored persons (student, worker, or visitor) to maintain their legal status during the processing time period of spousal or common-law partner applications.

Before starting work, your sponsored person, whether spouse or partner, should apply for an open work permit and get authorization. In most cases, the processing time period of this application is 4-5 months.

The open work permit is not associated with any job or employer. It authorizes the holder to work with most Canadian employers without getting a confirmed job offer first.

Q. Can I sponsor my same-sex partner?

Yes.

Q. Will marrying a Canadian automatically give the foreign spouse permanent residence in Canada?

No.

You have to apply for spousal sponsorship after you get married or enter into a common-law relationship. Only once you get approval will the married spouse become a permanent Canadian resident.

Q. I am in the process of adopting a child, do I have to wait until the adoption is finalized before starting the sponsorship process?

You can start the sponsorship process during the final phase of the adoption. Your application will be processed once the final adoption decision has been made.

Q. Must the dependents of the sponsored person accompany the sponsored person to Canada?

No, they do not. However, they must pass all clearances, police, and security, along with the medical examinations.

Q. Do I need to be interviewed for a spousal sponsorship?

The IRCC, in some cases, does ask to meet both you and your sponsored family member.

This is when:

  • Conflicting information is presented in the forms and submitted documents
  • The shown relationship is not supported with any documents

Q. Can I sponsor my spouse or partner if I don’t have a job?

Even if you don’t have a job, in most cases, you won’t be asked to submit proof of income to sponsor your spouse’s immigration to Canada. You may be asked by the immigration officer to come in for an interview where you could face inquiries about how you are planning on supporting yourself and your spouse.

Q. Can I sponsor more than one person in the program for parents and grandparents?

Yes, you can. You just have to apply separately for each person/couple. The applications are processed separately too.

Q. Who isn’t eligible to sponsor a relative in Canada?

In certain circumstances, you may be deemed ineligible to sponsor a family member/relative. These are:

  • If you were convicted of a crime that’s violent in nature
  • If you are currently in prison
  • If you have been remiss in making child support payments
  • If you declared bankruptcy and have not been discharged as yet
  • If you are a defaulter of an immigration loan or payments or have made late payments
  • If you sponsored a relative in the past and were unable to comply with the sponsorship agreement terms

Q. How do I apply for family sponsorship?

Here are the steps to do that:

  • Visit the government website.
  • Get an application package from there.
  • Carefully read the instruction guide.
  • Now, fill out the given forms.
  • Once that is done, the next part is making the payment. You have to pay the application fee which includes the processing fee, biometrics fee, and third-party fees.
  • Now, just mail your application to the address mentioned in the application guide.

Q. How long will my sponsorship application take?

The length of the processing time varies on the basis of the type of application.

  • The processing time period for spousal sponsorship applications is about a year (12 months).
  • The processing time period for dependent children depends on the country the application is submitted to.
  • The processing time period for PGP applications is from 20-24 months, approximately two years.

Q. How many immigrants arrive each year under the family class immigration category?

Annually, Canada aims at welcoming around 100,000 family class immigrants under its immigration level plans.

Q. How can I prove my relationship to the person I want to sponsor to immigrate to Canada?

The IRCC has set a few guidelines that you can follow to show the proof of your relationship with the person you want to sponsor in your application.

These guidelines differ on the basis of the sponsored person.

You may require a birth certificate if you are sponsoring a:

  • Child
  • Parent
  • Grandparent

For your spouse, you will need a marriage certificate. In case you are facing some issues in getting that, you can demonstrate your spousal relationship through:

  • Photographs
  • Travel itineraries
  • Bank accounts
  • Emails
  • Wedding invitations

Q. How can I show IRCC evidence of my relationship with my spouse?

Here is the list of documents:

  • A marriage certificate
  • Proof that your marriage has been registered with a government authority
  • Your wedding invitations and photos
  • The complete IMM 5532 questionnaire (Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation) that’s part of your application package
  • In case your spouse was previously married to someone else, a proof of their divorce
  • If you both have children, you have to provide long-form birth certificates or adoption records that contain the names of both the parents
  • You will also have to provide any two from the following documents. In case you are unable to provide even two sets, you will have to give a written explanation behind the same.
  • Proof of joint utility accounts, like gas, electricity, telephone, internet)
  • Proof of joint credit cards/bank accounts
  • A rent agreement that demonstrates the couple as occupants of the property
  • Proof of joint ownership of a residential property
  • Car insurance papers that show the couple as residents of the same address as declared to the insurance company
  • Government-issued identification showing the same address, like a driver’s license
  • Other documents that show the couple as having the same address – could be:
  • pay stubs
  • financial statements
  • tax records
  • insurance policies

Q. How can I show IRCC evidence of my relationship with my partner?

Here is the list of documents:

  • The complete IMM 5532 questionnaire (Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation) that’s part of your application package
  • In case your spouse was previously married to someone else, a proof of their divorce
  • The complete IMM 5519 form if your partner was previously in a common-law relationship with someone else
  • If you two have children in common, you will have to provide long-form birth certificates listing the names of both the parents
  • Some photos of you and your partner together
  • You will also have to provide any two from the following documents. In case you are unable to provide even two sets, you will have to give a written explanation behind the same.
  • Proof that you and your partner are recognized as being in a common-law relationship, like employment or insurance benefits
  • Proof of shared expenses/financial support among you two
  • Proof that shows the recognition of your relationship by friends and/or family – this can be in the form of letters or social media information which shows the public nature of your relationship

If the two of you are living together, you will also have to provide any two from the following documents. In case you are unable to provide even two sets, you will have to give a written explanation behind the same.

  • Proof of joint utility accounts, like gas, electricity, telephone, internet)
  • Proof of joint credit cards/bank accounts
  • A rent agreement that demonstrates the couple as occupants of the property
  • Proof of joint ownership of a residential property
  • Car insurance papers that show the couple as residents of the same address as declared to the insurance company
  • Government-issued identification showing the same address, like a driver’s license
  • Other documents that show the couple as having the same address – could be:
  • pay stubs
  • financial statements
  • tax records
  • insurance policies

If you and your spouse/partner are not living together, you have to furnish proof that the two of you lived together previously for at least one year. Here’s the list of documents you can use to prove that:

  • you have been in contact through:
  • Letters
  • Printed text messages
  • Emails
  • Social media conversations

This should be a maximum of 10 pages of evidence.

  • the Canadian citizen or permanent resident has visited their partner through:
  • Flight tickets/boarding passes
  • Passport photocopies with stamps

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