Canada Family Sponsorship Program | Types, Requirements, Agreement, Fees and Process
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- 1 Family Sponsorship Program:
- 1.1 Who is the Sponsor and who are the people that can be sponsored under this Program?
- 1.2 Types of Sponsorship:
- 1.3 Requirements:
- 1.4 Fees
- 1.5 Sponsorship Agreement
- 1.6 Medical exam
- 1.7 Police Certificates
- 1.8 Process
The Canadian way of life lays great emphasis on family and its value. As a result, the Canadian government came up with several programs to support people’s wish for family reunification when they have already immigrated to Canada. So, if you are one of those applicants who have got your permanent residency and is considering bringing your family to Canada, then the Family Sponsorship Program is for you.
Family Sponsorship Program:
Family sponsorship is one of the most popular programs to gain permanent residence in Canada and is booming each year. Under the family sponsorship programs, a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, aged 18 or more has the scope to sponsor certain family members like spouse/common-law or conjugal partners, dependent child, parents, grandparents and siblings, nephew, niece, or grandchild under 18 years (who is unmarried and whose parents have passed away) to become Canadian permanent residents. The person sponsored must live outside Canada, unless they are residing legally in Canada temporarily with a work or study permit.
India is the biggest source of permanent residents to Canada, followed by China. Earlier, more than 20.6 percent of the 85,590 new permanent residents came from India under family sponsorship programs. Similarly, new permanent Canadian residents amounted to more than 34.9 percent.
Under this program, you can even sponsor your family members through the Provincial Nominee Programs in districts like:
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
Who is the Sponsor and who are the people that can be sponsored under this Program?
We have used the word ‘sponsor’ several times in this article before. Do you know what is meant by the term under this program?
Moreover, as already mentioned, family members like spouse/partner, dependent children, parents, grandparents, siblings, nephews/nieces can be sponsored. We all know about parents and grandparents. But there might be confusion about people who come under the ‘Spouse’ and ‘Dependent Children’ category.
So, let us get to know a few details on this.
Who can Sponsor?
In simple words, a sponsor must be a Canadian permanent resident or citizen over the age of 18. He/she must reside in Canada unless they are a citizen currently living abroad due to certain reasons and planning to live in Canada once the sponsored individual arrives.
Who is a Spouse/Partner?
Individuals under these categories are eligible for sponsorship:
Spouse: A person who is legally married in the country of origin and under Canadian law.
Common-law partner: A person who has lived for at least 1 year of uninterrupted cohabitation.
Conjugal partner: Conjugal partner who has a relationship for at least 12 months where the couple is prevented from living together due to immigration barriers, religious reasons, sexual orientation. But, the relationship needs to have permanence and commitment similar to marriage or common-law.
Same-sex relationships: Same-sex relationships are considered valid for immigration purposes under these categories.
- Who is a Dependent Child?
A child/children of the sponsor or the sponsor’s spouse or common-law partner, can be considered a dependent child if they are not yet 22 years of age and are single.
Children can be considered dependents if they have been relying on their parents for financial support before they turn 22, and are still (after they are 22 or above) unable to financially support themselves due to certain mental or physical conditions.
Children in the sole custody of a previous spouse are still considered dependent children, and this should be declared on the sponsorship application.
Types of Sponsorship:
Basically, sponsorships are of two types based on where the sponsored person is living- Inland and Outland. Inland sponsorship is when the couple is together in Canada, and the foreign spouse/common-law partner has temporary status in Canada (either as a worker, student, or visitor). Sponsorship is considered Outland when the sponsored partner is living outside of Canada.
Sponsorship can be of six types under the Family Sponsorship Program based on the relationship of the sponsor and the sponsored. They are:
- Spousal Sponsorship
- Sponsoring Common Law Partner
- Sponsoring Conjugal Partner
- Sponsoring Dependent Child/Adopted Children
- Parent & Grandparent Sponsorship
- Sponsor other relatives or family member
As previously mentioned, a Canadian Citizen can sponsor his/her spouse, and common law who are residing outside of Canada. Spousal sponsorship application can be applied shortly after the marriage. Proof of genuineness of the relationship should be provided with the application like travel tickets, photographs of ceremonies, life insurance policies, etc. The sponsored person, who should be above 18 years, must not have any criminal convictions or serious health problems.
Sponsoring Common Law Partner
Just like the Spousal Sponsorship, a permanent resident of Canada can sponsor his/her common-law partner if the sponsored person is above 18 years of age. For this kind of sponsorship, the application has to be done after they had a relationship for at least one year. The relationship has to be authentic, and to prove it, evidence has to be provided.
Sponsoring Conjugal Partner
Under a conjugal sponsorship program, the sponsor and the sponsored should be living apart and could not be together under circumstances beyond their control. But their relationship should be of at least one year before they apply for the sponsorship. Like the previous two programs, the relationship should be genuine and certain things should be attached to prove the genuineness of the relationship.
Spouses and common-law partners who come to Canada under the sponsorship programs are allowed to work under the Spousal Work Permit Pilot Program while they are waiting for their immigration applications to be finalized.
Sponsoring Dependent Child/Children (Natural/ Adopted)
A dependent child is categorized as someone who is under 22 and unmarried. A person can sponsor his/ her dependent children, both natural and adopted, to live with them as permanent residents in Canada. The child sponsorship program is a subdivision of the Family Class of immigration. To receive a visa through this program, the relationship between the sponsor and the sponsored person/s has to be proved. Applicants whose adoption proceedings are in the phases of final processing may begin sponsoring their child before the adoption has been finalized.
To sponsor more than one dependent child (including adopted children), a separate application form for each child must be submitted. If the child is 22 years and above, he/she should be enrolled in a full-time study and should be dependent on the parents financially.
Parent & Grandparent Sponsorship
Sponsoring a parent and grandparent can be done through two programs – for permanent residence and for temporary residence.
In order to sponsor a parent/grandparent, the sponsor must be residing in Canada to submit an application and demonstrate that they can financially support their family by meeting the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) for the size of their family unit. Both types of applications can be applied simultaneously. Parent & Grandparent Sponsorship application can only be submitted online on the IRCC website once a year.
On the other hand, for the parent & grandparent super visa application, under which eligible parents and grandparents can visit family in Canada for up to two years without the need to renew their status, the applicant has two options – file can be submitted online through MYCIC account or it can be filed as a paper-based application through Visa Application Centre (VAC) to the relevant Canadian High Commissions, Embassies or Consulates as per the nationality of an applicant or his/her current country of residence.
Sponsor Other Relatives or Family Member
There are other close relatives like orphaned brothers and sisters (siblings), nephews, nieces, grandchildren who can be sponsored to Canada. In extremely specific situations, any other relative by blood or adoption can be sponsored by Canadians. As a result, strict conditions, which are given below, are applied to these family class sponsorship categories
- They are to be related to the sponsor by blood or adoption.
- Parents have passed away.
- They are under 18 years of age.
- They are unmarried or in a common-law or conjugal relationship.
To be a sponsor
There are certain conditions that can make you a sponsor. They are:
- You must be 18 years of age or older and a Canadian citizen or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or a permanent resident of Canada.
- You and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement. This agreement will prove that you are committed to providing financial support for your relative, if necessary. It also mentions that the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support herself or himself.
- You must provide financial support for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years from the date they become a permanent resident.
- You must provide financial support for a dependent child for 10 years, or until the child turns 25, whichever comes first.
There are certain circumstances when you cannot be a sponsor. They are listed below:
- If the sponsor is in prison for being convicted of (or attempted/threatened to commit) an offence of a violent or sexual nature resulting in bodily harm of a family member.
- The sponsor is subject to a removal order.
- The sponsor is on the verge of bankruptcy
- The person receives social assistance from the government (except for disability) himself/herself.
- The sponsor has failed to pay child support payments or pay back immigration loans, or have made late or missed payments.
- The person has sponsored a family member earlier and had failed to meet the terms or has sponsored a previous spouse or partner who has not been a permanent resident for more than 3 years.
- The sponsor was himself/herself sponsored and became a permanent resident less than 5 years ago
The Canadian government needs you to pay for sponsorship and processing fees for Family Class applications. Moreover, there is a “Right of Permanent Residence Fee” for every sponsored relative who is not a dependent child. While the processing fee is not refundable, the Right of Permanent Fee is the only fee that will be refunded if the application is withdrawn or refused.
|Program||Components||Total (in Canadian Dollar)|
|Spousal, Common-law or Conjugal Partner Sponsorship||
(Biometric Fees will be $170 if it is for a family of 2 or more)
|Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship||
Note: Certain amounts will be added according to need.
– Spouse or partner of a parent or grandparent processing fee – $550
– Child (of a parent or grandparent ) processing fee – $150
– Biometric for a family of 2 or more – $170
|Orphaned Relative Sponsorship||
|If a relative is 22 years or older||
(Note: Certain amounts will be added according to need.
– Spouse or partner of a relative processing fee – $550
– Biometric for a family of 2 or more – $170 )
|If a relative is under 22 years||
(Spouse or partner of a relative processing fee, if required, is $550)
One of the noted requirements is that the sponsor must agree to financially support their family member if their relative cannot provide for their own needs. Again, it is to ensure that the new permanent resident will not become dependent on government assistance.
The length of this financial responsibility depends on the individual being sponsored:
Spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner : 3 years
Dependent child: 10 years OR when the child reaches age 22 (whichever comes first); 3 years for a dependent child over age 22.
Parent or grandparent: 20 years
The financial obligation will not be removed if the sponsored person becomes a citizen, divorces or separates from the sponsor, or moves away from Canada.
The sponsored individual is required to submit the results of a medical exam at the time of application, including biometrics for the applicants. This requires a certain amount of money to be paid with the application.
Applicants and each family member over age 18 must submit police certificates from the country where they have lived most of their life, in addition to any country where they resided for more than 6 months. It is to prove that they will not cause any harm to the country or have been a part of some illegal actions.
In order to complete the application, it must include completed and signed forms and all supporting documents, in accordance with the Document Checklist and instructions in the application guide in effect at the time the application is received by IRCC.
Applicants can use an online country-specific requirements tool that will help them to select a country and identify any additional forms or documents they need to submit as part of their application, with instructions on how to obtain them.
Once the IRCC has received the PR immigration application, you will receive an Acknowledgement of Receipt, also known as an AOR. This AOR is a confirmation that your application file has been created. You may also be referred to an “AOR date”, which is the date from when your six months intended processing time begins.
The processing time depends on which Canadian Immigration Visa Office the application was forwarded, and the type of family member sponsored. It can roughly take anything between 12-24 months to process. Spouses, common-law partners and dependent children are considered as priorities and can take about a month, whereas parents and grandparents can take more than three years.
In order to avoid delays in processing, make sure your contact information and your application details are up-to-date. If there are any changes in your application, notify IRCC about the change through a form available on their website and continue to monitor the old information until it is updated. Any kind of mail to inform about the changes will not be considered.
Under certain circumstances, you might need to withdraw your application. You can do it at any time before the relative you are sponsoring becomes a permanent resident of Canada. Again, you have to use a form available on the official website of IRCC to request the withdrawal of your sponsorship application.
Under the sponsorship programs, sponsors come into a contract with Canada’s immigration authorities to repay the government for any social assistance payments made to the sponsored person within a period of three years in case of a spouse/partner and a dependent child over the age of 19. In case of a dependent child, this period is for 10 years or until the child reaches the age of 25 years. This period extends for 20 years when it comes to parent and grandparents sponsorship program. Sponsors remain committed to the agreement for the entire period of the contract, even if there are changes in circumstances such as marital breakdown, separation, divorce, or financial issues.
It is estimated that in 2021, Canada plans on reuniting 300, 000 – 410, 000 family members through the Family Sponsorship Program. So, if you have been waiting for that moment, go ahead and submit your application.