Family Reunification Canada
Jacob is a US citizen. He started dating Michael, a Canadian citizen, four years ago. They initially met over a dating website, but then visited each other several times in Canada and the US. Jacob and Micheal even travelled to Mexico once. They got married in Windsor, Ontario four months ago. Jacob wants to quit his job and move to Canada to live with his husband. They wonder if this is even possible.
One of the objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is “to see that families are reunited in Canada” [paragraph 3(1)(d)]. That’s probably why about 25 to 30 percent of all the newcomers to Canada immigrate under Family Reunification programs.
The Two Sides of Family Reunification
A typical Family Reunification application consists of two sides,
- the sponsor
- the applicant and their dependent family members
Some people call family reunification, family sponsorship.
Who is the Sponsor
A sponsor is someone who meets all the following requirements.
- Is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident: Foreign nationals such as international students or foreign workers are not eligible to sponsor their family members to Canada
- Is at least 18 years old
- Is a resident of Canada (some exceptions apply)
- Meets the income requirements (some exceptions apply), for example, there are specific income requirements for sponsoring parents
- Meets the good character requirements
- Files a sponsorship application
- Signs the undertaking agreement: They agree to support their family members for several years after landing in Canada as permanent residents
Of course, the devil is in the details. There are many limitations and exceptions to the conditions above.
Who is the Applicant?
As you probably can guess, the applicant is the person who wants to immigrate to Canada. This person could be any of the following in relation to the sponsor.
- A Spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner who is at least 18 years old at the time of filing the sponsorship application
- A father or mother
- A grandfather or grandmother
- A dependent child (i.e. under 22 years old and not married – some exceptions apply)
- A brother, sister, nephew, niece, or grandchild who is under 18 years old and orphaned
- An adopted child who is under 18 years old
- Some other family members under special circumstances
Keep in mind, the definition of a family member under the immigration law could be different from the definition of a family member under other laws. You also need to remember, some circumstances could affect the eligibility of family members.
Who is a Dependent Family Member?
When you sponsor your family members they may have dependent family members of their own. For example, you are sponsoring your mother but she is married to your stepfather. In this situation, you may sponsor them both, or rather your mom and her dependent family members who happen to be her spouse. Eligible dependent family members of an applicant could be any of the following.
- Their spouse or common-law partner
- Their dependent children
- Their spouse or common-law partner’s dependent children
- Their adopted dependent children
Dependent family members, may or may not accompany the applicant. In other words, they may choose not to immigrate to Canada.
If you wish to visit or move to Canada or if you have encountered any issues with the immigration authorities, you may fill out our free assessment form or book a consultation session to assess your potential opportunities or offer you immigration, visa, or citizenship advice.
This article provides information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not give legal advice nor should you rely on it as legal advice. If you have specific legal questions, you should consult a lawyer. If you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment. All the characters in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Any resemblance in names, dates, and places (whether individuals, organizations, regions, or countries) is coincidental.