Who can I sponsor to Canada?
About one-quarter of people who immigrate to Canada use family reunification options. Thus a Canadian citizen or permanent resident sponsors their loved ones in Canada. However, not every person qualifies for this option. The sponsor must meet specific qualifications, but the focus of this article is not on the sponsor. Let’s say you meet all the requirements as a sponsor. Who can you sponsor to Canada then?
- Eligible relatives
- Accompanying family members of the applicant
- Criteria for applicants
- Let us help!
Eligible family members for sponsorship
Section 117 of the Immigration Regulations identifies four distinct groups as eligible sponsorship candidates. Here is the list:
However, you may also sponsor the following relatives under exceptional circumstances:
- Adopted minor children
- Orphaned siblings, nephews, nieces, or grandchildren who are under 18
- Any family member such as uncles and aunts, adult siblings, nephews, or nieces
Defining spouse, common-law partner, and conjugal partner
The following definitions are for immigration to Canada. Therefore, they could be different in family law.
- Spouses: A valid legal marriage defines a spousal relationship. Both spouses must be physically present at the wedding site (exceptions exist for the Canadian Armed Forces). Moreover, the local laws must recognize marriage.
- Common-law partners: If two people live together for at least one year, they could qualify as common-law partners. However, they must have a committed intimate and financial relationship.
- Conjugal partners: The minimum duration and nature of the relationship are similar to common-law partners. Nevertheless, they have not cohabited for valid reasons (e.g., COVID travel restrictions or anti-same-sex-relationship regulations).
Who is a dependent child in family sponsorship
A dependent child is under 22 and single. However, sometimes overage children are financially and emotionally dependent on their parents because of a convincing physical or mental health issue.
Parents and grandparents
In this context, parents are either biological or adopting. Therefore, you could equally sponsor your birth parents or those who adopted you when you were a minor. The same concept could cover grandparents for sponsoring to Canada.
Adopting children and sponsoring them in Canada
Adopting minor children is a tedious, expensive, and time-consuming process. However, if you do so, then you may sponsor them.
Sponsoring orphaned relatives in Canada
Orphan refers to a child under 18 who has lost both their parents. You could sponsor the following orphans in Canada:
- Siblings (brothers or sisters)
- Nephews or nieces
Other family members
A Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada may sponsor one of their relatives if they do not have any non-exceptional family members to sponsor. Moreover, they cannot have any of these family members as Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Simply put, the sponsor must be a lonely person.
Can I sponsor the family members of the applicant?
In this context applicant is the person who is immigrating to Canada. Also, accompanying family members refer to the applicant’s spouse, common-law partner, or dependent children. When you sponsor your family member, they may include their family members in the application. Here are two examples:
- Your parents have a 12-year-old daughter. Of course, their daughter is your sister. In this situation, one of your parents becomes the principal applicant, and the other parent and your sister will be accompanying family members.
- Your father is in a common-law relationship with another gentleman. Therefore, your father is the principal applicant, and his common-law partner is the accompanying family member.
Requirements for the applicants in sponsorship applications
The primary criteria for being an applicant are simple:
- Have an eligible relationship with the sponsor
- Be admissible to Canada (the principal applicant and their family members)
However, the requirements are more for the spouse, common-law, and conjugal sponsorship. Read the following articles for more information:
Let us help!
If you intend to sponsor a family member in Canada, fill out the following form. Of course, you may book an appointment with me to explore your options. Moreover, for other immigration options, please fill out our assessment form.
Would you please fill out our free assessment form if you wish to visit or move to Canada? We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal immigration advice from a licensed practitioner.
Al Parsai, LLM, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada
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