What are Canadian Family Visas?
A family reunification is one of the major objectives of Canada’s immigration system. The Canadian government has sought to welcome immigrants from different parts of the world, which is evident in the Canadian family visa category.
A Canadian family visa allows the holder to live and work in Canada with their family members. The Canadian family visa category is divided into three subcategories:
- Spouse or Common-Law Partner Sponsorship
- Dependent Child Sponsorship
- Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship
Each of these subcategories has different requirements that must be met for the application to succeed. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about Canadian family visas, from eligibility requirements to the application process. So whether you’re looking to bring your spouse to Canada or reunite with your extended family, we can help you with our professional legal services.
- What are Canadian Family Visas?
- Sponsor your Spouses, Common-law partners, and Conjugal partners
- Sponsor your Dependent Children
- Sponsor your Parents or Grandparents
- Who cannot sponsor spouses or partners?
- What are the Income Requirements to Sponsor Family Members?
- How to Apply for Canadian Family Visas
- What is a Sponsorship Undertaking?
- Documents Needed to Apply for Family Sponsorship
- How Long Does it Take to Sponsor a Family in Canada?
- How Can IAS Help?
Spouse or common law-partner sponsorship
This is one of the most popular Canadian family visa categories.
To be eligible to sponsor your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, you must:
- Be a Canadian or permanent resident.
- Be 18 years of age or older.
- Have enough money to support your spouse or common-law partner and any dependent children (if applicable) once they arrive in Canada.
- Not be inadmissible to Canada, meaning you don’t have a criminal record or any other reason that would make you ineligible to sponsor your spouse or common-law partner.
To successfully sponsor your spouse or common-law partner, you’ll need to provide evidence of your relationship, such as a marriage certificate, if you’re sponsoring a spouse. Proof that you’ve been living together for at least one year if you’re sponsoring a common-law partner.
Types of spousal or common-law sponsorship applications
There are two types of spousal or common-law sponsorship applications:
Inland sponsorship – Allows Canadians or permanent residents to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner who is already living in Canada.
Outland sponsorship – Allows Canadians or permanent residents to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner who is living outside of Canada.
The application process for each type of spousal or common-law sponsorship is different, so it’s important to ensure that you’re applying for the correct Canadian family visa.
Dependent child sponsorship
The Canadian government understands that families come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re looking to bring your dependent children to Canada, you may be eligible to sponsor them through the Canadian family visa program.
For a child to be dependent, they must:
- Be under the age of 22 and do not have a spouse or common-law partner.
- Have depended on you for financial support since before the age of 22 or since becoming a spouse or common-law partner (if this happened after the age of 18).
- Your dependent children will also need to pass a medical examination and provide police certificates as part of the Canadian family visa application process.
Types of dependent child sponsorship applications
There are two types of dependent child sponsorship applications:
Orphaned dependent children – This category is for children with no parents or only one parent who cannot be cared for by that parent. The child must also be under the age of 18.
Dependent children – This category is for children who are under the age of 22 (22 years old or younger) and do not have a spouse or common-law partner.
How to sponsor your child to be permanent resident
- The first step is to apply to be a sponsor.
- Next, you also apply for your child’s permanent residence.
- If you’re applying to sponsor an orphaned dependent child, you must include a completed Orphan Relative Application form with your sponsorship application.
- After you’ve submitted your sponsorship and permanent residence applications, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will contact you on behalf of your child and let you know what steps to take next. Your child will receive their Canadian permanent resident status if everything is in order.
Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship
The Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship Program (PGP) is a Canadian family visa program that allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their parents or grandparents for Canadian permanent residence.
This is a great way to reunite families who have been living apart for extended periods of time. It’s also an opportunity for Canadian citizens and permanent residents to give their parents or grandparents the opportunity to live in a safe and welcoming country.
To be eligible to sponsor your parents or grandparents, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status.
- Be able to prove that you can support your parents or grandparents financially.
- Live in Canada.
- Be the child or grandchild of your parents or grandparents.
- Have not defaulted on an immigration loan, court-ordered family support payments or child support payments.
- Sign an undertaking promising to support your parents or grandparents for a period of 20 years.
Your parents or grandparents must also:
- Be your parent or grandparent by blood, marriage, common-law partnership or adoption (this includes step-parents and foster relationships).
- Pass a medical examination
- Have a police certificate for each country they have lived in for six months or more since their 18th birthday.
- Your parents or grandparents will also need to provide biometrics as part of the Canadian family visa application process.
How to sponsor your parent or grandparent
- The first step is to apply to be a sponsor
- After you’re approved as a sponsor, you’ll need to complete an application for permanent residence for your parent or grandparent.
- If you’re sponsoring more than one family member, you must submit separate sponsorship and permanent residence applications for each person.
- Pay fee. You’ll need to pay a sponsorship fee, a processing fee and permanent residence fee for each person you’re sponsoring. The total cost will depend on how many people you’re sponsoring and whether you’re applying online or on paper.
- Get police certificates. You and each family member you’re sponsoring will need to get police certificates.
- Submit your application. Once you have all the required documents, you can submit your sponsorship and permanent residence applications online or by mail.
- After you’ve submitted your sponsorship and permanent residence applications, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will contact your parent or grandparent and let them know what steps to take next. They will receive their Canadian permanent resident status if everything is in order.
Who cannot sponsor family members?
You may not be eligible to sponsor your spouse or partner, child or parent if you:
- Received social assistance (other than disability payments) in the last 12 months.
- Have declared bankruptcy and are still bankrupt.
- Are in prison, on parole, or on probation.
- Have defaulted on a previous sponsorship agreement.
- Have been convicted of a violent crime or an offense against a relative.
Your spouse or common-law partner must also:
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Not be inadmissible to Canada
Your spouse or common-law partner will need to undergo a medical examination and provide police certificates as part of the Canada immigration visa application process.
What are the Income Requirements to Sponsor Family Members?
The income requirements to sponsor a spouse, partner or dependent child differ from those to sponsor parents and grandparents. You will be required to sign a Sponsorship Agreement and an Undertaking with IRCC, promising to support your sponsored person(s).
The Canadian government uses the Low-Income Cut-Off (LICO) to determine whether you meet the minimum necessary income requirements to sponsor. The LICO changes every year and is based on the size of your family and where you live in Canada.
The table below shows the minimum necessary income requirements:
|Number of People in your household||Minimum necessary income 2020||Minimum necessary income 2019||Minimum necessary income 2018|
|If more than 7 people, for each additional person, add:||$6,985||$8,876||$8,740|
Note: Your spouse or partner can help you meet the income threshold by signing an undertaking with you as a co-signer. As co-signer, they must also meet the same sponsorship eligibility requirements. In addition, they must have lived with you in a conjugal relationship for at least one year.
How to Apply for Canadian Family Visas
The process of applying for Canadian family visas is different depending on whether you are applying from inside or outside of Canada.
- If you are applying from inside Canada, you must submit your application to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta.
- If you are sponsoring your spouse or partner, you must also submit an additional application for permanent residence.
- If you are applying from outside Canada, you must submit your application to the visa office responsible for your country or region.
- If you are sponsoring your spouse or partner, you will also need to submit an additional application for permanent residence.
- The processing time for Canadian family visas varies depending on the visa office.
What is a Sponsorship Undertaking?
A Sponsorship Undertaking is a legally binding agreement between you and the Canadian government. It outlines your responsibilities as a sponsor and the obligations you agree to meet.
You must sign a Sponsorship Agreement and an Undertaking with IRCC promising to support your sponsored person(s) for the entire sponsorship period.
The sponsorship period starts when your loved one becomes a permanent resident and ends either after they become a Canadian citizen or if they no longer meet the conditions of their permanent resident status.
The sponsorship undertaking is a contract between you and IRCC. It outlines your responsibilities as a sponsor, including:
- To provide for the basic needs of your sponsored person(s), such as food, clothing, shelter, and health care.
- To make sure your sponsored person(s) does not need to ask for financial help from Canadian government programs during the sponsorship period.
- To reimburse any Canadian social assistance program that gives financial help to your sponsored person(s) during the sponsorship period.
What are the conditions of a sponsored person?
As a sponsored person, you must:
- Respect Canadian traditions and values.
- Obey Canadian laws.
- Have enough money to support yourself and your family members after you arrive in Canada (unless your sponsor has agreed to support you financially).
- Not plan to sponsor someone else to come to Canada while you are being sponsored (unless your sponsorship undertaking says otherwise).
What happens if I don’t meet the conditions of my sponsorship?
If you, as a sponsor, do not meet the conditions of your sponsorship undertaking, you may:
- Have to pay back any social assistance payments made to your sponsored person(s).
- Be banned from sponsoring anyone else for five years or more.
- Be asked to leave Canada if you are a permanent resident.
What are the consequences for sponsored persons?
If you, as a sponsored person, do not meet the conditions of your sponsorship undertaking, you may:
- Lose your permanent resident status
- Be asked to leave Canada
- Be banned from returning to Canada for 5 years
Documents Needed to Apply for Family Sponsorship
The documents you’ll need to include with your sponsorship and permanent residence applications depend on your relationship with the person you’re sponsoring. Make sure you get help from a professional if you’re not sure which forms to complete.
As a sponsor, you will need to provide:
- A copy of your Canadian birth certificate, Canadian passport, or Canadian permanent resident card.
- If you’re sponsoring your spouse, partner, or dependent child, you’ll need to provide proof of your relationship with them. This could be a marriage certificate, common-law partner declaration, or birth certificate.
- Proof of income. This could be copies of your Notice of Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency for the last three years or your most recent T-slip.
- Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement, and Undertaking.
- Application fees receipt.
- Form (IMM 0008), which is the Generic Application Form for Canada.
- Marriage certificate, if applicable.
- Your children’s birth certificates, if applicable.
As a sponsored person, you will need to provide:
- A copy of your passport or travel document
- Two recent passport-sized photos of yourself (unless you’re a dependent child under 18 years old).
- A police certificate from each country or territory where you’ve lived for six months or more since the age of 18, even if you have a criminal record.
- Proof of your relationship with your sponsor (if applicable).
- An immigration medical exam.
- A copy of your birth certificate.
How Long Does it Take to Sponsor a Family in Canada?
The length of time it takes to sponsor a family can vary depending on a number of factors, including the sponsor’s relationship to the family, the family’s country of origin, and the number of family members. However, in general, it takes between six and twelve months to complete the sponsorship process.
Some sponsorships may take longer if the Canadian government needs more information or if there are delays in processing. So, it is important to be patient and to keep in touch with your local Canadian embassy or consulate during the process.
How Can IAS Help?
Immigration advice service is a firm of experienced immigration lawyers who can help you with your Canadian family visa application.
Some of the services we provide include:
- Assessing your eligibility for a Canadian family visa
- Advising you on the best visa option for your circumstances
- Preparing and submitting your Canadian family visa application
- Providing ongoing support and advice during the application process
- Communicate with the immigration authorities on your behalf
If you’re interested in applying for a Canadian family visa, we can help. Contact us today to find out more. Call us on +1 844 290 6312 or find us online for immediate help & assistance with your situation.
Last modified on July 17th, 2023 at 8:38 am
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