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Canada Family Visa Requirements for Nigerians

The Canadian government recognises the value of immigration in strengthening the country’s economy. Canada’s view of immigration also understands and respects the importance of family for those relocating to a foreign country.

If you’re relocating from Nigeria to Canada and have any concerns about bringing your family with you, call our Lagos office on +23413438882, or on +44 (0) 3316300929, or reach out to us online. Our team can offer you expert assistance and advice to help you and your family navigate the Canadian immigration process.

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We have successfully helped numerous Nigerians get reunited with their families in Canada. If you need to know more about the Canada Family visa, we can guide you through the eligibility requirements and support you along the way. Let us handle all the complexities and make your application process as stress-free as possible.

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Overview of the Canada Family Visa Programme

Canada places family reunification as one of the pillars of its immigration system. As the country welcomes immigrants from around the world to live and work there, its family visa looks to ensure these people have a way to bring their loved ones with them. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) oversees this process and sets out the requirements for Canada’s family sponsorship programme.

There are different visa processes for different familial relations. For example, you can include your spouse or children as part of your initial visa application, while you may only be able to sponsor other relatives at a later stage.

Being a Sponsor

There are certain criteria you must meet to be eligible to act as a sponsor for a member of your family to join you living in Canada. You must first be over the age of 18 and a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. You must also live in Canada or demonstrate that it is your intention to live in Canada once the family member or members you wish to sponsor are accepted.

If you meet these basic requirements, you must also demonstrate that:

  • You don’t have a criminal record
  • You can effectively support the family member you’re sponsoring

The requirements for this support can vary depending on the specific family member. In general terms, you must show you have sufficient finances to meet their basic needs, including food, shelter, clothing, and any healthcare needs not covered by Canadian public health services. There may be low-income cut offs for certain sponsorship scenarios, such as if you’re sponsoring a spouse or partner who has a dependent child, who themselves has one or more dependent children of their own.

What is a Sponsorship Undertaking?

The requirements of your sponsorship are all detailed in a sponsorship undertaking that you must sign. This undertaking makes you legally responsible for the family member you’re sponsoring, which imposes certain duties upon you. Should that family member require government social assistance, for example, you’re required to repay this money.

The length of your undertaking varies depending on who you’re sponsoring. An undertaking when sponsoring your spouse lasts for three years, whereas an undertaking for a dependant child can last for ten years, for example. The terms of the undertaking stay in place for the entirety of this period, even if circumstances alter due to things like a change in your financial situation or marriage status, for instance.

Bring your family together. Discover Canada Family Visa requirements. Contact us today.

Who Can I Sponsor Under a Family Visa?

You can sponsor immediate members of your family under Canada’s Spouses, Partners and Children programme, providing you meet certain requirements. When sponsoring your spouse, for example, you must prove your marriage relationship is genuine by providing supporting documentation like a marriage certificate. Your spouse must also be over the age of 18 and not be too closely related to you.

You can sponsor children who are yours by birth or through adoption, but only if they are your dependent child. Children are considered dependent if:

  • They’re under the age of 22
  • They’re not married or in a common-law relationship

If your child is over the age of 22 but has some sort of physical or mental condition that prevents them from supporting themselves, then they can be considered your dependent. You can also sponsor your partner’s dependent children.

Are There Any Other Criteria Sponsored Family Members Must Meet?

Before being granted entry to Canada, your sponsored family member is also subject to the following:

  • A medical examination
  • Obtaining a police certificate confirming family members over the age of 18 don’t possess a criminal record

The specific document sponsored family members coming from Nigeria need regarding their criminal record is a Police Character Certificate. You can obtain this by applying in person at the Central Criminal Registry in Lagos, or by sending a mail application to the commissioner of police.

Sponsored family members must also make a commitment to obey the laws of Canada and make every effort to become financially independent and not seek financial support from the Canadian government.

Medical Examination

An immigration medical examination is required for both those seeking permanent residence in Canada and the family member they sponsor. You can complete this examination before or after submitting your visa application. Your own doctor cannot conduct the exam, it must be carried out by a Panel Physician or clinic approved by IRCC. The majority of approved Panel Physicians in Nigeria are located in Lagos.

The medical examination is an integral part of Canada’s immigration process to ensure that healthy individuals are settling in their country. It involves questions about your medical history, including previous or existing medical conditions and any ongoing medications. Part of the purpose of the examination is to test for infectious diseases, so it may be advisable (though not mandatory) to provide proof of any vaccinations you may have.

The main component of the examination is a physical exam by the Panel Physician, recording information like height, weight, blood pressure and pulse. They also check joint health, hearing, eyesight, and may carry out further tests like x-ray exams or other screening tests, depending on the age of the person being examined or the results of other parts of the examination.

What Family Members Aren’t Eligible Under a Family Visa?

Generally, you’re not able to sponsor other relations like brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren under the family visa scheme. Canadian immigration classes these relations as non-immediate family members.

There are circumstances where it might be possible to sponsor non-immediate relations:

  • You can sponsor a brother, sister, niece, nephew, or grandchild if they’re orphaned and under the age of 18, related to you by blood or through adoption, and dependent – i.e., they’re not married or in a common-law or conjugal relationship
  • You can sponsor one relative of any age, such as an aunt or uncle, related by blood or through adoption, as long as you don’t have any immediate family members, parents, grandparents, or orphaned relatives (as detailed above) you can sponsor

Sponsor a family member from Nigeria to Canada. Contact us to explore Canada Family Visa today.

How Can IAS Help?

Visa application can be imposing enough when you’re just applying for yourself. Adding family members to the process can add further complications to an already intricate undertaking. The consequences for any errors are heightened because your loved ones are involved.

IAS understands this, and we can help.

Our team of immigration specialists has decades of experience and have helped many Nigerian families with their journey to living in Canada. To find out how we can assist you or if you have any questions about moving your family, call us on +44 (0) 3316300929 , +23413438882 for our office in Lagos, or get in touch with us online.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at our Lagos office, all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The family visa programme allows you to sponsor your spouse or common-law partner. The person you’re sponsoring is defined as your spouse if you’re legally married. If you’re not legally married, the person you’re sponsoring is classed as your common-law partner if you’ve been living together in a conjugal relationship for at least 12 months.

A conjugal relationship is one that shows permanence and social, emotional, financial, and physical interdependence. It speaks to a relationship where the people involved share household duties and other similar responsibilities; it does not simply refer to a sexual relationship alone.

There are two main pathways for spousal and common-law sponsorship: inland sponsorship and outland sponsorship. Inland sponsorship allows you to sponsor a spouse or partner who is already living in Canada, whereas outland sponsorship is for sponsoring someone who is living outside of Canada. Each sponsorship application route is different, so it’s important to ensure you apply for the correct family visa. If you have any doubts or concerns, contact our team on +44 (0) 3316300929 or advice about your application.

You can also sponsor your conjugal partner. This is a categorisation where you have a similarly intimate relationship as with a common-law partner in terms of permanence and interdependence, but for reasons outside of your control, you and your partner cannot live together. You must provide evidence of both the existence of the conjugal relationship and of the legitimate barriers that prevent cohabitation.

You cannot include your parents or grandparents as part of your initial visa application, as you can with your spouse or children. You can, though, sponsor them via the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Programme. In addition to meeting the general requirements to act as a sponsor, you must also:

  • Provide proof that you’re the child or grandchild of the person or persons you’re sponsoring
  • Sign a sponsorship undertaking to promise you will provide the basic needs of the family member(s) for a period of 20 years
  • Meet or exceed the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) stated for the size of the family unit you’re sponsoring, providing necessary proof you meet this requirement to the Canada Revenue Agency

Your spouse or partner can co-sign the undertaking and contribute their income to help you meet the financial requirements, if necessary.

The Super Visa is also an option for bringing your parents or grandparents to Canada on a non-permanent, but extended, basis. The Super Visa allows visiting parents or grandparents to enter Canada for up to five consecutive years upon their initial visit, without the need to renew their status.

The Super Visa can be valid up to 10 years and allows parents and grandparents to enter Canada multiple times over this period.

As with the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Programme, there are requirements the sponsor must meet, including:

  • Proof of parental relationship with the parent or grandparent they’re sponsoring
  • Proof that the sponsor’s household meets necessary income requirements

Applicants under the Super Visa programme also require a letter of invitation from the child or grandchild who is acting as their sponsor, and proof of medical insurance coverage for a minimum of one year with a Canadian insurance provider.

If you live in Quebec, you may find that details of your sponsorship undertaking are different than in other parts of Canada. For example, Quebec has different lengths of undertakings for sponsored individuals. For dependent children under the age of 22, Canada expects a sponsor to be financially responsible for them for 10 years or until the child turns 25, whichever comes first. Quebec has more age-specific requirements:

  • For dependent children under 16 years of age, sponsors are financially responsible for a minimum of 10 years or until the child turns 18, whichever is longer
  • For dependent children aged 16 or over, sponsors are financially responsible for a minimum of 3 years or until the child turns 25, whichever is longer

If you live in Quebec, the province’s government also has specific requirements you must meet after you’ve received IRCC approval as a sponsor in order to sponsor your parents or grandparents. The Quebec government will assess your income and have additional sponsorship requirements you must meet, and you must sign an additional sponsorship undertaking with the province.

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