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Family Immigration – Canada Sponsorship Visa for Nigerians

If you’re a Nigerian citizen who has family members living in Canada, you may be eligible to join them in Canada through a family sponsorship route.

IAS are experts in Canadian immigration and work across Canada and Nigeria to help connect family members and help them settle in their desired country of choice. For more information about what we could do for you and your family, reach out to us on +44 (0) 331630092, or +23413438882 if you’re in Nigeria. Alternatively, you can reach out to us online.

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    Benefits of Choosing IAS Canada Immigration Lawyers

    When it comes to obtaining a Canada visa or permit, IAS Canada immigration lawyers are well-equipped to help you.

    With IAS’ track record of successfully helping clients visit or immigrate to Canada successfully, we can help you achieve your goal.

    Our dedicated immigration lawyers provide our services through a comprehensive and personalised approach. With IAS, you enjoy:

    Compassionate support from an experienced immigration lawyer dedicated to your success

    Support in gathering supporting documents and completing a high-quality application.

    Confidence that your case is being handled by an experienced team.

    In-house document checks done by lawyers who are well-versed in  immigration matters.

    Regardless of what your Spain immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

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    IAS’ immigration experts are on hand to help you with every aspect of your application to immigrate to Canada – from starting to fill in your first form to finalising the logistics of your move.

    Take the first step and reach out for further advice and information for your immigration case today.

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    For Nigerian emigration matters, please call +44 (0) 3316300929 or +23413438882

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    Overview of Canadian Family Sponsorship for Nigerians

    Family sponsorship in Canada is the process of eligible Canadian citizens and permanent residents bringing their eligible foreign family members to come and live with them in Canada.

    In doing so, the family members will be able to attain Canadian permanent resident status and thus be able to live, work and study in Canada indefinitely.

    There are a few different routes for Canadian family sponsorship, each one focusing on a different type of family member. Eligibility criteria for these routes will differ, and it’s important to ensure that you’re fully aware of what needs to be done in order to satisfy the specific requirements for you to be able to join your family member in Canada.

    You may be eligible for family sponsorship if you are related in any of the following ways to an eligible Canadian:

    • Spouse or partner
    • Dependent child
    • Parent or grandparent
    • Orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild
    • Other type of relative

    In addition, your Canadian family member must be one of the following:

    • Canadian citizen
    • Canadian permanent resident
    • Person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act.
    A family picture

    What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Sponsors?

    Overview

    There are some key eligibility criteria that all Canadian-based sponsors must fulfil if they wish to bring family members to settle in Canada.

    These will vary based on the family member being sponsored.

    The individual eligibility criteria for each family sponsor route are listed in this section.

    Eligibility Criteria for Sponsoring Spouses, Partners or Children

    In order to be able to sponsor spouses, partners or children, the sponsor must be:

    • At least 18 years old
    • A Canadian citizen, permanent resident or registered as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
    • Prove that they’re not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability
    • Able to provide the basic needs of the person being sponsored when they’re in Canada
    • Prove that you meet the minimum income requirement if:
      • The person being sponsored is a dependent child that has one or more dependent children of their own, or
      • The person being sponsored is a partner that has a dependent child, and their dependent child has one or more children of their own

    If the sponsor is a Canadian citizen and lives outside of Canada, they will only be able to sponsor a family member if they show that they plan to live in Canada when the family member becomes a Canadian permanent resident.

    Canadian permanent residents living outside of Canada cannot sponsor family members.

    Eligibility Criteria for Sponsoring Parents or Grandparents

    In order to be able to sponsor parents or grandparents, the sponsor must be:

    • First invited to apply by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
    • At least 18 years old
    • A Canadian citizen, permanent resident or registered as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
    • Living in Canada
    • Able to prove that they have enough people to financially support the family member being sponsored by giving proof of their income, as well as:
      • Promise to support the family member being sponsored for a period of 20 years
      • Commit to pay back any state funds or social assistance that that family member receives in that 20 year period

    Note that only people living in Canada are eligible to sponsor parents or grandparents.

    Eligibility Criteria for Sponsoring Other Relatives

    In order to be able to sponsor other types of relatives, the sponsor must be:

    • At least 18 years old
    • A Canadian citizen, permanent resident or registered as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
    • Living in Canada
    • Able to meet minimum income guidelines
    • Commit to financially support the family member being sponsored for a period of time up to 20 years

    Who Cannot Act as a Sponsor?

    Generally speaking, there are some things that may prevent an individual from being an eligible sponsor, or harm their chances of being approved as a sponsor by IRCC.

    These may include (but not be limited to) individuals who:

    • Were sponsored by a spouse or partner and who became a permanent resident less than 5 years ago
    • Are still financially responsible for the previous spouse or partner that they sponsored
    • Are in jail, prison or penitentiary
    • Previously failed to provide financial support for precious family members they sponsored
    • Have not paid alimony or child support payments
    • Have declared bankruptcy
    • Are convicted of a violent criminal offence, any offence against a relative or any sexual offence inside or outside Canada
    Child hugging mother

    What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Spouses and Partners?

    If you’re the spouse or partner of an eligible Canadian who can act as a sponsor, you must fulfil certain eligibility requirements to be able to settle with them in Canada.

    If you’re a spouse, you must be:

    • At least 18 years old
    • Legally married to your sponsor

    If you’re a common-law partner, you must be:

    • At least 18 years old
    • Not legally married to your sponsor
    • Have been living with your sponsor for at least 12 consecutive months, with no long periods of time spent apart

    If you’re a conjugal partner, you must be:

    • At least 18 years old
    • Not legally married to, or in a common-law relationship with, your sponsor
    • Ineligible to live in your own home country with your sponsor because of certain legal and immigration reasons, such as the following:
      • Issues with your marital status, such as if you’re married to someone else in a country where divorce is not possible
      • Sexual orientation, such as if you live somewhere where same-sex relationships are not accepted, or same-sex marriage is illegal
      • Persecution, such as if you may be at risk of legal or social punishment due to the nature of your relationship (e.g. being from differing religious groups)
    • You will need to show proof that you can’t live together or get married in your own home country when you apply.

    Are you a Nigerian, and want to join your family members in Canada? Speak to us about the family sponsorship visa.

    What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Dependent Children?

    In order for dependent children to be sponsored and brought to Canada, they must meet certain eligibility criteria. These include the following. The applicant must:

    • Be under 22 years old
    • Not have a spouse or common-law partner

    Children over 22 years old may be eligible to be sponsored as long as they are:

    • Unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition, and
    • Have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22.

    What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Parents and Grandparents?

    If you’re the parent or grandparent of an eligible Canadian who can act as a sponsor, you must fulfil certain eligibility requirements to be able to settle with them in Canada.

    These include the following. You must be:

    • The direct parent or grandparent of the sponsor, either by blood or adoption
    • Not the parent or grandparent of the sponsor’s spouse (in-laws)

    Multiple people can be sponsored through this route, as long as one applicant is listed as the main applicant and other applicants are listed as dependents (and also meet the eligibility criteria to be classed as a dependent).

    What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Other Relatives?

    If you’re related in any other way to an eligible Canadian who can act as a sponsor, you must fulfil certain specific eligibility requirements to be able to settle with them in Canada.

    Orphaned Relatives Under 18

    If you’re an orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild of a Canadian sponsor:

    • You must be related to your sponsor by blood or adoption
    • Both your mother and father must have passed away
    • You must be under 18 years of age
    • You must not be married or in a common-law or conjugal relationship

    Orphaned brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces or grandchildren cannot be sponsored if:

    • One of their parents is still alive
    • No one knows where their parents are
    • Their parents abandoned them
    • Someone else other than their parents is taking care of them while one or both their parents are alive
    • Their parent is in jail or otherwise detained

    Other Relatives

    If you’re a relative of any other kind and of any other age, you may be eligible to be sponsored by a Canadian relative in certain situations. In order for this to be the case, both of the following must be true:

    • Your potential sponsor doesn’t have any other relatives who could sponsor you instead
    • You don’t have any other relatives, who is a: Canadian citizen, permanent resident or registered Indian under the Indian Act

    You may be related to your potential sponsor either by blood or adoption.

    If you’ve been wondering how best to join your family member in Canada, our lawyers are ready to navigate you through a proven and successful route

    How Do I Apply for Family Sponsorship?

    Overview

    If you wish to apply for family sponsorship to join your family member in Canada, the application must be made online.

    There are two main steps in this process:

    • The sponsor in Canada must formally apply to become an eligible sponsor
    • You must then apply for permanent residence

    Note that if you’re a parent or grandparent wishing to be sponsored, you must first be invited to apply in order to be able to complete the above steps. Also note that invitations to apply are only offered on a yearly basis by IRCC. There is also a cap on how many invitations to apply that IRCC offers.

    If you’re currently unable to apply for family sponsorship as a parent or grandparent, you may instead consider applying for a super visa instead, which will allow you to visit Canada for up to 5 years at a time.

    Step One: Applying to Become a Sponsor

    For this step, the potential sponsor in Canada must download and complete a range of PDF forms from the IRCC website. Some of these forms will need to be signed by both the sponsor and you (the family member being sponsored).

    These forms may include (but not be limited to) the following, depending on the family sponsorship route:

    • Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking (IMM 1344)
    • Sponsorship Evaluation and Relationship Questionnaire (IMM 5532)
    • Financial Evaluation (IMM 1283)
    • Medical Condition Statement (IMM 0133)
    • Separation Declaration for Minors Travelling to Canada (IMM 5604)
    • Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union (IMM 5409)
    • Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)
    • Document checklist (form number will vary based on the sponsorship route chosen)

    After the necessary forms have been filled in, you will need to upload them to your online application and sign for the entire application.

    Step Two: Applying for Permanent Residence

    For this step, you must first create a Permanent residence online application portal account on the IRCC website.

    You will also have to fill out some or all of the following forms:

    • Generic Application Form for Canada (IMM 0008)
    • Schedule A – Background/Declaration (IMM 5669)
    • Additional Family Information (IMM 5406)
    • Supplementary Information – Your Travels (IMM 5562)

    After you have done this, you will also have to pay your application fees (more information on fees can be found in a section below). You will then submit your online application.

    You must ensure that you have done all of the following when you submit your application:

    • Answered all questions
    • Electronically sign your application
    • Include your processing fee receipt
    • Upload all supporting documents, including the document checklist
    Parents carrying child together

    What Are the Required Documents?

    To be eligible for the family sponsorship process, you will have to provide a range of supporting documents regarding yourself, your sponsor and the family link between you.

    These may include (but not be limited to) the following:

    • Valid passports and travel documents of you and your sponsor
    • Identity and civil status documents, such as:
      • Marriage certificates
      • Birth certificates
      • Annulment or separation certificates
      • Divorce documents
      • Death certificates
      • Adoption papers
      • Proof of custody for children under 18
    • Any and all relevant documents that serve as proof of your family relationship, such as:
      • Proof of joint ownership of property
      • Proof of joint utility bills
      • Proof of consistent communication and contact
      • Proof of visits to the sponsor or the family member’s home country
      • Other letters, photographs or documents supporting the genuine nature of your relationship
    • Proof of the sponsor’s status in Canada, such as a copy of their Canadian permanent resident card
    • Proof of income or finances
    • Police certificates
    • Medical exam certificates
    • Photographs of the sponsor and each applicant being sponsored
    • All necessary immigration forms completed and signed

    Note that any documents not in English or French will need to be supplied with a certified translation.

    What Are the Fees and Processing Times for Family Sponsorship?

    Fees

    The fees associated with Canadian family sponsorship are listed below:

    Type of SponsorshipCost (in CAD$)
    Spouses, partners, parents, grandparents, or any other relative 22 years or older1,080
    A single dependant child, adopted child (or child to be adopted) or orphaned relative150
    Dependent child included as a secondary applicant155 (for each child)

    Most applicants will also have to pay an additional fee of CAN$85 in order to give their biometrics information.

    Processing Times

    On average, it may take between a year and two years for IRCC to fully process and approve applications for family sponsorship.

    Note that if the application is to sponsor a parent or grandparent, the wait time may be greater than other routes, due to the need to wait for IRCC to open the pool to issue invitations to apply. The pools are usually only open for a short time each year.

    Father carrying his baby

    To avoid filling out the complex, intricate forms and requirements of the Canada sponsorship visa, enlist our expert lawyers today.

    What Happens After I Apply?

    After you submit your application for family sponsorship, you will need to attend an interview at a visa application centre to give your biometrics.

    This is only applicable if you, the family member being sponsored, are aged between 14 and 79 years old.

    At your appointment, a staff member will take your fingerprints and a digital photograph of you. You will need to ensure that you give your biometrics within 30 days of you receiving the letter informing you that you need to give biometrics.

    There are two Canadian visa application centres in Nigeria: one in Lagos and one in Abuja.

    You may also be required to attend a medical exam. This will be in order to check that you’re not medically inadmissible to Canada.

    You will receive a letter informing you of where to go to take your medical exam. You must attend your exam within 30 days of receiving this letter.

    During the processing period, you may also be contacted by IRCC and be asked to give additional proof or documentation to support your application.

    You can check the status of your application using your application number to create an online IRCC account, or by using the Application Status Tracker on the IRCC website.

    If Your Application is Approved

    If your application is approved, you will receive the following:

    • The Confirmation of Permanent Residence
    • A permanent resident visa

    You will then be eligible to travel to Canada. You must ensure that you do so before the two documents above have expired.

    You will also meet a border services officer at the Canadian border, who will ensure that you are eligible to enter Canada. They will make the final decision on whether you can enter Canada as a permanent resident or not.

    Family playing a game of Monopoly

    How Can IAS Help?

    Family sponsorship can be a lengthy but hugely rewarding process, especially if you have ambitions of living in Canada on a permanent basis.

    If you’re a Nigerian citizen looking to apply to live in Canada through a family sponsorship route, don’t go it alone. Let IAS help with the application.

    We are experienced immigration lawyers who have already helped numerous Nigerian clients with their immigration needs. We work tirelessly to ensure that your application and immigration case are presented to the Canadian government in the best state possible to ensure success.

    Whether you’re looking to settle in Canada with your Canadian spouse or partner, a parent or grandparent wishing to rejoin your child in Canada, or just need help in determining your eligibility for sponsorship, we can help.

    For more information about the services we provide and what we could do for you, reach out to us today. Call us on +44 (0) 3316300929 or +23413438882 if you’re in Nigeria. Or, contact 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

    If your application is refused, you will receive a letter from IRCC detailing the reasons why.

    You will also be informed if you’re eligible for an appeal or not.

    Appeals can be a very long and drawn-out process, and it’s advisable to have the support of an immigration official to guide you through the process. Call IAS’ expert immigration lawyers if you need help navigating an appeals process. You can reach us on +44 (0) 3316300929 if you’re in Canada, or +23413438882 if you’re in Nigeria. Or, contact us online.

    As part of the application process, the sponsor may need to provide proof of their income for your chosen route of family sponsorship. This is so that they can prove they can support their family members when they come to Canada.

    As of 2023, the low-income cut offs are as follows:

    Size of family unit Minimum necessary income (in CAD$)
    1 person (the sponsor) 27,514
    2 people 34,254
    3 people 42,110
    4 people 51,128
    5 people 57,988
    6 people 65,400
    7 people 72,814
    For more than 7 people, for each additional person, add 7,412

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