Family sponsorship is a Canadian immigration program that allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor certain family members to come to Canada as permanent residents. The primary objective of family sponsorship is to reunite families and allow eligible family members to live and work in Canada as permanent residents. Here’s how family sponsorship works:
Who Can Be Sponsored:
- Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor the following eligible family members:
- Spouse or common-law partner.
- Dependent children, including adopted children, under the age of 22.
- Parents and grandparents.
- Dependent children of dependent children (i.e., grandchildren).
Eligibility Requirements for Sponsors:
- To be eligible to sponsor a family member, you must meet certain criteria, including:
- Being a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or a registered Indian under the Canadian Indian Act.
- Being at least 18 years old.
- Proving that you can financially support the family member you are sponsoring and meet the minimum necessary income requirements.
- Eligibility Assessment: Before applying to sponsor a family member, you must determine if you are eligible to be a sponsor and if your family member is eligible to be sponsored. This involves reviewing the specific requirements for the family class sponsorship program.
- Submit the Sponsorship Application: You, as the sponsor, will need to submit a sponsorship application to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The specific application forms and documents required will depend on the relationship you have with the family member you are sponsoring.
- Family Member’s Application: In most cases, the sponsored family member will also need to submit their permanent residence application at the same time or shortly after the sponsor’s application is submitted. This is known as concurrent processing.
- Processing Times: The processing times for family sponsorship applications can vary. IRCC provides estimated processing times on their website.
- Interview and Medical Examination: Depending on the type of sponsorship and the relationship between the sponsor and the family member, the sponsored individual may be required to attend an interview and undergo a medical examination.
- Decision: After reviewing the applications and conducting any necessary interviews or examinations, IRCC will make a decision on the sponsorship application. If approved, the sponsored family member will be issued a permanent resident visa.
- Travel to Canada: The sponsored family member will need to travel to Canada within a specific timeframe. Once in Canada, they will become a permanent resident.
- Sponsors are required to sign an undertaking, which is a legal agreement to provide financial support to the sponsored family member for a specified period. This undertaking ensures that the sponsored family member will not need to seek social assistance upon arrival in Canada.
- It’s important to note that there can be waiting periods for certain family sponsorships, especially for parents and grandparents. The government of Canada typically sets an annual cap on the number of applications it will accept for these categories.
Family sponsorship is a complex process, and the requirements can change over time. Therefore, it is highly recommended to consult the official website of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for the most up-to-date information and to consider seeking guidance from an immigration lawyer to navigate the sponsorship process successfully.