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Family Sponsorship

Common-Law Partners

Canada recognizes common-law partnership if you have been continuously living together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. Travel and brief periods apart will not affect your eligibility if you can prove you have spent the majority of your time living in the same household. This is done by showing things such as joint bank account information, receipts, joint residential leases, and other documents proving you live at the same address.


In-Canada Sponsorship

If you and your spouse are living together in Canada while they are on a valid study permit, work permit, or visitor’s visa, you can apply for in-Canada spousal sponsorship. The sponsored person may be eligible to apply for a spousal open work permit at the same time they submit for in-Canada sponsorship, which lets them work while their application is processed.

Outside of Canada Spousal Sponsorship

Outside of Canada Spousal Sponsorship lets spouses or common-law partners apply for PR while living abroad. The sponsored person may still obtain a temporary visa to travel to Canada while their application is being processed.

Definition of a Dependent Child

To qualify as a dependant child when applying for temporary or PR in Canada, your child must be within the age limit and meet the requirements of a dependent child. The age limit of dependent children (for immigration purposes) has changed from “under 19” to “under 22.” This change applies to all new applications received on or after October 24, 2017. If you are a Canadian citizen, your child may already be a Canadian citizen, even if your child was born outside Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen, a registered Indian, or a PR, you may be eligible to sponsor your child if they are not already Canadian citizens. A child over the age of 22 will be considered a dependent if they suffer from a physical or mental condition that prevents them from being able to support themselves.

Dependent Child Sponsorship Requirements

Parents wishing to sponsor their child must: 

  • Be a Canadian citizen or PR living in Canada

  • Be at least 18 years of age

  • Not be in prison, charged with a serious offense, or bankrupt


Parents also need to provide proof of the relationship with the child either with a birth or adoption certificate. 


Dependent Child Sponsorship Minimum Necessary Income

Canadian citizens or PRs who are sponsoring the dependent children are not required to meet the MNI if the dependent child does not have any children of their own. If the dependent child being sponsored has dependent children of their own, the sponsor must meet the MNI required for their family unit size.

Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship in 2019 (PGP)

If you submit the interest to sponsor form and you’re invited to submit a complete application, you can sponsor your parents and grandparents to become permanent residents of Canada.

If you do, you must:

  • support them and their dependants financially

  • make sure they don’t need social assistance from the government

If sponsorship for PR is not an option, Canada offers the Super Visa for parents and grandparents. The Super Visa is a multiple-entry visitor visa that can be issued for a period of up to 10 years.

Minimum Necessary Income (MNI)

Depending on the program under which they are applying, and where they live in Canada, a citizen or PR can only be deemed eligible to sponsor one or more family members to Canada if they meet the MNI for their family unit size. The family unit size includes those they currently support in Canada as well as those they intend to sponsor. If applying to the PGP sponsorship program, the sponsor must prove that they have exceeded the low-income cut-off for three consecutive years and sign an undertaking that promises to repay any and all social assistance received by their family members. 

How to Calculate Family Unit Size

The low-income cut-off will be determined by the size of both your family unit in Canada and that of the individuals you wish to sponsor to Canada. To calculate the size of your family unit, you must count: 

  • Yourself

  • Your spouse or common-law partner

  • Your dependent children, if any, and

  • The number of persons you are applying to sponsor

  • The number of dependent family members of that person, whether or not they are accompanying them

  • The number of persons currently covered by valid undertakings that you have signed or co-signed in the past

  • The number of persons currently covered by valid undertakings that your co-signed has signed or co-signed in the past

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