Family class immigration is the second largest category of newcomers under Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan. Family Class Sponsorship is designed to reunite families who are separated by distance. Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor close family members in order to bring them to Canada as permanent residents of the country. In 2022, Canada aims to welcome a total of 105,000 newcomers under family class, 25,000 from the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) and 80,000 Spouses, Partners, and Children.

Family Sponsorship Requirements in Canada

Eligibility of a Sponsor

In order to qualify as a sponsor for a family member, one must demonstrate to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that you are:

  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Able to support the sponsored person for several years

Who you can Sponsor

A Canadian citizen or permanent resident may sponsor their immediate family members, including

  • Spouses, common-law partners, and conjugal partners
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Grandparents

Canadians can only sponsor relatives like brothers, sisters, aunts or uncles in very specific situations.

Sponsorship for Spouse or Partner

In order to sponsor your spouse or partner, you or your partner may either apply as an inland applicant or an outland applicant. If you and your partner are already living together in Canada at the time of application, then you may apply as an inland applicant. In this case, the sponsored person will not have to leave Canada during their sponsorship application process.
If you or your partner is living outside of Canada at the time of application, you will have to apply as an outland applicant. Only Canadian citizens can live with their foreign spouses outside of Canada throughout the sponsorship process. Permanent residents on the other hand taking the outland option must remain in Canada and their spouse outside of Canada during the application process.

The application process for sponsoring a spouse or partner require you to submit the following two applications at the same time:

  • Your application to sponsor your spouse or partner
  • Your spouse or partner’s permanent residence application
  • In case applying as an inland applicant, you may also submit an application for a Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP) along with your application.

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