Family Sponsorship - 3 easy ways to move to Canada with your family

October 31, 2023


  • Wesley Allan

Canada is a beautiful country that offers an extremely high quality of life. With its public-funded healthcare, multicultural population, world-class education, and booming job market, it's a beautiful spot for foreign nationals looking for a new home. The Canadian government is hugely open to immigration, having pledged to allow 485,000 immigrants to become Canadian permanent residents in 2024.

A part of immigration that's tremendously important to the Government of Canada is actively keeping or bringing immigrant families together. As a result, the Canadian government has put together four family-sponsorship programs. These ensure that immigrants can move to Canada with their families, provided they fulfill a few criteria. Below, we will examine the four programs, the eligibility criteria, and how to apply for Family Sponsorship Canada.

Spousal and Family Visa

Family Sponsorship Canada

If you're a permanent resident in Canada or a Canadian citizen, sponsoring your immediate family members to move to Canada is possible and encouraged. You can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, or dependent children. This depends on whether or not you can afford to take care of their essential needs once they arrive in Canada.

What Makes Someone A Spouse Or Common-Law Partner?

The Canadian government describes your spouse as a life partner, as shown through a legally binding marriage. A common-law partner is someone with whom you are not married but are in a long-term relationship. You must prove living together for at least 12 consecutive months.

How Can Someone Become a Sponsor?

Outside of having citizenship or permanent residence in Canada, to be eligible to sponsor, you must be at least 18 years old and prove you're not receiving any social assistance other than disability. If you live in Quebec, you must meet the province's specific sponsorship requirements. In addition, if you live outside of Quebec, you must commit to what the Canadian government calls an undertaking.

If you commit to this undertaking, you must:

  • Financially support your sponsored family members by covering basic requirements like:
    • food
    • utilities
    • clothing
    • shelter
    • personal needs
    • household supplies
    • fuel
  • Provide all healthcare outside of Canada's public health cover, like eye and dental care
  • Ensure that none of your sponsored family members need to apply for social assistance. If they require social assistance, you must pay back the social assistance your family members get while under your sponsorship. If you don't, you will default on your undertaking, blocking you from being able to sponsor in the future.

This undertaking is an unconditional promise of support. This means that the sponsorship must still be upheld even in divorce, separation, or the breaking down of a relationship or moving to another province.

To ensure you can handle the undertaking, you must meet the income requirements for a sponsor. You usually don't have to meet the income requirement if you sponsor your spouse or a dependent child. However, you do if your dependent child has their dependent child or your spouse or partner has a child who, in turn, has a dependent child of their own. Your partner is allowed to help you reach your income requirement.

What Can Stop You From Becoming a Sponsor?

There are several reasons to block someone from becoming a sponsor. You cannot sponsor someone if:

  • Currently receiving social assistance outside of disability.
  • In default of the undertaking, family support payments, immigration loan, or family support payments.
  • Have declared bankruptcy
  • A sex offender or convicted of committing or attempting a violent crime
  • Incarcerated and currently detained in a jail, prison, or reformatory
  • Under a removal order

How Long Must You Maintain The Undertaking?

Length of time you are responsible for the person you sponsor
Person you sponsor Length of undertaking in all provinces (except Quebec) Length of undertaking in Quebec
Spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner 3 years 3 years
Children under 13 years old 10 years 10 years, or until age 18 (whichever is longer)
Children 13 to 19 years old until age 22 3 years or until age 22 (whichever is longer)
Parent or grandparent 20 years 10 years
Another relative 10 years 10 years

How Long is The Canada Spouse Visa Processing Time?

Depending on certain factors, the spouse and family visa processing times differ, primarily the relationship with the sponsor and whether or not the sponsored applicant is living in Canada. Suppose the spouse or common-law partner is currently living in Canada. In that case, the Canada spouse visa processing time is around 15 months. If the partner is outside Canada, the Canada spouse visa processing time is 23 months. A dependent child's family visa processing time differs depending on the child's country of origin. Learn more about Canadian immigration processing times.

Parents' and Grandparents' Sponsorship

Parents and Grandparents sponsorship

A permanent resident or citizen of Canada over 18 can sponsor their parents or grandparents through a Parents Sponsorship Canada program in their effort to move to Canada and gain Canadian permanent residence. You must financially support a parent or grandparent like a partner or dependent child.

What Makes You Eligible To Sponsor Your Parents/ Grandparents?

As with all sponsorship programs, the sponsor must be at least 18 years old and be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are a few significant differences in eligibility requirements and the sponsor's undertaking. For someone to participate in the Parents Sponsorship Canada program, they must do the following:

  • Meet the minimum income level for this program.
    • The sponsor must submit notices of assessment as given by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) to validate their income level.
    • The sponsor must also prove they have met the income requirements for at least three years before applying.
  • Support their parents/ grandparents upon their arrival in Canada
  • Sign a sponsorship agreement with the sponsored relative that commits the sponsor to maintain the undertaking for up to 20 years.

What Disqualifies You As a Sponsor?

The conditions blocking you from sponsoring a parent or grandparent under a parents sponsorship Canada program are the same as with the Spouse and Family sponsorship program.

Super Visa

If you're not looking to move to Canada but want to stay with a close family member for over six months, the Super Visa program is for you. A foreign national can remain in Canada for up to two years, multiple times over ten years, via Super Visa Canada. This is four times as long as a tourist visa and allows for far more visits to Canada. This visa is primarily for Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their parents or grandparents for a shorter period.

Who Is Eligible For Super Visa Canada?

To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • Have a letter of invitation from your child or grandchild inviting you to stay with them in Canada, which includes:
    • A promise of financial support for the length of the visit
    • The number of people in the household where you'll be staying, along with a list of names.
    • A copy of your sponsor's Canadian permanent resident or citizenship document.
  • You must apply for a Super Visa Canada from outside Canada.
  • you must be allowed to enter Canada
  • you need to sit for an immigration medical exam
  • be medically insured by a Canadian insurance company for
    • at least one year from the date of entry
    • at least CA$100,000

The medical insurance must come with proof of payment, and you cannot bring dependents with you under the Super Visa program.

How to Apply for Sponsorship

Apply for sponsorship

Gaining family sponsorship in Canada is relatively straightforward, provided you meet all the requirements. You can break it down into four steps.

Step 1: Get The Application Package

This can be found on the Canadian government's website and contains:

  • a document checklist for both the sponsor and sponsored applicant
  • forms for both the sponsor and applicant to fill out
  • instructions for how to correctly fill out the forms

Step 2: Pay Your Application Fees

The sponsor must pay the application fees for a family sponsorship, which are as follows:

For Parents or grandparents:

Family Sponsorship Fees CAD
Sponsorship fee (per person) 75
Right of permanent residence fee 515
Principal applicant processing fee 490
Principal applicant processing fee (if the applicant is under 22) 75
Inclusion of sponsored spouse or partner processing fee 570
Inclusion of a dependent child (per child) 155

Step 3: Submit your Application

This is better on the Government of Canada's website as you do not have to pay courier or postal fees. However, applications can be couriered, although this may slow processing time.

Step 4: Send in Additional Information

Often, you will be asked to send in the results of your medical exams, police background checks, and biometrics. While you can submit these after you send in your application, it's recommended that you submit them with your application.


Will I Be Forced To Leave Canada If I Leave My Spouse?

No. The only time you will be forced to leave Canada is via deportation. Your partner does not have the power to deport you. However, they can stop your application for permanent residence, limiting your time in Canada.

When Applying For A Super Visa, What Details Must Be Included In The Invitation Letter?

The letter requires much specific information about the applicant and the sponsor.

Letter of Invitation
Information About Yourself The Person Who is Inviting You
Complete name Complete name
Date of birth Address and telephone number
How long do you plan to stay in Canada Whether you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
The purpose of your trip Job title
Your relationship with the person that’s inviting you Details of your family, such as names and dates of birth of your spouse and dependents
Your address and telephone number Address and telephone number in Canada
Where you will be staying while you’re in Canada The total number of people living in your household, including people you sponsored whose sponsorship is still in effect
How you will pay for things A photocopy of a document proving your status in Canada
When you plan to leave the country  

Can I Sponsor An Adopted Child?

Yes. A Canadian citizen can adopt a child from outside Canada under Family Sponsorship, provided the adoption process has been completed and the child is moving to Canada to live with the sponsor.