One of the most common pathways of migration to Canada is family sponsorship. It has worked this way all around the world for decades; one member of a family discovers the opportunities of a new country, and shares these with the people they love.
After all, communities and families are stronger when they are together, in Canada we understand that. Family values are very important to us as a nation, so we want loved ones to be together, to be able to rely on each other for support systems and to help us grow our wonderful nation.
If you want to come live, work or study in Canada and you have a family member already living in Canada and you meet the eligibility requirements, the Family Sponsorship Visa is one of many immigration options available to you.
Family Sponsorship Visa
The family member who will be sponsoring you must meet one of the following requirements:
- They must be a Canadian citizen; or
- A person registered as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act; or
- A permanent resident of Canada.
Your Sponsor’s Responsibilities
We understand and respect that your relationship with the family member sponsoring you is between you and them. However, the Immigration and Refugee Council of Canada (IRCC) does need to make it clear that they accept the following responsibilities for you once you arrive in Canada, as they will not be able to assist you in the following:
- Support you financially when you arrive
- Help you meet these basic needs if you cannot:
For you to be considered eligible for a Family Sponsorship Visa for Canada, you must meet the following requirements:
- You cannot be in need of social assistance;
- You must be admissible to Canada – this will require you to obtain a police clearance certificate and a medical examination;
- You must hold a valid passport.
How it Works
Your relative will need to apply to the IRCC to become a sponsor. They will need to provide proof of income, state how you intend to support yourself once you arrive in Canada, how long they will provide you with support (3-20 years), include your dependent children on the application if you have any and submit all necessary supporting documentation.
They will then submit the application and pay the application fee and biometrics fee. They will also be required to give their biometrics in person. Your police certificate and medical exam will need to submitted as part of their application, so make sure you get them done as soon as possible.
Once the application has been submitted, you will receive a letter from the IRCC with an application number which you can use to create an online account and link the application to it. Once your application has been approved you will receive a certificate of permanent residency (COPR) and a permanent resident visa in your passport. You may then travel to Canada.
Who Can Sponsor You
Typically, only children, siblings, parents and spouses can be sponsored. Other family members can however be sponsored for a Family Sponsorship Visa if the sponsor can show that:
- They do not have a close family member they can sponsor instead;
- The sponsor does not have a close family member who is already a permanent resident or citizen of Canada or a registered Indian of Canada;
- They are related by blood or adoption to the person they want to sponsor.
Examples of who can be sponsored:
Example 1: Tedlo does not have a common law partner or children in Canada. His parents have since passed away. Tedlo immigrated to Canada ten years ago and is now a Canadian citizen. His cousin Rushdie, who has a wife and one child wants to come and live and work in Canada. Tedlo can sponsor Rushdie because:
- he doesn’t have a close living relative he can sponsor instead; and
- he doesn’t have any other relatives that are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
Example 2: Philamon wants to have his Aunt Jerry sponsor him to come to Canada. Aunty Jerry was married to his fathers’ brother Vern, who has since passed away. Aunt Jerry cannot sponsor Philamon because they are not related by blood. Philamon will have to investigate one of Canada’s many other immigration programs.
Example 3: Harry moved to Canada three years ago and became a permanent resident through the Express Entry program. His son, Tarlan, just turned 21 and wants Harry to sponsor him to come to Canada. Harry can sponsor Tarlan because:
- He is under 22 years old; and
- Harry is a permanent resident of Canada.