Categories of foreign nationals
The Act and Regulations distinguish between three broad categories of foreign nationals.
These categories are
The Act or Regulations define members of the family class, Convention refugees abroad class, country of asylum class and source country class.
The Regulations also define the economic class, which consists of
If you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, you can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, dependent child (including adopted child) or other eligible relative (such as a parent or grandparent) to become a permanent resident.
CIC refers to the immigrants who are eligible to use this family sponsoring process as the Family Class.
You can sponsor a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children if you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. To be a sponsor, you must be 18 years of age or older.
You can apply as a sponsor if your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or accompanying dependent children live with you in Canada, even if they do not have legal status in Canada. However, all the other requirements must be met.
You can also apply as a sponsor if your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children live outside Canada, and if they meet all the requirements.
When you sponsor a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or
dependent children to become permanent residents of Canada, you must
promise to support them financially. Therefore, you have to meet certain
If you have previously sponsored relatives to come to Canada and they have later turned to the government for financial assistance, you may not be allowed to sponsor another person. Sponsorship is a big commitment, so you must take this obligation seriously.
Other factors not included in this list might also make you ineligible to sponsor a relative.
If you live in Quebec, you must also meet Quebec’s
immigration sponsorship requirements, after Citizenship and Immigration
Canada approves you as a sponsor.
You are a spouse if you are married to your sponsor and your marriage is legally valid.
If you were married in Canada:
If you were married outside Canada:
Sponsoring your same-sex partner as a spouse
You can apply to sponsor your same-sex partner as a spouse if:
If you were married outside Canada, you may apply to sponsor your same-sex partner as a spouse as long as the marriage is legally recognized according to both the law of the place where the marriage occurred and under Canadian law. This applies to same-sex marriages performed in the following jurisdictions:
Please note that the above list of jurisdictions is offered as a guide only, and is subject to change. It is your responsibility to provide CIC information about whether or not your same-sex-marriage was legally recognized when and where it occurred.
You are a common-law partner—either of the opposite sex or same sex—if:
You will need proof that you and your common-law partner have combined your affairs and set up a household together. This can be in the form of:
This category is for partners—either of the opposite sex or same sex—in exceptional circumstances beyond their control that prevent them from qualifying as common-law partners or spouses by living together.
A conjugal relationship is more than a physical relationship. It means you depend on each other, there is some permanence to the relationship and there is the same level of commitment as a marriage or a common-law relationship.
You may apply as a conjugal partner if:
You should not apply as a conjugal partner if:
If you are a Canadian citizen, you may sponsor a spouse, a common-law partner or conjugal partner, or a dependent child who has no children of his or her own. However, you must demonstrate that you will live in Canada when the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident.
Note: Permanent residents residing abroad may not sponsor from outside of Canada. Canadian citizens travelling as tourists are not considered to be residing abroad.
Sponsor not residing in Canada
(2) A sponsor who is a Canadian citizen and does not reside in Canada may sponsor a foreign national who makes an application referred to in subsection (1) and is the sponsor’s spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner or dependent child who has no dependent children, if the sponsor will reside in Canada when the foreign national becomes a permanent resident.
Operational Bulletin 386 - March 2, 2012
The amendment, which came into force on March 2, 2012 upon registration, bars a previously-sponsored spouse or partner, from sponsoring a new spouse or partner within five years of becoming a PR even if the sponsor acquired citizenship during that period. Other members of the family class will not be affected by the regulatory changes.
You cannot be sponsored as a spouse, a common-law partner or a conjugal partner if:
A son or daughter is dependent when the child:
Your child or a child of your spouse or common-law partner will be considered a dependent child if that child
A. is under the age of 22 and not married or in a common-law relationship; or
B. married or entered into a common-law relationship before the age 22 and, since becoming a spouse or a common-law partner, has
is 22 years of age or older and, since before the age of 22, has
C. is 22 years of age or older, has depended substantially on the financial support of a parent since before the age of 22 and is unable to provide for him/herself due to a medical condition.
Dependent children must meet the above requirements both on the day the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga (CPC-M), Ontario, receives a complete sponsorship application and, without taking into account whether they have attained 22 years of age, on the day a visa is issued to them.
A permanent resident visa cannot be issued to a child as a member of the family class if that child is the adopted child of the sponsor or an orphaned brother, sister, nephew or niece of the sponsor as described earlier in this guide unless the adoptive parents/the sponsor demonstrate they have obtained information concerning the medical condition of the child. In doing so, the government ensures that the child’s best interests are protected.
If you are a child who was adopted by the sponsor, whom the sponsor intends to adopt in Canada, or who is the sponsor’s orphaned brother, sister, nephew or niece, the sponsor must complete and submit a Medical Condition Statement if he or she has not already done so with his or her sponsorship application.
Your relative may be able to come to Canada as a permanent resident.
If you are a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, you can sponsor your relative under the Family Class program.
Certain relatives may be eligible to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents.
There must be a sponsor for any relative immigrating to Canada within the Family Class. Both the person sponsoring a relative and the person wishing to immigrate to Canada must meet certain requirements.
Applicants for permanent residence must go through medical, criminal and background checks. An applicant with a criminal record may not be allowed to enter Canada. People who pose a risk to Canada’s security are also not allowed to enter Canada. An applicant may have to provide a certificate from police authorities in the home country. Medical, criminal and background checks are explained in the application kit.
You can sponsor certain relatives if you are a citizen or permanent resident of Canada and if you are 18 years of age or older.
You may not be eligible to sponsor a relative if you:
Other factors not mentioned in this list might also make you ineligible to sponsor a relative.
When you sponsor a relative to become a permanent resident of Canada, you must promise to support that person and their dependants financially. Therefore, you have to meet certain income requirements. If you have previously sponsored relatives who later turned to the Canadian government for financial assistance, you may not be allowed to sponsor another person. Sponsorship is a big commitment, so you must take this obligation seriously.
To be a sponsor:
If you live in Quebec, you must also meet Quebec’s immigration sponsorship
requirements after Citizenship and Immigration Canada approves you as a sponsor.
If you are a Canadian citizen who lives abroad and plans to return to
Canada when your relatives immigrate, you may sponsor your spouse, common-law
or conjugal partner, or your dependent children who have no dependent
To sponsor any other eligible relatives (for example, parents and grandparents), you must be living in Canada.
You can sponsor:
Note: you can sponsor one relative regardless of age or relationship only if you do not have a living spouse or common-law partner, conjugal partner, a son or daughter, parent, grandparent, sibling, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece who could be sponsored as a member of the family class, and you do not have any relative who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident or registered as an Indian under the Indian Act.De facto family members
De facto family members are persons who do not meet the definition of a family class member.
They are, however, in a situation of dependence that makes them a de facto member of a nuclear family in Canada. Examples include, but are not limited to:
Other relatives, such as brothers and sisters over 18, or adult independent children cannot be sponsored. However, if they apply to immigrate under the Skilled Worker Class, they may get extra points for adaptability for having a relative in Canada.
Depending on who you are sponsoring, the fees are:
You can pay fees:
If you live outside Canada, but submitted your application in Canada, online payment is recommended.
If you cannot pay online, you may pay fees with an international money order or a bank draft made payable to the Receiver General for Canada. It must be in Canadian funds.
To ensure the bank draft or money order can be cashed at a Canadian financial institution (such as a bank or Western Union) you must include some information. On the front, you must clearly write the financial institution’s
It is very important to include this information. If you do not, your application may be delayed or returned to you.
The mailing address will be in the sponsorship application form.
You can find information on how long it will take to process your application in the I Need To… section on the right-hand side of the CIC web site.In-Canada Spousal Sponsorship applications should be mailed to:
Case Processing Centre
Permanent Residence Applications
other family sponsorship applications should be mailed to:
Sponsorship :( Type of sponsorship*)
Case Processing Centre ─ Mississauga
P.O. Box 3000, Station A
Family members can be added to the application at any time during the process, including after the visa is issued but prior to obtaining permanent resident status. Applicants should be counselled to inform the visa office immediately if their family composition has changed.
To include adopted children, spouses, or common-law partners as accompanying family members, R4 requires that the relationship must be genuine or not one entered into primarily for immigration purposes.
If family members are added to the application during processing, they must be screened for inadmissibility before any permanent resident visa is issued.
Normally, any inadmissible family member would render the principal applicant (in any class) inadmissible as well [A42; R23].
There are, however, two exceptions to this rule.
The first is the separated spouse of the applicant.
The second is when the applicant or an accompanying family member does not have legal custody of their dependent child or when they are not empowered to act on behalf of that child, by virtue of a court order or written agreement or by operation of law.
If an applicant‘s separated spouse or the applicant‘s children who are in the custody of someone else are inadmissible, their inadmissibility would not render the applicant inadmissible.
Because separated spouses can reconcile and custody arrangements for children can change, examination is required in order to safeguard the future right to sponsor them in the family class. If these family members are not examined, they cannot be sponsored in the Family Class in the future under R117(9)(d).
In-Canada Spousal Sponsorship:
Working and studying
As a general practice, we will advise applicants in writing when they are eligible to apply for a work or study permit.
However, if an applicant already holds a work or study permit and wants to maintain his or her temporary resident status, the applicant may apply to extend his or her status before receiving our letter. Regardless of whether the application is submitted before or after receiving our letter, refer to the guides for Applying to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada. These guides may be obtained by visiting our website or by contacting the Call Centre.
If the applicant already has a permit, he or she may continue to work or study as long as the permit is valid.It is illegal to work or study without authorization from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.