Canada family sponsorship is a popular way that a family member of yours can use to become a permanent resident (and even a citizen) of Canada. When it comes to family reunification, there are many programs that you can use to bring your family members to come and live in Canada with you. Not only that, but many of these programs allow them to bring other family members with them.

The Canadian government has made it possible for entire families to immigrate to Canada. Knowing all too well that living far away from your loved ones can be a big emotional burden for just about anyone, the Canadian government wants to make sure that all enjoy their stay and work in a comfortable and supportive work environment. When it comes to the sponsorship application process for each of the programs, each of them will have a slightly different application process, but the basic process for getting permanent residency is the same.

What Is Family Sponsorship in Canada?

For those who wish to gift permanent residence in Canada to their dearest, you should know that the family sponsorship program is not a single program. Depending on the connection you have with the person you are trying to sponsor, there are different programs, with somewhat different requirements that you can use to bring many family members into Canada. Eligible relatives include all related to you through a bloodline or adoption, and with some programs, you can even co-sign on your spouses’ sponsorship Expression of Interest to be able to share sponsorship obligations and bring their relatives into the picture as well.

The most obvious way for a family to immigrate to Canada is when married couples immigrate together. They can also bring their children in. However, considering that Canadian permanent resident status can take a while to get and costs a lot of money (for the settlement funds and the processing fees), many couples decide that one partner or spouse will immigrate to Canada, and that, once they are settled, they will send a separate application family sponsorship. This is where our programs kick in.

Canada Sponsorship Visa Requirements

Family-class immigration sounds like something very expensive, and it may be so. However, when you consider the possible consequences if the necessary funds are not secured, they do not cost that much. The application itself costs nothing, but the processing fees can be upwards of CAD1,000. However, stories of CAD10,000 or even more spent per family member are simply not true. What you do need are funds or a certain minimum income requirement to be made, and with this in mind, this is the money spent on your family.

The minimum has been set up to ensure that everyone has clothes, food, and shelter for themselves once they reach Canadian soil. Some past experiences made the Canadian government much more strict and caring for those seeking to immigrate to Canada. Never forget, sponsorship is not a right, it is a privilege, and you will have to make sure that you have enough funds available for all the family members that you would like to invite to live with you under the same roof.

Canada family visa requirements continue to say that the funds are not simply there to make sure that you have enough funds to provide them with a comfortable lifestyle. They also continue to say that the person immigrating to Canada under your sponsorship will not misuse their legal status in this beautiful country. Sponsorship is a serious ordeal and it is a form of contract between you and the Canadian government – you can bring in your relatives, but they will not be able to access the welfare programs organized by the Canadian government – if they do, you will have to pay this money back to the Canadian government! For this reason, you should always be careful that you meet all the requirements before applying to become a sponsor.

How To Apply for Family Sponsorship in Canada?

Family class sponsorship applications are not that complex. They are just somewhat more complex than a normal application for permanent residence. This is because you should first send an Expression of Interest to sponsor someone, and they should send in their application for family sponsorship shortly afterward or at the same time. If all is well, the application is going to be successful.

However, this is not all. The applications are sent through the IRCC (Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada) portal and it is on this portal that you will be able to keep track of this type of application and the current status it is on. When it comes to Canadian family class sponsorship, some programs have a total processing time of around 21 months, or almost a full two years before your family can come to Canada.

As this is too long for many, some families decide to make their immigration applications. Those who can still work and possess the skills, knowledge, and work experience can immigrate through the Express Entry program. They can secure funds and a workplace for their immigration, and a short processing time of just 6 months after the application is submitted is one of the shortest in the world.

When it comes to other options, the Super Visa is another great way to shorten the waiting or the processing time, although this is not a permanent solution. However, being able to travel to Canada whenever you like for 10 years, with 5 years on each entry is a great way to ensure that you get to see your kids in Canada. This visa has a typical processing time of as little as 150 days (around 5 months).

To apply for the family sponsorship in Canada, you should:

  • Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria
  • Ensure that your relatives meet the eligibility criteria
  • Ensure to apply at the federal level on the IRCC profile
  • Your relatives you are trying to sponsor should make the same application on the IRCC website but for the PR – Permanent Resident status. If your application is correct and eligible, you can proceed
  • Pay the processing fee for family sponsorship
  • Wait for the processing time to finish – some of the family unity programs have a processing time of almost 2 years – During this time, you can work on collecting higher income, making sure that you save more money or anything else you find useful at the time

Check Out How to Sponsor a Family Member to Canada:

Migrating to Canada Through Family Class Sponsorship

Canada sponsorship visa requirements are clear and straightforward, but many still get confused about it. When it comes to this type of migration, it is important to note that there are many programs, and if this is a source of confusion, you may want to hire an immigration consultant or an immigration lawyer to help you choose the best option for you.

The immigration requirements or eligibility criteria are also not very difficult, but there are cases when you may want to consider seeking professional help. Cases such as these may mean that more needs to be done to secure an acceptable application, and these cases may include:

  • Those applications that have been rejected previously
  • Applications made by those who have been deemed inadmissible to Canada on a health basis
  • Applications made by those who have been deemed criminally inadmissible to Canada

All of the above relate to the principal applicant. With the family class category of immigrants, the principal applicant is considered the person attempting to immigrate to Canada, not the person sponsoring their arrival. There are also some cases when the sponsor is seen as unfit to make the application and expresses interest in sponsoring someone. Here, the ineligibility criteria include you:

  • Having failed to pay a performance bond or a family support payment
  • Have failed to provide for the basic needs of a previous person you have tried to sponsor in Canada. If they get on Canada’s assistance programs (the social assistance programs), you will not be allowed to make another sponsorship application. The only exception here are the relatives that have gotten social assistance through Employment Insurance or Canada Emergency Response Benefit, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • If you are under a removal order
  • If you are in prison or a similar institution
  • If you receive social assistance yourself. The only acceptable way that you can receive social assistance and still be eligible for a program like this is if the assistance is awarded to you based on a disability. Another form of assistance that is acceptable is the Employment Insurance and Canada Emergency Response Benefit, especially if issued during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • If you are going through a bankruptcy that has not been discharged yet
  • If you were sponsored to arrive in Canada or have gotten your permanent resident status less than five years ago
  • Sponsored a previous spouse or partner and less than three years have passed since they arrived in Canada and got their permanent residence
  • If you have already applied to sponsor someone’s arrival, and a decision on the application has not been brought about yet
  • If you were convicted of a crime of a violent or sexual nature, or an offense of the same nature, especially if exerted upon a relative of yours, or if you have threatened to make these offenses before

All of these, or a combination of these can make you ineligible to sponsor someone’s arrival to Canada. When it comes to the family class program options, there are several ways to bring your relatives to Canada. These include:

  • The PGP program (Parents and GrandParents)
  • The Super Visa program for parents and grandparents
  • Spouse or Common-law Partner sponsorship

Parents and Grandparents

Visitor visa for parents and grandparents may not be enough. The TRV (Temporary Resident Visa) lasts for about six months, but this may not be enough, as this visa is made for those seeking occasional and temporary visits to Canada. However, as a family member of a Canadian permanent resident or citizen, it is important to go for family sponsorship applications as they allow you to visit Canada for much longer periods and to stay longer than the six months outlined by the TRV program.

The PGP program is one such program. Intended for parents and grandparents (therefore the name), the program allows you to get a PR status in as little as 2 years. With a program like this, you can stay in Canada indefinitely, and you can even become a citizen one day. To be eligible for the PGP program, you will need to have a child or a grandchild in Canada, and they will need to:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident
  • Be 18 years of age
  • Meet the minimum necessary income for a program like this
  • Sign a sponsorship agreement that promises financial support to you for 20 years

They will also need to collect some documents to send in with their application:

  • IMM 1344 – Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement, and Undertaking (including the length of undertaking)
  • IMM 5768 – Financial Evaluation for Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship
  • IMM 5409 – Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union, if applicable
  • Parents and Grandparents 2023 Invitation to Apply Letter, essential
  • Proof of Status in Canada (one of): Permanent Resident Card (both sides), IMM 1000 – Record of Landing, IMM 5292 or IMM 5688 – Confirmation of Permanent Residence, Canadian Citizenship Certificate (both sides), Canadian Birth Certificate for those born outside of Quebec. For those born in Quebec, only the Directeur de l’état civil Birth Certificate is accepted, Canadian passport – pages showing passport number, date of issue, date of expiration, photo, name, surname, place of birth, date of birth, SCIS – Secure Certificate of Indian Status
  • Marriage Certificate – if the spouse is the co-signer and if applicable
  • If the spouse is the co-signer, also upload one of the following (for the spouse): Permanent Resident Card (both sides), IMM 1000 – Record of Landing, IMM 5292 or IMM 5688 – Confirmation of Permanent Residence, Canadian Citizenship Certificate (both sides), Canadian Birth Certificate for those born outside of Quebec (for those born in Quebec, only the Directeur de l’état civil Birth Certificate is accepted, Canadian passport – pages showing passport number, date of issue, date of expiration, photo, name, surname, place of birth, date of birth, SCIS – Secure Certificate of Indian Status
  • Proof of Relationship to the principal applicant (the person being sponsored is considered the principal applicant):
    • The Sponsors Birth Certificate
    • The Sponsor’s Parents’ Birth Certificate, if grandparents are being sponsored

When it comes to the minimum financial funds for this program, the sponsor will need to prove that they have this income based on the number of family members that they will have in their household if the program is finished successfully:

Family SizeMinimum Income Threshold in CAD
per Additional Person in your Family7,172

This is where the legal obligations of the sponsor for the application process only (!) end. However, the principal applicant (the person who would like to immigrate to Canada will also need to submit some paperwork on their side:

  • IMM 0008 – The Generic Application Form for Canada
  • IMM 5406 – Additional Family Information, please be truthful, all the information will be checked
  • IMM 5669 – Schedule A – Background/Declaration (If the principal applicant is employed by the government of their country of citizenship, the form IMM 0149 will also be needed)
  • IMM 5662 – Your Travels
  • IMM 5476 – Use of a Representative – this form has to be filled in and sent even if your child or grandchild is your representative
  • Travel Document or Passport of the Principal Applicant and all other Family Members or Dependents they would take with themselves – pages showing passport number, date of issue, date of expiration, photo, name, surname, place of birth, date of birth
  • Proof of relationship to the spouse: Marriage Certificate or IMM 5409 – Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union
  • Proof of principal applicants’ relation to the dependents they would like to take with themselves: Birth Certificate OR Adoption Certificate
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV or resume) – for all applicants and dependents older than 18 (including)
  • Details of Police Service: IMM 0150
  • Details of Military Experience/Service: IMM 5546
  • 1 recent photo of the principal applicant and all dependents
  • Proof of Payment of the Processing fee (or the Application Fees)

Super Visa

Super Visa is another way that your parents or grandparents can come and visit you in Canada. Unlike the PGP program, the Super Visa is a type of visa. It grants temporary access to Canada. It is issued for a maximum period of 10 years. This is a multiple-entry visa, meaning that you can enter and leave Canada as needed, whenever you want, and how many times you want.

When it comes to the entries, each of them can be up to 5 years long. If this is too short for you, you may want to consider asking for an extension. The extension can be up to 2 years long, granting you access for a maximum of 7 years at a time. This program is popular among those whose children study in Canada. When it comes to the requirements for the Super Visa program, here they are:

  • Letter of Invitation, written by your family member in Canada
  • Proof of medical insurance – purchased from a Canadian insurer/insurance company, valid for a year, and covering the maximum amount of CAD100,000
  • Proof that your child or grandchild meets the Low Income Cut-Off minimum (LICO minimum)
  • Proof of relationship – can include a birth certificate or an adoption certificate
  • Immigration medical exam – which has to be performed by a licensed and certified physician in your country, named on the IRCC website
  • Travel history – including all the countries that you have visited
  • Itinerary – this is any proof of your future activities in Canada, including bus, plane, train, and ferry tickets, tickets to events, festivals and concerts, etc.
  • Account Statement – usually for the past six months, this is used to gain insight into your finances and how well you could support yourself during your stay in Canada, as you will not be able to work – the Super Visa does not come with a work permit
  • Employer Information – in a letter form from the employer, including your information, the information about your company and your work position, including the salary
  • Your identity documents, including passport, refugee passport, alien passport, US Permit to Re-Enter (I-327), and the US Refugee Travel Document (I-571)
  • Travel Authorization Letter for any minors that may accompany you, if you are the only parent or guardian traveling with them

This is a very cheap form visa, and here are the expenses you can expect to have to get it issued to you:

Type of Expense/FeeAmount in CAD
Super Visa100
Biometrics Fee85
Biometrics Fee for a Family170
eTA (electronic Travel Authorization) per Person7
Health Insurance per Person800+
Other Expenses for documents, etc.N/A

Spouse or Common-Law Partner Sponsorship

The Family-Class Sponsorship Programs also have options for those who would like to bring their spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner to Canada. When it comes to these programs, the Spouse or Common-Law Partner Sponsorship, there are two basic kinds of spousal application – the Inland Spousal Sponsorship or Out-land Spousal Sponsorship. If your spouse is in Canada at the time of their application (for example, visiting on a TRV – Temporary Resident Visa), then the Inland application is the best option.

When it comes to those that are outside of Canada, and this includes a spouse or a common-law relationship, you will have to make an outland application. The main difference between the two programs is in the scope of information you will have to provide – as getting the TRV already means screening you before the visa is issued to you. To become a sponsor to your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner, you will need to:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a Canadian citizen OR permanent resident OR an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
  • Be living in Canada, or be planning to become one when the person you are sponsoring becomes a permanent resident
  • Be able to prove that you have not received any form of social assistance
  • Be able to provide for the necessities of the person you are sponsoring. These include food, shelter, basic access to utilities, eye care, dental care, healthcare, and all other needs they may have that would be culturally appropriate for a modest, basic life in Canada
  • Be able to provide for the same needs for all the people that you plan on sponsoring with the same sponsorship application

The person you are sponsoring has to be admissible to Canada. When it comes to admissibility, it has to be realized on a health-basis and criminal basis. Here are the documents needed to apply for sponsorship if you are a sponsor:

  • IMM 1344 – Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking
  • IMM 5532 – Sponsorship Evaluation and Relationship Questionnaire
  • IMM 1283 – Financial Evaluation
  • IMM 5532 – Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation
  • IMM 5476 – Use of Representative – if applicable
  • IMM 5475 – Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual – if applicable
  • Documents proving your status in Canada
  • Information on Previous Relationships
  • Employment and Salary Information
  • Proof of Payment of Application Fees

Here are the documents that the sponsored person or the principal applicant and the family members they plan to immigrate with will need to provide:

  • Class of Application Information
  • IMM 0008 – Generic Application Form for Canada
  • Information on the Previous Forms that the sponsored person has traveled to
  • IMM 5406 – Additional Family Information
  • IMM 5669 – Schedule A – Background / Declaration
  • IMM 5532 – Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation
  • IMM 5476 – Use of Representative – if applicable
  • IMM 5475 – Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual – if applicable
  • Identity documents – travel documents, passport, etc.
  • Civil Status Documents
  • Information on Children
  • Police clearance certificates
  • Medical Examination results
  • Photos – 1 per person accompanying the principal applicant, including them
  • Proof of relationship to the sponsor

You should understand that Canadian immigration officers will be considering each of these applications and each document there. When it comes to marriage or a relationship, they want to make sure that this is a real relationship. A public relationship, with a public wedding and an existing history of dating, is a great example of what could be considered a legitimate relationship. A non-genuine relationship between the sponsor and the sponsor is usually shorter than a year, the partners do not know enough details about each other and they are hesitant to answer questions about the other partner.

Canada allows this type of sponsorship in the form of marriage, but it also allows common-law partners and conjugal partners to sponsor each other. Canada recognizes same-sex relationships as well. However, Canada does not recognize marriages or relationships with multiple partners, as monogamous relationships only are recognized. When it comes to whether you have common children, this is not an issue, although a travel authorization letter will be needed for your spouse to bring the children to Canada, and in the case of adopted children, an adoption certificate and travel authorization letter as well. Always pay attention to the documents necessary and bear in mind that they can change at any time.

Persons You Can Sponsor in Canada

Can a Canadian citizen sponsor a family member? Yes, the sponsorship visa can be issued to people related to Canadian citizens. When it comes to these visas, they cannot be issued to just about any relative or friend. There are very fixed definitions of what a relative is and who can be sponsored. These categories include:

  • Spouse
  • Common-law partner
  • Conjugal partner
  • Dependent children
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Some relatives, such as siblings

Spouse or Common-Law Partner

Your spouse or a common-law partner can be sponsored (by you) to come to Canada. They have to be at least 18 years of age, and you both have to be able to prove that your relationship is a real, genuine relationship, not one that was entered into for the sake of getting the papers and a chance to immigrate to Canada.

Dependent Child

You can also use a family sponsorship program to sponsor the arrival of your children. When it comes to children, they have to be dependent children, meaning that they rely on you for financial support or that they are in the educational system. The children also have to be younger than 18 years of age. Alternatively, they can be considered dependent if they are over 18 if they rely on your assistance in their daily lives due to reasons of medical, mental, or cognitive nature.

In some cases, children who are still schooled can also be considered dependent. In this case, it is still advisable to avoid the dependent child sponsorship application and to proceed with the child looking for a way to immigrate to Canada on their own – study permits and work permits are a great chance to immigrate to Canada and so is the IEC Canada (International Experience Canada) program, if you happen to come from one of participating countries.

Parents and Grandparents

With the arrival of your parents and grandparents, there are also ways to bring them in. One of the things to pay attention to is whether they will be able to do work while in Canada. Although this is not a prerequisite, the undertaking period for parents and grandparents is as long as 20 years. This should say that in the following 20 years from their arrival, you will be financially responsible for them, and any social assistance that they may collect to secure their livelihood will be considered and charged to you as debt to the country.

Still, the programs allow you to bring them in. There is even a specialized PGP (Parents and GrandParents) program that you should consider. However, this program has a very long waiting time and a very long processing time – up to two years from the date you submit the requested documents. When it comes to entry into the pool of candidates, the candidates from 2020 are still being processed, and those are the candidates who still have not received their invitation to apply. A very criticized program, it has failed to introduce new application periods in the past 3 years.


Under specific circumstances, it is also possible to sponsor relatives. However, you cannot sponsor all of them, and the conditions that apply for you to sponsor a relative are quite strict. When it comes to sponsoring your siblings, you can sponsor an orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece, or grandchild, only if they are related to you by blood or origin, they have no living parents, they are under 18 years of age, and are single. You cannot sponsor them if their parents are alive but have abandoned them, or do not know where their parents are. You cannot sponsor them if their parents are in jail or are detailed, or if they have a guardian while their parents are away.

When it comes to more distant relatives, such as aunts, nieces, nephews, etc. you can sponsor them under specific conditions. First of all, you cannot sponsor them if you have a living relative you could sponsor instead, such as a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, son, daughter, parent, grandparent, orphaned brother or sister, orphaned grandchild, orphaned nephew or niece. You should also not have any relatives who are Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or a member of the First Nations. To not break families apart, if the relative you would like to sponsor has a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children, you should sponsor them all at once on the same sponsorship application.


How Much Income Do I Need to Sponsor My Parents?

If you would like to sponsor your parents, there is a certain level of income that you should be making to secure that you get to have a successful sponsorship application. When it comes to this, it depends on how many family members you will have in your household once the immigration is done. So, if you live alone and would like to bring one family parent, you will need a certain level of income. However, having a spouse or a common-law partner and bringing one parent also will demand a different level of income. All in all, for one family member, you will need CAD26,620, for two CAD33,140, for three CAD40,743 and four 49,466.

Can I Sponsor My Brother to Canada?

Yes, you can sponsor your brother to Canada, but only if they are orphaned. When it comes to this, if there is even a single living parent, you cannot sponsor them. Instead, you can sponsor the parent(s) and include brothers on the application form. In addition to this, you can provide financial and logistics support to the brothers in question and enable them to come to Canada. Under your guidance, they can then apply for permanent residence and eventually citizenship.

Can a Friend Sponsor Me to Canada?

No, you cannot sponsor a friend to bring you to Canada and you cannot be sponsored by a friend to come to Canada. However, you can make your application and then ask a friend for help: they can offer advice on how not to break Canadian laws and how to behave in such a way that your application runs smoothly and that you get your Permanent Residence – PR.

How Much Does It Cost to Sponsor a Family?

Sponsoring a family can be costly. The application itself costs from CAD1,050, and with this in mind, how much you will have to pay for the processing fees depends on the number of family members that you would like to bring to live with you. Some expenses can be reduced with family members, such as the biometrics fee, where an entire family pays just CAD170 for their biometrics to be taken. However, you will also need to secure enough income to support them all.

Can Sponsored Parents Work in Canada?

Yes, your sponsored parents can work in Canada. The sponsorship programs end in the sponsored person receiving the PR – Permanent Residence status. With this status, they can enjoy the government social benefits, as well as be able to work and enjoy all other benefits that someone who has just immigrated can.

How Can a Canadian Sponsor Their Spouse the Quickest?

There is no quickest way to sponsor someone – the application process takes a while, and it is likely to take up to two years for the processing time alone once you have submitted your complete documents. Probably the quickest way to immigrate to Canada is for your spouse to make a separate application through Express Entry – this way, their application can be processed within six months from the date they have submitted full documents, and they will receive additional CRS points for having a relative in Canada (you).

Final Thoughts

Knowing all too well what an emotional burden having a family abroad can be, the Canadian immigration visa office has managed to come up with several plans that enable you to sponsor your family for arrival to Canada. The programs enable you to help your spouse, relatives, orphaned siblings, and even more distant relatives immigrate to Canada and join you.