Being a sponsor is one of the most satisfying ways to make a difference in a child’s life. There are so many children in our world with basic needs that are not being met and who have never known love. Sponsoring a child provides them with hope for the future, helps them overcome disadvantages, and encourages them to reach their full potential.

Sponsorship can be done under the family class, as an independent immigrant, or through adoption. To become a sponsor, you must be Canadian, at least 18 years old, have a Canadian citizen or permanent residence card and live in Canada. If your name appears on the child’s birth certificate or if you are the adoptive parent, you can legally apply to be the sponsor.

The process of sponsoring a child in Canada is not complicated, but you should be aware of the prerequisites beforehand. This informative guide explains what you’ll need, who qualifies, and how to get started. 

Let’s take a closer look at what you need to sponsor a child in Canada.

Requirements to Sponsor a Child in Canada

Canada welcomes immigrants from all over the world, including children. The Canadian government has strict laws regarding who can enter Canada and under what circumstances. The first step to sponsoring a child in Canada, or anyone else, is making sure you meet the requirements of being a sponsor. 

Requirements to Sponsor a Child in Canada

  • The applicant must be 18 or older and have been a permanent resident of Canada for at least three years. 
  • The sponsor must also be living in Canada and meet the income requirements set by the federal government.
  • The child must also not have a spouse or common-law partner to be considered a dependent child.
  • You must be legally married to, or in a common-law relationship with, the child’s biological parent (if applicable).
  • If you apply as a single parent, you must have custody of your child.
  • The child must be related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption — there is no minimum age requirement for children adopted from abroad. 
  • You must have enough money to support children financially until they become an adult (18 years old). The amount varies depending on the child’s age and how much money they need per month.

However, several circumstances might prevent a parent from being able to act as a sponsor for their child.

  • You did not provide enough information about your finances and other aspects of your life, such as employment status, income sources, housing status, etc.
  • The parent is in default on an immigration loan or social assistance payment.
  • The parent has been convicted of a crime or involved in criminal activity.
  • In the event that the parent does not plan on permanently settling in Canada with the sponsored child.
  • The sponsor had had a previous application refused or withdrawn from the sponsorship process before it was completed.
  • If the parent has been granted permanent residency in Canada but currently lives outside the country.

Once you have ensured that you have all the necessary information and meet the basic requirements, make a frequent move to the next step without delay. 

Eligibility Criteria To Be Sponsored in Canada

The Canadian government has several requirements that must be met before a parent or grandparent can sponsor the child. 

  • The main requirement is that the family relationship must first be confirmed. This is done by providing documents such as birth certificates and marriage certificates.
  •  It is also necessary to provide evidence that the child has no legal ties in their current country of residence. This may include divorce papers, adoption papers, or other documents showing that the child has been living with another family member without parental supervision since they were a minor.
  • The child must be eligible for permanent residence in Canada based on health, criminality, and security grounds (i.e., no criminal convictions).
  • Children must be under 22 when they apply for permanent residence in Canada.
  • The child should not have a spousal or parental relationship with another family member.

Once these requirements have been met, the sponsor must complete an application form and submit it along with supporting documentation to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). CIC will then assess whether the application meets all the criteria for sponsorship and make its decision based on this information.

Application Process on How to Sponsor a Child in Canada

The application process to sponsor a child is complicated and varies depending on the child’s country of origin and your relationship with the child. The most common way to sponsor a child is through the family class visa. The application process to sponsor a child is relatively straightforward. There are four basic steps:

  • Obtain an Application Bundle

The first step in the process is to get an application package. You can download the application package from Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website or get it from a Canadian visa office or Canadian mission. The package and its contents will vary depending on whether you apply as an individual or as part of a group. 

You’ll need to provide some basic information about yourself and your spouse or partner, including:

  • Your marital status and how long you’ve been married or living together. 
  • You will also need to provide information on any children in your family and their age, sex, country of birth, and relationship to you (for example, son or daughter).
  • You’ll have to sign a form acknowledging that you understand the responsibilities of being a sponsor and the conditions set out in the Immigration and Refugee child protection Act that apply to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents who sponsor a relative from another country. This form also states that you will not receive financial support from the federal government or your relative during their stay in Canada.

Once you have your application package, you need to complete it carefully. The application package will contain instructions on how to fill out the forms and what documents are required. Make sure that all your answers are correct, legible, and complete.

Make Application Payment

To apply for a sponsorship, you must pay an application payment, including:

  • Processing fee
  • Biometric fee
  • Third-party fees (if applicable)

Processing Fee

For the first payment, you will need to pay the processing fee. This fee is non-refundable, so make sure your application is complete before submitting it. The processing fee comprises an initial fee and an ongoing fee.

The initial fee covers the costs associated with processing your application for six months; however, if your application does not meet eligibility requirements, this amount will not be returned to you. The ongoing fee covers the cost of processing for an additional six months after the initial six-month period has ended.

Biometrics Fee

You will also need to pay for the biometrics (fingerprints and photographs) of everyone included in your application before CIC can approve it. You should allow at least two weeks before your visa appointment date so that enough time is available for processing biometrics results before submitting your application to CIC.

Third-party Fees

Depending on your situation, you will also need to pay third-party fees (if applicable), such as medical exam fees and police certificate fees.

 All applicants must provide a police certificate issued within the last six months from their country of residence at the time of application that confirms they have no criminal record or charges pending against them.

When applying for permanent residence in Canada, a police certificate may be obtained from your local police department in your home country or Interpol if you live outside your home country.

Medical examinations are mandatory for all applicants and dependents under 19 years old. An immigration medical exam must be done by a designated doctor and completed within 12 months before submitting your application.

  • Submit Application

Child sponsorships begin when you submit an application to the Canadian government. You’ll need to provide a great deal of information about yourself, your spouse or common-law partner, and any dependent children included in your application. If sponsoring a child, you should include their birth certificate and passport. 

The application is submitted online through Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). If you don’t have Internet access, there are other ways to apply for courier service.

  • Provide Additional Details

If IRCC finds any missing details in your application, you will be asked to provide them. You may be asked to provide additional information if you are sponsoring a child like:

You will need to provide specific details about yourself and your family, such as:

  • contact information (phone numbers, email address);
  • personal information (name, date of birth, gender);
  • Documents that prove your identity and citizenship status;
  • information about your spouse, if applicable; and
  • Information about each child you want to sponsor (name, date of birth, gender).

Check Out How Child Sponsorship Works:

Inland vs. Outland Child Sponsorship

The Government of Canada has created a child sponsorship program that allows Canadians to sponsor these children and provide them with a safe home. You can sponsor a child in Canada depending on your relationship with the child, financial situation, and personal preferences. 

Whether you choose inland or outland sponsorship depends on where the child lives. If they live in Canada, you must sponsor them inland. You can choose between inland and outland sponsorship if they live outside Canada.

Inland sponsorship is when a sponsor lives in Canada, and the sponsored children live in their home country. The sponsor must continue to provide care for the child until they are 18 years old or until they finish school. This includes providing food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. The sponsor must also ensure that the child attends school regularly, has access to education, and has a safe place to live. 

Inland sponsorship includes private and government-assisted refugees living in refugee camps outside Canada for at least 12 months before they arrive in Canada. The application process for this type of sponsorship is very similar to regular private sponsorship, except that there is no cap on numbers, and there is no need for a specific connection between the proposed sponsor and the child or child’s family member being sponsored (in most cases).

Outland sponsorship is when the sponsor lives outside of Canada (outside of Ontario), and the sponsored child lives outside of their home country (also outside of Ontario). This type of sponsorship has different requirements than an Inland sponsorship. To sponsor an outland child, you must prove that your relationship with them is genuine.

Outland sponsorship refers to any other type of refugee or immigrant who does not qualify for inland sponsorship but still wants to come. Outland sponsorship is not a recognized form of international refugee protection and does not meet the requirements of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.

Other Types of Child Immigration

There are many different types of immigration to Canada for a child. The main reason people immigrate to Canada is to have a better life than the one they have in their home country.

The most common reason children come to Canada is to be reunited with their parents, who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents. This is called family reunification immigration.

Let’s read about more types of child immigration to Canada!

Family Sponsorship

In Canada, there are several different ways of obtaining permanent resident status. The most common way is through sponsorship by a relative or her family member who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.

The first type of child immigration in Canada is family sponsorship. This is the most common way to bring your child to Canada, and it’s a great option if you want your child to grow up near their parents.

The main advantage of this option is that you don’t need to show any financial ability to support your child. Instead, you can rely on the income of your spouse or partner or another family member already in Canada. In other words, if you have family members who are already here legally, they may be able to sponsor your child.

But there are some significant limitations and conditions that apply to family sponsorship:

  • You must be related (by blood or adoption) to your sponsor. And although there are some exceptions for foster children and stepchildren, most children will not qualify for these child sponsorship programs unless their sponsor legally adopts them.
  • Your child must be under 18 years old (or 19 if still in high school). If they turn 18 before the application process is complete, they may no longer qualify for permanent residence as a dependent child under IRPA legislation.
  • Your spouse or partner must meet specific criteria, such as minimum income and language requirements (if applicable).

Express Entry

If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and want to sponsor your child, there are several ways to do so.

The express entry program is the primary way for child sponsors. If you have enough points and pass the eligibility criteria, you may be able to apply for permanent residence based on your relationship with your child. Express Entry comprises two main pathways, one for skilled workers and the other for applicants with family ties in Canada. The latter can include parents, grandparents, and children 19 or younger.

 You will need to show that you meet the following criteria:

  • You have been living in Canada for at least two years as a temporary resident, or three years if you apply under an international agreement with another country (such as the North American Free Trade Agreement).
  •  If you have been out of Canada for more than two years or three years, if you are applying under an international agreement with another country (such as the North American Free Trade Agreement), then you should not apply under this program until you have returned to Canada.
  • You must pass specific tests, including criminal background checks and health assessments, before being approved for permanent residence in Canada through this program.

A child becomes eligible to be sponsored by a parent:

If they are under 19 years old and have no dependent children.

  • To qualify as an eligible child, they must not have been married nor engaged before reaching 19 years old (except if they entered into marriage or engagement before turning 18). 
  • They must not have been involved in any activity that could be considered illegal in Canada (including criminal offenses).


Does a 2-year-old Need a Visa for Canada?

Yes. All visitors to Canada, including children and infants, require a visa to enter the country.

It also depends on whether you have your child with you or not. If your child travels with you, they will need a Canadian visa. If your child is not travelling with you, they do not need a Canadian visa.

The answer also varies depending on the age of the child. A 2-year-old does not require a visa to enter Canada if they travel with their parents (i.e., when the parents are present). However, if your 2-year-old is travelling alone (without their parents), they would need a visa to enter Canada.

Can Friends Sponsor in Canada?

Friends can sponsor each other in Canada. However, they must meet specific criteria to be eligible to sponsor, and the applicant must meet all of the program’s requirements.

You must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. If you are not a Canadian citizen but have permanent residency status, you may sponsor your friend’s application for permanent residence in Canada.

First, you will need to complete an application form and submit it to the visa office along with documents like passport photos and proof of relationship (such as a birth certificate). After that, the visa officer will review your application and decide whether to permit you to sponsor your friend.

If your application is successful, then your friend will become a permanent resident of Canada and can apply for Canadian citizenship after three years of living in Canada as a permanent resident.

Final Thoughts

When you sponsor a child in Canada, you’re giving that child a chance at a more stable life. As an adult, they are more likely to be able to support their family, contribute to society, and live with hope for the future.

Sponsoring a child in Canada can be a rewarding experience, and it’s not as difficult as it may seem at first. To begin the process, you’ll need to fill out an application and provide relevant documentation. Once your application has been accepted and you’ve met all the requirements, you’ll be able to start sponsoring your child!

The sponsorship process is meant to be easy for everyone involved—the child and the sponsor alike—and we hope this guide has given you some helpful insight into what it takes to become a sponsor. Good luck!