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Family Class Immigration

Canadian citizens and permanent residents living in Canada, 18 years of age or older, may sponsor close relatives or family members who want to become permanent residents of Canada. Sponsors must promise to support the relative or family member and their accompanying family members for a period of three to 10 years to help them settle in Canada.

Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, the province of Quebec has a role in determining sponsorship eligibility for Quebec residents. However, the Quebec portion of the process is begun only after Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has finished its assessment of your ability to meet Canada's sponsorship requirements.

If you live in Quebec and want more information about the province’s immigration requirements, please contact Quebec Immigration for information.

You can sponsor relatives or family members from abroad if they are:
  • your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner 16 years of age or older
  • your parents or grandparents
  • your dependent children, including adopted children
  • children under 18 years of age whom you intend to adopt
  • your brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces or grandchildren who are orphans; under the age of 18 and not married or in a common-law relationship
  • a relative of any age if you do not have an aunt, uncle or family member from the list above who you could sponsor or who is already a Canadian citizen, Indian or permanent resident

A son or daughter is dependent when

  • the child is under the age of 22 and does not have a spouse or common-law partner
  • is a full-time student and is substantially dependent on a parent for financial support since before the age of 22, or since becoming a spouse or common-law partner (if this happened before age 22)
  • is financially dependent on a parent since before the age of 22 because of a disability.
Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class

You may also sponsor a spouse or common-law partner from within Canada if they have been living with you in Canada. Sponsorship of a spouse or common-law partner includes their dependent children whether inside or outside of Canada.

Find out about the change announced on February 18, 2005, that affects the sponsorship of spouses and common-law partners from within Canada.

Interim Policy on Civil Marriages between Same-Sex Persons

Same-sex couples' access to civil marriage was extended throughout Canada on July 20, 2005, under the Civil Marriage Act. While CIC examines the impact of the Act on its immigration programs, its interim policy, which recognizes the validity of civil marriages between a foreign national and his or her Canadian citizen or permanent resident same-sex partner, will continue. At this time, the policy applies only to the family class (which includes the spouse or common-law partner in-Canada class).

Sponsoring a Relative or Family Member

If you want to sponsor any of the above-listed relatives or family members, you may have to meet certain income requirements. If you have previously sponsored relatives or family members who have received social assistance, you may not be allowed to sponsor another person. Sponsorship is a considerable commitment so you should take this obligation seriously.

If you live in any province in Canada except Quebec and wish to sponsor a relative or family member, you must sign an undertaking with the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. You must also sign a sponsorship agreement with your relative or family member that outlines your mutual commitments. For Quebec residents, an undertaking will be signed with the province of Quebec.

Adopting a Child from Another Country

To adopt a child from another country, you must go through both the adoption process and the sponsorship and immigration process. Learn more about international adoptions.

Applying as a Sponsored Immigrant

If you wish to become a permanent resident of Canada, your relative or family member in Canada must first apply to sponsor you. You must be one of the relatives or family members listed above to be eligible for sponsorship. Both you and your sponsor need to sign a sponsorship agreement. The agreement outlines your mutual obligations. Your sponsor must promise to support you and your family members financially for three to 10 years so that you will not need to apply for social assistance. You must promise to make every effort to become self-supporting (unless you are elderly). There is a lot of help out there for people looking for work. Find out more about Working in Canada.

Applications for Sponsorship and Immigration to Canada from Abroad

Before your relative or family member can immigrate to Canada, you must sponsor that person. Your relative or family member must then apply for immigration. Learn more and print the information guides and applications you need for sponsorship and immigration.

Applications for Sponsorship and Immigration from Within Canada

In some cases, you may sponsor a spouse or common-law partner who is already living with you in Canada. Learn more and print the information guides and applications you need for sponsorship and immigration.