Canada has always opened its arms to people all over the world. But beyond being welcoming, the country also makes it relatively easy for families to migrate to Canada through the family sponsorship program. The Canadian family sponsorship program allows citizens or permanent residents of Canada from 18 years of age to sponsor specific family members to become Canadian permanent residents.

As permanent residents of Canada, the sponsored persons can live, study and work in Canada. However, not all Canadian citizens or permanent residents are eligible to sponsor their loved ones. This blog explains everything you need to know about the family sponsorship program to help you make informed decisions.

What is the Family Sponsorship Program?

Family sponsorship program

As a country that values family reunification, the family sponsorship programs allow foreign nationals to obtain permanent residence in Canada. Canadian citizens or permanent residents can easily bring their loved ones to live with them through this program.

Although still possible using any other means, the family sponsorship program significantly reduces the processing time, allowing families to reunite as soon as possible.

Who is Eligible for Family Sponsorship?

Canadian citizens can sponsor their family members, including:

#1. Spouses, Common-Law Partners, or Conjugal Partners

Spouses, common law, or conjugal partners can move to Canada to be with their loved ones through family sponsorship. The program allows the sponsored person to work while they finalize their sponsorship application. At the time of sponsorship processing, the individual must be in Canada, under the spouse or partner, with valid temporary status.

The sponsor signs a contract with Canada’s immigration authorities to refund any social assistance their spouse or partner received. This agreement remains valid until the contract period is over, irrespective of changes in marital status or financial situation.

#2. Children and Other Dependents

Canadian citizens and foreign nationals may include their children (both biological and adopted) as accompanying dependents. A subsection of the family sponsorship immigration program known as “The child sponsorship” provides for this. However, to be successful, the sponsor must confirm their relationship with the sponsored person.

The accompanying dependent must also be below the age of twenty-two (22). Any child above this age is considered an adult and capable of catering for themselves unless they have a physical or mental condition. In addition, the dependent must be unmarried and without a child.

 #3. Siblings, Nephews or Nieces, orphaned grandchildren

If you have siblings, nephews, nieces, or grandchildren, you can sponsor them to migrate to Canada. The family sponsorship program specifies that these categories of family members must be under the age of 18 and related to you by blood or adoption to qualify. They must also be unmarried or not in a common-law relationship.

#4. Parents and Grandparents

The family sponsorship program covers the parents and grandparents of Canadian permanent residents and citizens through the parent and grandparents sponsorship. However, the Canadian government expects the sponsor to meet the Minimum Necessary Income depending on the family size to prove that they can cater to their dependents.

Family sponsorship also allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor other parents not related by blood to them, but only under certain conditions. Residents can also sponsor the parents of their spouse, partner, or dependent children.

What are the Advantages of the Family Sponsorship Program?

The Canadian family sponsorship program is beneficial to applicants in many different ways. Sponsored individuals with a permanent resident Visa can live, work or study in Canada. Parents living in Canada on a dependent visa can apply for Canadian citizenship after three years.

The sponsored individual is also entitled to certain government benefits, including:

Eligibility Requirements for the Canadian Family Sponsorship Program

Although the Canadian family sponsorship program provides an opportunity for families to reunite, the sponsor must meet specific eligibility criteria. The sponsor must:

Who Isn’t Eligible to Sponsor?

Sometimes, a Canadian citizen or resident may not qualify to sponsor their loved ones. This can happen if the sponsor is:

Sponsorship Agreement

A sponsorship agreement is a signed agreement between a sponsor and the government indicating that they will financially support the family member if the latter cannot provide for themselves. The goal is to prevent the sponsored individual from depending on the government.

This financial obligation comes with different timeframes, depending on the sponsored person. In the case of a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner and dependent children, a sponsor is required to undertake this financial responsibility for three years. For parents or grandparents, the agreement lasts for as long as 20 years.

How to Apply for Family Sponsorship

Here are steps to apply for the Canadian family sponsorship program:

How Long Does Sponsorship Take?

Canadian family sponsorship applications take about 12 months to process from start to finish. However, sometimes, the process can take longer. For example, the immigration authorities may ask for proof of relationship with the sponsored person. But, if you have all documents clean and clear, you can expect feedback from the immigration officer, stating whether your application was successful or not (with reasons).


Family sponsorship helps bring many families together in Canada. By allowing the dependents to work and study, it ensures that the sponsored individuals will not be a nuisance to the state. Before you take on the program, ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria before you commence the process.