Family Sponsorship

A sponsor must be an adult Canadian permanent resident or citizen over the age of 18. A sponsor must reside in Canada, unless they are a citizen currently living abroad and planning to reside in Canada once the sponsored individual arrives.

An individual may not sponsor if they:

  • Are in prison
  • Are subject to a removal order
  • Are in the process of bankruptcy
  • Receive social assistance from the government (except for disability)
  • Have been convicted of (or attempted/threatened to commit) an offence of a violent or sexual nature, or resulting in bodily harm of a family member
  • Have failed to pay child support payments
  • Have failed to pay back immigration loans, or have made late or missed payments
  • Have sponsored a family member in the past and failed to meet the terms
  • Have sponsored a previous spouse or partner who has not been a permanent resident for more than 3 years
  • Were themselves sponsored and became a permanent resident less than 5 years ago

Other Requirements


The Canadian government requires payment of sponsorship and processing fees for Family Class applications. Additionally, there is a “Right of Permanent Residence Fee” for every sponsored relative who is not a dependent child – this is the only fee that will be refunded if the application is withdrawn or refused.  


Family Member Fees ($CAN) Total Fees/Person ($CAN)
Spouse, partner, or relative age 22 or older – Sponsorship fee ($75)

– Processing fee ($475)

– Right of permanent residence fee ($500) 

Relative under age 22 and not your dependent child – Sponsorship fee ($75)

– Processing fee ($75)

– Right of permanent residence fee ($500)

Dependent child, adopted child or orphaned relative – Sponsorship fee ($75)

– Processing fee ($75)


Sponsorship Agreement

Notably, the sponsor must agree to financially support their family member in the case that their relative cannot provide for their own needs. This is to ensure that the new permanent resident will not require government assistance. The length of this financial obligation depends on the individual being sponsored:

  • Spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner: 3 years
  • Dependent child: 10 years OR when the child reaches age 22 (whichever comes first); 3 years for a dependent child over age 22.
  • Parent or grandparent: 20 years

Note that this financial obligation does not disappear if the sponsored person becomes a citizen, divorces or separates from the sponsor, or moves away from Canada.

Medical exam

The sponsored individual is required to submit the results of a medical exam at the time of application, including biometrics for applicants from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Police Certificates

Applicants and each family member over age 18 must submit police certificates from the country where they have lived most of their life, in addition to any country where they resided for more than 6 months.

Quebec Requirements

The province of Quebec requires additional criteria for family sponsorship, after federal requirements are met. After applying for sponsorship, potential sponsors who live in Quebec will receive an email or letter with instructions to submit a special agreement to the Quebec government.

Other Options

If an individual does not meet the requirements listed above and as a result does not qualify for Family Class Sponsorship, they may still be eligible to immigrate through the Express Entry system if they have experience or skill in a specific trade or occupation.   

A number of provinces also offer family sponsorship through Provincial Nominee Programs; some have fewer requirements and allow sponsorship for more distant relatives.

To sponsor an adopted child, applications cannot be processed directly through the Family Class Sponsorship program. Adoptions are the responsibility of Canadian provinces and territories, so interested sponsors should inquire on their province or territory’s website before applying to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

For the majority of cases the sponsor must reside in Canada to make a sponsorship application. However, a Canadian citizen is able to sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, or dependent child while living abroad if the sponsor will live in Canada when the sponsored individual becomes a Canadian Permanent Resident.