Family Class Sponsorships

Canada welcomes more than 100,000 immigrants through family sponsorship each year. IRCC welcomes about 80 percent of these immigrants under the Spouses, Partners, and Children Program, and the remaining 20 percent under the Parents and Grandparents Program.

Family reunification is one of the pillars of Canada’s immigration system. Canada has sought to welcome immigrants to strengthen its economy, bring families together, and on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Canada is pursuing the highest levels of immigration in its history to support its post-COVID economic recovery. As such, Canada aims to welcome over 400,000 new immigrants per year, of which, over 100,000 immigrants per year fall under the family class. 

There are two main aspects to sponsorship:

1) It allows your family member to immigrate to Canada and get permanent residence (PR).

2) It requires you, as an individual, to make a commitment to provide for basic needs and to support that person financially.

Who Can Be A Sponsor? 

To sponsor a family member, you are required to meet several requirements such as being:

  • a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada
  • 18 years of age or older
  • able to support the sponsored person for several years

Who Can You Sponsor?

  • Spouses and common-law partners
  • Dependent children
  • Parents and grandparents

There are exceptions to this rule, however, and it may be possible to sponsor a non-immediate family member (for example, a sister, niece, or uncle) if: 

  • you do not have any other immediate family members you could sponsor, or
  • you have legally adopted them and they meet the definition of a dependent child.


As a sponsor, you are required to sign a Sponsorship Agreement with your sponsored family member. This is a commitment by you to provide financial support for the basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, and health needs not covered by public health services) of the person you are sponsoring.

Sponsorship Undertaking

You will be required to sign an “undertaking” making you legally responsible for the family member you are sponsoring. If that family member should need government social assistance, you will have to repay this money.

The undertaking will stay in effect for a period of time based on the family member you are sponsoring and will not be cancelled even if circumstances change (i.e. if the person you are sponsoring becomes a Canadian citizen if you divorce or separate if you have financial problems).

Types of Spousal or Common-Law Applications:

  1. Inland:
    • The application can be made from within Canada because the person you wish to sponsor is currently in Canada. This type of sponsorship allows applicants to continue to live in Canada while their application for permanent residence is being processed.

    If the application is made from within Canada, the person you are sponsoring may apply for an open work permit that would allow them to work for any employer in Canada while the sponsorship application is being processed.

    It is possible for spouses or partners to come to Canada by first applying for a Temporary Resident Visa. 

  2. Outland:
    • The application is made from abroad through an Embassy or Consulate.

    In this case, the person you are sponsoring and who resides abroad will normally wait for permanent residence outside of the country but may visit you in Canada.

How To Sponsor Your Dependent Children?

You can sponsor your dependent children, whether natural or adopted, to live with you as permanent residents in Canada.

Children must meet the following definition of a dependent child to be eligible for sponsorship:

  • A child is considered a dependent if he or she is not married or in a common-law relationship and is under 22 years of age.
  • If a child is over 22 years of age, they may be considered dependent if they have a physical or mental condition that prevents them from being able to support themselves.


To be eligible under this program, you:

  • and your child abroad must be approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to receive a visa,
  • must prove your relationship with the child you are sponsoring, either by a birth or adoption certificate.