Permanent Residence – Family

Both permanent residents and citizens of Canada can sponsor certain family members to come to Canada as new permanent residents. Sponsors must be at least 18 years of age. They must be living in Canada, or, in the case of citizens, they must intend to return to Canada once the relative arrives. You can sponsor the following relatives:

  • Your husband, wife, or common-law partner, including a partner of the same sex. Click here for more information on spousal sponsorship.
  • Your children if (a) the child is unmarried and less than 22 years old or (b) wholly dependent on you due to a physical or mental disability.
  • A child under 18 whom you intend to adopt under certain circumstances.
  • Your parent or grandparent.

Sponsorship for parents and grandparents was temporarily halted due to the large backlog of cases that had been developed.  There is now a quota of 10,000 applications per year, chosen by a random lottery in January.  Canada has made long-term “super-visas” available to parents and grandparents to come to Canada as visitors.

The relative you sponsor must take a physical examination. Sponsorship may be refused if the relative has a serious health problem that will cause excessive demands on Canada’s health system. However, Canada exempts spouses, common-law partners, and children from this bar. Sponsorship may also be refused as a result of almost any criminal conviction. If the conviction is more than 5 years old, it is possible to apply for rehabilitation.  In addition, the government will sometimes issue a “Temporary Resident Permit” to allow an inadmissible person to come to Canada.

In every case, the sponsor must sign an agreement to provide financial support, if needed, to the relative. If the relative applies for welfare, the sponsor must repay the government. If you are sponsoring a relative other than a spouse or child, you must prove your income meets a certain income cutoff level.

In most cases, Canada will issue an immigrant visa to the family member once the case is approved. The family member will then travel to Canada and “land” in Canada as a permanent resident. In the case of spouses or common law partners already living in Canada in legal status, it is possible to apply under the “spouse in Canada” class. The advantage of this category is that the spouse can also apply for a work permit while waiting for the PR to be approved.

Canada is one of the most accepting country in the world of same-sex and unmarried opposite-sex partners. See our article on this topic for more information.  Also see our article on U.S.-Canada marriages.