Can I sponsor a family member to come to Canada?

Question: 
Can I sponsor a family member to come to Canada?
Answer: 

You may be able to sponsor your family members who are outside Canada to come and live here as permanent residents if:

  • you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and
  • you are 18 years or older.

You will have to pay the required fees. And there are “income guidelines” which say how much money a sponsor must earn. But, in most cases, the guidelines do not apply if you are sponsoring a spouse, partner, or child.

You must also meet other conditions and give all the information that the sponsorship application asks for. Some settlement agencies and legal clinics may be able to help you with this.

Who can I sponsor?

You can sponsor your spouse. This is the person you are legally married to. Your spouse can be the same sex as you or the opposite sex.

In many cases, you can sponsor your partner. This is a person you have a "marriage-like relationship" with. By this we mean two people who are like a married couple. Your partner can be the same sex as you or the opposite sex. There are many different ways to show that a relationship is marriage-like. Get legal advice.

You may be able to sponsor your parents and grandparents. They can also apply for a Super Visa to come to Canada as visitors. The Super Visa is good for 10 years. It lets parents and grandparents stay for up to 2 years each visit.

You can sponsor your children who are under 19 years old if they are not married or living with a partner.

Get legal advice if your children do not meet these conditions, or if you want to sponsor someone else or someone who is already in Canada. Also get legal advice if you do not earn as much money as the income guidelines say you should.

If you have a spouse, partner, or child at the time you become a permanent resident, you must tell immigration authorities. If you do not, you will not be able to sponsor them later. You could also have problems with your own status in Canada. Get legal advice.

What happens after the people I sponsor arrive in Canada?

For some years after they arrive, you must support them by making sure they have things such as housing, clothes, and food, or the money to pay for these things.

As a sponsor, you must support your parents or grandparents for 20 years. For a spouse or partner it is 3 years and for children it can be 10 years or less. Under Canadian family law, after a sponsorship ends, you may still be responsible for financial support.

What if I do not support the people I sponsored?

They might apply for money from Ontario Works or for Ontario disability benefits. If they get this money during the years you are supposed to support them as a sponsor, the government can take the money back from you. You will not be able to sponsor anyone else in the future until you pay back all the money.

What if the application is refused?

The decision to refuse the application will be sent to you in writing. Get legal advice right away. You may be able to appeal to the Immigration and Refugee Board. You have 30 days from the date you get the written decision to file your appeal.

There may also be other ways for your family to immigrate. On these pages, we give only general information. You should get legal advice about your own situation.

How to get help

211 Ontariois an information and referral hotline that gives help in many languages. They take calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can tell you:

  • where to get legal help, and
  • how to contact a settlement agency or community agency for other kinds of help.

You could also try contacting a local library or a community legal clinic.

To contact 211 Ontario:

Phone 211
TTY 1-888-340-1001
Web site www.211ontario.ca

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