Applications under family classes: Assessing the sponsor
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
On this page
- Legislative requirements for the sponsor
- Sponsors residing abroad
- Multiple applications
- Sponsorship bars
- Financial requirements
- Sponsorship default
- Sponsorship withdrawal
- Assessing a sponsor’s eligibility
- Sponsorship by Canadian citizens living abroad
- Sponsorship ineligibility identified at the permanent resident processing stage
Legislative requirements for the sponsor
Sponsorship provisions in the Act and Regulations
|Sponsor does not meet requirements||A11(2)|
|Selection of members of family class||A12(1)|
|Right to sponsor a family member||A13(1)|
|Right to appeal family class refusal||A63(1)|
|Definition of family member||R1(3)|
|Definition of minimum necessary income||R2|
|Definition of social assistance||R2|
|Bad faith (relationship of convenience, dissolutions of convenience)||R4 and R4.1|
|Requirements of applications||R10|
|Invalid sponsorship application||R10(6)|
|Where a sponsorship application must be submitted||R11(5)|
|Return of an application||R12|
|Definition of a member of the family class||R117(1)|
|Withdrawal of sponsorship application||R119|
|Approved sponsorship application||R120|
|Members of the Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada (SCLPC)||R124|
|Exclusions from the SCLPC class||R125(1)|
|Withdrawal of SCLPC sponsorship||R126|
|Approved SCLPC sponsorship application||R127|
|Who may sponsor||R130(1)|
|Canadian citizen residing abroad who can sponsor||R130(2)|
|Undertaking||R131 and R132|
|Duration of undertaking||R132(1)|
|Duration of undertaking – Quebec sponsors||R132(2) and (3)|
|Who can co-sign an undertaking||R132(5)|
|Sponsorship criteria and bars||R133|
|Income calculation rules||R134|
|Default of a sponsorship undertaking||R135|
|Suspension of a sponsorship application||R136|
|Undertaking, Province of Quebec||R137|
|Collection and disclosure of a sponsor’s/co-signer’s personal information||R137.1|
Relatives who are not eligible to be sponsored under the family class
|A spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner under 18 years of age||R 5
|A spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, if the sponsor previously submitted an undertaking for a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, and at least three years have not passed since that person became a permanent resident.||R 117(9)(b)
|A spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, if the sponsor is already married or in a common-law relationship (bigamous or polygamous relationship).||R 117(9)(c)
|A separated or former spouse or common-law partner or other non- accompanying family members who were not examined at the time of the sponsor’s application for permanent residence.
For more information on excluded relationships, see Family class: Excluded relationships.
A sponsor must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or Status Indian who
- is at least 18 years of age
- resides in Canada
Note: A Status Indian is a person who is registered or entitled to be registered as an Indian under Canada’s Indian Act. Status Indians were unintentionally omitted from the list of persons who may sponsor a foreign national in A13 (who may sponsor). They are administratively included as persons who can sponsor under the family class.
All sponsors must:
- meet the legislative requirements
- submit complete sponsorship applications containing all necessary forms and supporting documents listed in the Document Checklist for the applicable family class program or category [R10]
- sign an IMM 1344 Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking
- not be subject to a sponsorship bar [R133(1)]
Sponsors must indicate in Q1 on the IMM 1344 whether they wish to proceed with the sponsorship even if they do not meet the requirements to sponsor. If not, a sponsor may withdraw the sponsorship application and receive a refund of all but the sponsorship processing fee. If, however, the sponsor indicates that they wish to proceed, the applications will be sent to the processing office for assessment and final decision.
Sponsors residing abroad
Canadian citizen sponsors living outside Canada may sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner or dependent child (provided that child does not have dependent children of their own). In such cases, an officer must be satisfied that the sponsor will return to reside in Canada once the family members they sponsor become permanent residents of Canada [R130(2)].
A permanent resident residing abroad is not eligible to submit a family class sponsorship.
A sponsor who has filed a sponsorship application on behalf of a foreign national cannot submit another sponsorship application on behalf of the same person if a final decision has not been made on the application for permanent residence submitted with the first sponsorship [R10(5)]. This also applies where a final decision on an appeal has not been made by the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) on an application for permanent residence that had been refused.
A sponsor is allowed to submit more than one sponsorship application at the same time for different family class relatives, provided that, where applicable, minimum necessary income (MNI) requirements are met for the total number of persons involved. See Financial requirements for more information.
The sponsor and co-signer, if applicable, are required to answer questions in the Sponsor Eligibility Assessment and Co-signer Eligibility Assessment sections of the IMM 1344 designed to assist an officer in determining whether they are subject to a sponsorship bar which would render them ineligible [R133(1)].
If information provided by the sponsor or co-signer on the IMM 1344 – or information that comes to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) attention during processing – suggests that they may be subject to a sponsorship bar, an officer needs to make an informed assessment of the circumstances.
The officer is advised to:
- verify information received with reliable sources
- where necessary, request that the sponsor provide additional information
Where an interview is deemed necessary, the Case Processing Centre (CPC) liaises with an appropriate local IRCC office to arrange one.
Sponsors are not eligible to sponsor if they are subject to any of the bars shown below. Similarly, co-signers who are subject to any of these bars are not eligible to co-sign and their income cannot be used in assessing whether the sponsor meets the MNI requirement. Quebec sponsors are exempt from certain bars.
- Assessing minimum necessary income
- Exception to minimum necessary income requirement
- Financial requirements for sponsors living in Quebec
- Reassessment of financial circumstances
- Income requirements for sponsoring parents and grandparents
- Income requirements for sponsoring “other relatives”
- Application of the temporary public policy on minimum income requirements in 2020
- Duration of sponsorship undertakings
- Duration of undertakings – Quebec
Assessing minimum necessary income
By signing an undertaking, all sponsors promise to give financial support for the basic needs of the people being sponsored.
IRCC assesses whether or not the sponsor has a total income that is equal to or greater than the MNI that sponsors and a co-signer (where applicable) must meet to satisfy IRCC that they are able to provide the basic requirements, e.g. food, clothing, and shelter for themselves, the person(s) being sponsored and any other persons for whom they are responsible (R2).
MNI is based on Statistics Canada’s low income cut-off levels (LICO), which establish the income level at which a family may have to spend a greater portion of its income on the basics (food, clothing and shelter) than the average family of similar size.
Where MNI requirements are applicable, sponsors must prove that they have the financial means to support their relatives for the duration of the undertaking specified in R132(1), from the date a signed form IMM 1344 – as a part of a complete application – is received from the sponsor.
The sponsor does all of the following:
- completes the Financial Evaluation (IMM 1283E), listing all income
- may include a spouse’s or common-law partner’s income to meet MNI, where applicable
- provides evidence of financial resources
- provides evidence of any social assistance payments received
If a sponsor is unable to meet financial requirements on their own, they may include information on the financial resources of their spouse or common-law partner provided that person co-signs the sponsorship application, where applicable. A sponsor cannot pool financial resources with other relatives in order to meet MNI. Any income claimed by a sponsor or co-signer should be income they declared on their Canadian tax return.
As a rule, financial resources must originate from Canadian sources. An officer can, however, consider income received from foreign sources if it was declared by the sponsor to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and appears on their Notice of Assessment (NOA). It is important to note that income abroad may not be a reliable indicator of future or stable employment in Canada. IRCC staff cannot easily verify if foreign income can be transferred to Canada and converting foreign income into Canadian dollars can be resource-intensive. In cases of default, collection and litigation, it is easier to recover income from Canadian sources.
Sponsors who commute from Canada to work in the U.S.A. can use their U.S. employment income provided it is declared as income to the CRA and appears on their NOA.
In assessing whether a sponsor – and co-signer, if applicable – meets the financial criteria for sponsorship, family size is determined by counting the total number of persons as follows:
- the sponsor
- the sponsor’s spouse or common-law partner (whether or not they are co-signing the undertaking)
- dependent children (based on the R2 definition) of the sponsor and/or the sponsor’s spouse or common-law partner
- the number of persons being sponsored on the application being assessed, i.e. the principal applicant and any accompanying or non-accompanying dependants
- the number of persons the sponsor has previously sponsored (or acted as a co-signer for) and their family members for whom the duration of the undertaking (R132) remains in effect
- if the sponsor’s spouse or common-law partner is co-signing, the number of persons they have previously sponsored (or acted as a co-signer for) and their accompanying family members for whom the duration of the undertaking (R132) remains in effect
- any person sponsored – or co-signed for – who is still being processed and has not yet become a permanent resident. This information is available in the Global Case Management System (GCMS)
Note: Children who meet the definition of a dependent child must be included in the calculation, even if the sponsor does not have custody or does not provide child support. This ensures MNI is met in the event that custody arrangements change during processing.
Previously sponsored persons cannot be excluded from calculation of the family size unless any of the following apply:
- the sponsor chose to withdraw the application if found to be ineligible to sponsor (as they indicated on the IMM 1344 form)
- the sponsor withdraws the application during processing (that is, prior to the applicant)
- the processing of the application is suspended [R136] (see Suspension of processing) pending a decision whether or not to continue processing
- if a decision is made to continue processing, the sponsor’s financial circumstances must be reassessed for any active applications including these sponsored persons in the calculation of family size
- the office processing the application for permanent residence determines that the sponsor is ineligible based on one of the following:
- agreement with the CPC’s negative sponsorship eligibility decision
- information received that was not available to the CPC when they assessed sponsorship eligibility
- a determination that the sponsored person is inadmissible
The undertaking signed by the sponsor is in effect from the date the sponsored family member becomes a permanent resident. MNI must be met from the date on which the sponsorship application is signed until the day the sponsored family members become permanent residents.
Exception to minimum necessary income requirement
A sponsor does not have to meet MNI if they are sponsoring their spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, dependent child or a person under the age of 18 whom the sponsor intends to adopt in Canada [R133(4)]. However, in situations where an officer is of the opinion that the sponsor will be unable to provide adequate support and that the sponsored person will be unable or unwilling to support themselves and may have to rely on social assistance, the applicant may be found to be inadmissible for financial reasons [A39].
Note: If a dependent child sponsored as the principal applicant (or as a dependant of the principal applicant) has a dependent child, MNI for the applicable family size has to be met. A sample scenario would be where someone is sponsoring their common-law partner, who is accompanied by their 18-year old daughter and their daughter’s two-year old child (the principal applicant’s granddaughter).
Financial requirements for sponsors living in Quebec
Financial requirements are different for sponsors living in Quebec, and are assessed by the Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion (MIDI), not by IRCC. Quebec establishes its minimum income figures based on the gross annual income required based on the Consumer Price Index published by Statistics Canada. Financial requirements for sponsors in Quebec are published on the financial capacity evaluation page of the MIDI website.
Reassessment of financial circumstances
A sponsor’s income can be reassessed prior to an initial recommendation being rendered on sponsorship eligibility, where information material to a sponsor’s ability to meet financial requirements is received by IRCC.
Sponsors cannot request that IRCC reassess their financial situation subsequent to submitting the sponsorship application. Even if their income increases, sponsors who do not meet MNI cannot request reassessment – income earned after the undertaking has been given cannot be considered. The only option available to a sponsor who wants IRCC to reassess their finances to reflect improvement in their circumstances is to withdraw the existing application and then submit a new application, paying all applicable fees.
Income may be reassessed by IRCC [R134)(2)] only if either of the following applies:
- more than 12 months have passed since receipt of the application
- new information comes to IRCC’s attention that a sponsor may no longer be able to meet their financial obligations
The addition of a new family member to the application increases the family size, which will result in the need for the sponsor’s financial circumstances to be reassessed where the income identified in the original application is insufficient to meet the new MNI requirement.
If the sponsor’s income is not at least equal to the LICO, or the income is not from a Canadian source and is not included in the NOA, the sponsor does not meet the income requirement, and is deemed to be ineligible.
Income requirements for sponsoring parents and grandparents
Sponsorship requirements for parents and grandparents are designed to ensure that sponsors provide evidence of their ability to provide long-term financial support. For sponsorship applications received by IRCC on or after January 1, 2014, sponsors and co-signers must meet or exceed MNI of the LICO, plus 30% for each of the three taxation years immediately preceding the date of the application for which the CRA issues an NOA or Option C printout). Undertakings for parents and grandparents remain in effect for 20 years after the sponsored parent or grandparent (and any accompanying dependants) becomes a permanent resident.
Sponsors and co-signers have the choice to provide either of the following:
- their Social Insurance Number (SIN) and their consent to IRCC to obtain their income tax information directly from the CRA
- copies of their NOAs or Option C printouts in their application
Where a sponsor signs a statement of consent (question 8 on the Financial Evaluation for Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship) and provides their SIN, IRCC will obtain income tax information directly from the CRA. A sponsor who does not provide consent must complete the Income Sources for the Sponsorship of Parents and Grandparents form and submit an NOA issued to them by the CRA for each of the three taxation years immediately preceding the date of their application. Sponsors who do not have paper copies of NOAs can view (and print) their tax and income information using the CRA’s My Account online service.
The requirement to provide NOAs or Option C printouts for the 3 taxation years immediately preceding the date of their application is mandatory. Sponsors may not seek to maximize their income by providing three NOAs or Option C printouts of their choice or the two most recent NOAs or Option C printouts along with other evidence of income for the year they are applying before CRA makes these documents available. IRCC will only accept CRA issued documents for 3 tax years preceding the date of the application.
Note: Co-signers are required to meet the same requirements as sponsors, regardless of how long they have been married to or living in a common-law relationship with the sponsor. This means, for parent and grandparent applications, co-signers must also submit NOAs or Option C printouts for the three taxation years immediately preceding the date of the application in order for their income to be included in the MNI assessment.
Income requirements for sponsoring “other relatives”
Acceptable evidence of income is a copy of an NOA or Option C printout from the CRA for the most recent year available. Where an NOA or Option C printout is unavailable – for instance, if the sponsor has not recently filed an income tax return – or does not capture all income for the 12 months preceding the application, the CPC may consider letters from employers, pay statements or, if self-employed, contracts and receipts for services rendered.
For family class categories where MNI requirements must be met, a sponsor cannot be found eligible if they fail to meet MNI, even if they (and the co-signer, if applicable) have good employment prospects, considerable assets or other family members willing to provide additional support.
Application of the temporary public policy on minimum income requirements in 2020
The Temporary public policy concerning applications for permanent residence as a member of the family class whose sponsor must meet a minimum income requirement in 2020 exempts certain permanent residence applicants from the requirement that their sponsor (and co-signer, if applicable) meet all of the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) for the 2020 taxation year.
This public policy came into effect on October 2, 2020, and will end once no longer applicable.
This public policy applies to the processing of all family class applications for permanent residence where the applicant’s sponsors must meet an income requirement when 2020 income is assessed. This may include
- parents and grandparents applications received between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021
- parents and grandparents applications received after December 31, 2021, for which 2020 income is assessed
- any family class applications received prior to January 1, 2021, for which an officer has initiated a financial re-assessment
- family class applications that are subject to an income assessment 12 months prior to the date of submitting the application
Regular employment insurance and the minimum necessary income requirement for 2020 taxation year
Under this public policy, all family class applicants’ sponsors (and co-signers, if applicable) who must meet income requirements will be able to count regular employment insurance benefits (which are normally subtracted) in their income calculations rather than just special employment insurance benefits for the 2020 taxation year. Regular employment insurance benefits are included in the Total Income line 15000 (formerly line 150) of the Notice of Assessment. The amount listed on line 13000 should not be excluded from eligible income for the 2020 taxation year.
Sponsors (and co-signers, if applicable) must to meet all other requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and IRPR, except those for which an exemption is granted under this public policy. Not all sponsors need to meet income requirements. Further details about which sponsors need to meet income requirements can be found under the section Exception to minimum necessary income requirement.
Parents and grandparents applications – Minimum necessary income assessment for the 2020 taxation year
The public policy allows foreign nationals applying for permanent residence as parents and grandparents to be exempted from the requirement for their sponsor to have the minimum necessary income (MNI) plus 30% for the 2020 taxation year, as long as the sponsor meets the MNI defined in section R2 and all other applicable requirements, including those pertaining to the other relevant taxation years. In other words, the public policy allows the principal applicant to be eligible for permanent residency even though their sponsor does not meet regulatory income requirements (as long as they meet the conditions outlined in the public policy for the 2020 taxation year).
All parents and grandparents applications where a financial assessment on the 2020 taxation year is required (for example, sponsors who submit their applications in 2021, 2022, and 2023) will benefit from the lower income requirement in this public policy. Sponsors (and co-signers, if applicable) still need to meet the MNI plus 30% for all other applicable taxation years, except for the 2020 taxation year.
For the 2020 taxation year, refer to the GCMS processing instructions below to determine whether the MNI has been met.
GCMS processing instructions
Under the “Sponsorship” tab and “FC Eligibility” sub tab, navigate to the “Income Assessment” sub screen in the tab.
The relevant GCMS fields are as follows (refer to the screenshot of the Income Assessment sub screen in GCMS):
- LICO Year: 2020
- LICO Amount
- Total Income: appears on line 15000 of the NOA or Option C printout
- SA’s Met For: family size
- Minimum Necessary Income: Met or Not Met
- Minimum Necessary Income Amount: (LICO + 30%)
Note: Prior to performing this assessment, the officer must ensure that all applicable income (including income under the Employment Insurance Act) for the sponsor (and co-signer, if applicable) is included in the 2020 taxation year. The instructions below do not apply to taxation years other than the 2020 taxation year.
In order to apply the public policy, officers first have to find that sponsors do not meet the income requirements under the IRPR for the 2020 taxation year. If sponsors meet the condition in the public policy, the principal applicant and their dependants (if applicable) may be eligible for permanent residency even though their sponsor does not meet the regulatory income requirements.
The 3 steps below highlight the 3 different scenarios with next steps for each (assuming that the sponsors in question met the LICO + 30% for 2018 and 2019):
First, verify whether the “Total Income” (#3) is equal to or greater than the “Minimum Necessary Income Amount” (#6). If it is, then the “Minimum Necessary Income” is “Met” (#5).
Result: Met without 2020 public policy: The “Total Income” (#3) is equal to or higher than the “Minimum Necessary Income Amount” (#6); the sponsor did not rely on the 2020 public policy.
If the “Total Income” (#3) does not equal or exceed the “Minimum Necessary Income Amount” (#6), verify whether the “Total Income” (#3) is equal to or greater than the “LICO Amount” (#2). If it is, then the “Minimum Necessary Income” is “Met” (#5). Note: This GCMS field may need to be manually changed to “Met”.
Result: Met with 2020 public policy: The “Total Income” (#3) is equal to or higher than the “LICO Amount” (#2), but lower than the “Minimum Necessary Income Amount” (#6); the sponsor has benefitted from the 2020 public policy.
If neither scenario above is applicable, then the “Minimum Necessary Income” is “Not Met”.
Result: Not Met: The “Total Income” (#3) is less than the “LICO Amount” (#2); the sponsor does not benefit from the 2020 public policy.
Summary of GCMS assessment
|Total income for the sponsor (and co-signer, if applicable) for the 2020 taxation year in GCMS||Does the sponsor meet the regulatory income requirements to sponsor?||Does the sponsor have sufficient income that the sponsored person could benefit from the public policy?|
|Higher than the “Minimum Necessary Income Amount” (#6)||Yes||Not applicable|
|Higher than the “LICO Amount” (#2), but lower than the “Minimum Necessary Income Amount” (#6)||No||Yes|
|Lower than the “LICO Amount” (#2)||No||No|
Family class sponsors who received COVID-19 benefits for the 2020 taxation year
Since some sponsors (and co-signers, if applicable) may have been affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, family class sponsors will be able to count the following benefits in their income calculation for the 2020 taxation year:
- any Canada Emergency Response Benefits issued under the
- Employment Insurance Act or
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act
- other temporary COVID-19-related benefits
- as long as they are not part of provincial social assistance programs
Canada Emergency Response Benefits issued under the Employment Insurance Act or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act are not considered social assistance and will be included in line 15000 (previously line 150) of the Notice of Assessment. COVID-19-related benefits are reported in line 13000, which in turn is included in line 15000. Since line 15000 includes federal COVID-19 benefits, there is no requirement for an officer to identify and add an amount to the income calculation.
Any amount appearing on line 14500 is considered social assistance. Since the Canada Revenue Agency includes line 14500 in the total income (line 15000), officers must subtract this amount from line 15000 to comply with the requirement under subparagraph R134(1)(c)(ii) and subparagraph R134(1.1)(b)(ii) to exclude social assistance received by the sponsor from a province from the income calculation. For other temporary COVID-19-related benefits, if a province or territory has determined that their benefit is considered social assistance, IRCC will agree with the province or territory’s interpretation and also treat the benefit as such. The assessment of social assistance continues to be the same as before the application of this temporary public policy. As a reminder, as per paragraph R133(1)(k), a sponsorship application can only be approved by an officer if, from the day on which the application has been filed until the day a decision is made, the sponsor is not in receipt of social assistance for a reason other than disability.
Duration of sponsorship undertakings
The undertaking takes effect on the day the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident. The lone exception is sponsored persons who hold a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP).
For sponsored foreign nationals who were issued a TRP under A24 following an application for a permanent resident visa, the undertaking takes effect on the day they enter Canada or, if they are already in Canada, on the day on which they obtain the TRP following their application to remain in Canada as a permanent resident [R132(1)(a)(ii) ].
Sponsors and co-signers remain responsible for the sponsored person throughout the period of temporary resident status and continue their sponsorship responsibility throughout the specified period of the undertaking, commencing on the day the applicant becomes a permanent resident.
For cases where a family class application is refused and a TRP is subsequently issued, there is no obligation on the part of the sponsor to provide support.
Because the application was not approved, there is no undertaking in effect. Therefore, any social assistance received during the period the sponsored person is in Canada on a TRP is not subject to default or collection.
|Category||Code||Duration of undertaking||Regulation|
|Common-law Partner||FCC||3 years||R132(1)(b)(i)|
|Conjugal Partner||FCE||3 years||R132(1)(b)(i)|
|In-Canada Spouse and Partner Public Policy||FCH||3 years||R132(1)(b)(i)|
|Dependent Child and accompanying children of spouses and partners||FC3||Child under 22:
10 years or until child turns 25
Children 22 years of age or older:
|Parent or Grandparent and accompanying children of parents or grandparents||FC4||Sponsorship received before January 1, 2014:
Sponsorship received after January 1, 2014:
|Orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild||FC5||10 years||R132(1)(b)(v)|
|Child to be adopted [R117(1)(g)]||FC6||Children under 22:
10 years or until child turns 25
|Other relative||FC7||10 years||R132(1)(b)(v)|
|Adopted child [R117(2) and (3)]||FC9||Children under 22:
10 years or until child turns 25
Children 22 years of age or over:
Duration of undertakings – Quebec
An undertaking made by a sponsor who resides in Quebec (or who lives outside Canada but intends to reside in that province) is a binding contract between sponsors (and co-signers, where applicable) and the province of Quebec [R131(b)]. The Canada-Quebec Accord and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations give Quebec responsibility for setting some of its own eligibility criteria for sponsors, and for administering undertakings. IRCC does not process or administer Quebec undertakings.
The Canada-Quebec Accord gives Quebec responsibility for setting its own criteria for family class sponsorship and administering undertakings. The federal government maintains responsibility for most eligibility requirements related to admissibility and enforcement.
Quebec is responsible for:
- administering sponsorship undertakings
- determining the financial criteria for the sponsorship of foreign nationals intending to live in Quebec
- determining the duration of an undertaking
- addressing sponsorship defaults
- issues related to a sponsor’s court-ordered support obligations or personal bankruptcy
Note: Quebec will not accept an undertaking from a sponsor who does not reside in Quebec, unless the sponsor is a Canadian citizen abroad and intends to reside there once their sponsored family member becomes a permanent resident. A sponsor who resides in another province when they submit a sponsorship application but plans to move to Quebec once their sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident must inform IRCC of their intention so that the CPC can instruct the sponsor of procedures to follow to meet provincial requirements. In such cases, the CPC would liaise as needed with MIDI. A sponsor who moves to Quebec during processing is similarly required to advise the office processing the application.
A sponsor who signed an undertaking with the province of Quebec but who moves from Quebec to another province while their application is in process is required to complete and submit a new IMM 1344 Sponsorship Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking and submit it to the CPC, where it will be assessed based on federal requirements. This includes determining whether the sponsor meets MNI requirements.
|Person sponsored||Duration of undertaking|
|Spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner||3 years|
|Child under 16 years of age||10 years or until the child turns 18, whichever period is longer|
|Child 16 years or over||3 years or until the child turns 25, whichever period is longer|
|Any other relative||10 years|
See up-to-date information on the duration of Quebec undertakings on the MIDI website.
A spouse or common-law partner may co-sign an undertaking to help meet MNI requirements by pooling financial resources, e.g. to meet MNI when sponsoring a parent or grandparent, a grandchild or “other relative.” No other family member can co-sign. An eligible co-signer’s income can be included for the purpose of meeting financial requirements, but not when the co-signer is the person being sponsored, i.e. the sponsor’s spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner. No other family member’s income or resources can be included by the sponsor for this purpose.
In order to be a co-signer, at the time of signing the undertaking, a sponsor’s common-law partner must have cohabited with the sponsor in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. There is no time limit for living together for a spouse to be a co-signer. There is no need for a co-signer in cases where the sponsor alone meets MNI requirements or where financial requirements are not applicable.
In cases with a co-signer where the sponsor’s income alone is sufficient to meet MNI and there is the possibility that processing may need to be suspended in order to investigate the co-signer’s eligibility, an officer should contact the sponsor and recommend that the co-signer withdraw to prevent unnecessary delays. This will prevent unnecessary delays and the possibility of a negative sponsorship eligibility decision.
Use of a co-signer is applicable to applications to sponsor the following family members:
- parents and grandparents
- dependent children, in cases where their dependent child (i.e. a grandchild) is included on the application as an accompanying dependant
- “other relatives” [R117(1)(h)]
A co-signer is equally responsible as the sponsor to provide basic requirements: food, clothing, shelter, fuel, utilities, household supplies, personal requirements and other goods and services, including dental care, eye care and other health needs not provided by public health care to the sponsored person. At the same time, the applicant agrees to make reasonable efforts to provide for their basic requirements and those of their family members.
Adding a co-signer during processing
A co-signer can be added between the day on which the sponsorship application was filed and the day on which a decision is made with respect to the application, if required, due to a change in circumstances related to family composition and the need to meet the increased MNI for the increased family size.
When assessing the sponsor’s income, an officer will consider both the increase in MNI requirements resulting from the addition of a co-signer to the family size and the co-signer’s income, calculated in accordance with R134(a) to (c) against the LICO in effect at that time. This is in line with the Federal Court ruling in Dokaj vs. Canada, that if an officer considers an applicant’s spouse or partner in the calculation of the size of the applicant’s family, that person’s income should also be included in the financial assessment.
If the combined income of the sponsor and the added co-signer is not at least equal to the LICO, or the income is not from a Canadian source and is not included in the NOA, the sponsor does not meet the income requirement, and is deemed to be ineligible.
Note: Except in instances where there is a change in family circumstances, a co-signer may not be added to the sponsorship application if the sponsorship was already assessed and at the time of that assessment, the sponsor failed to meet the sponsorship requirements. R133(1) requires that a sponsor be in compliance with the sponsorship requirements detailed in R133(1) (a) to (k) from the time the application was received by IRCC until the time that a final decision is made on their application.
Co-signers are not sponsors
If a sponsor withdraws, co-signers may not continue with a sponsorship. If a co-signer wishes to continue the application as the sponsor, they can submit a new application – only if the person being sponsored also meets the definition of a member of the family class – which IRCC will assess independently. For example, a sponsor’s spouse or partner cannot submit an undertaking for the sponsor’s parent or grandparent if the sponsor withdraws.
In the event of a refusal of a sponsored family class member, co-signers do not have a right of appeal. That right is exclusive to the sponsor. For example, a person who co-signs their spouse’s sponsorship of their parents cannot appeal a refusal of the permanent resident visa.
Sponsors (and co-signers) are in default of an undertaking if the sponsored person receives social assistance during the validity period of the undertaking. Unless the sponsor (and/or co-signer) or the sponsored person repays the government that has provided social assistance, sponsors (and co-signers) are not eligible to sponsor any other member of the family class. The death of a sponsored applicant does not nullify default of an undertaking.
Provinces/Territories (P/Ts) may seek to recover social assistance payments made to a sponsored member of the family class or their family members (including social assistance for reasons of disability) from the sponsor and/or co-signer. If the sponsor dies, the co-signer, if applicable, is responsible for the deceased sponsor’s obligations. Until the co-signer repays the sponsorship debt/obligation the co-signer will remain in default of the undertaking. Where there is no co-signer, the decision as to whether to collect from a deceased sponsor’s estate rests with the government that is responsible for the debt collection.
In Canada, social assistance benefits are administered provincially. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (R2) define social assistance in broad terms, but render someone who is in receipt of social assistance for a reason other than a disability ineligible to be a sponsor under the family class [R133(1)(k)]. The intent of R133(1)(k) is to bar persons whose primary or sole source of income is “social assistance” benefits from sponsoring a relative under the family class. There are various programs and services provided by P/Ts which confer benefits that IRCC does not consider to be social assistance for the purposes of imposing a bar on sponsorship.
Examples of these would include, but are not limited to:
- subsidized housing
- tax credits
- child care subsidies
- other benefits which would be widely available to residents of a P/T, including persons who are employed
If a sponsor resumes providing for a sponsored member of the family class who had been, but is no longer in receipt of social assistance, they are still in default until such time as social assistance authorities in the /P/T confirm that the debt has been repaid in full.
On the IMM 1344 Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking form, a sponsor is required to indicate, if they are found ineligible to sponsor, that they choose either of the following scenarios:
- they withdraw the sponsorship application
- they allow IRCC to continue with an assessment of their relative’s application for permanent residence
A family class sponsorship case can be closed by the CPC without a final decision being made on the application for permanent residence when one of the following occurs:
- the sponsor is found to be ineligible to be a sponsor, and indicated in Part 1, Question 1 of the IMM 1344 that their choice was to withdraw the sponsorship application
- the sponsor requests to withdraw the sponsorship
The CPC must enter information in GCMS stating that the case has been closed. When no decision has been made regarding issuance of a permanent resident visa, the sponsor has no right of appeal.
When a sponsor withdraws the application, the CPC will refund both:
- the Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF), if it has been paid
- the application for permanent residence fee, if processing of the application for permanent residence has not already begun
Note: The sponsorship fee can be refunded only in cases where the sponsor requests to withdraw the application before IRCC starts processing it.
A sponsor who is found eligible but contacts IRCC in writing, seeking to withdraw the undertaking before processing has started on the application for permanent residence, is eligible to receive a refund of the permanent residence fee. There is no refund of the sponsorship fee.
A sponsor who requests to withdraw a sponsorship undertaking after the processing of the sponsored relative’s or family member’s application for permanent residence has started is not eligible for a refund of the permanent residence fee, nor do they have a right to an appeal.
If a sponsor withdraws once processing has begun, the application for permanent residence will be closed. Permanent residence cannot be granted to foreign nationals applying as members of the family class and their dependants where a valid sponsorship undertaking is not in effect (R120).
A request to withdraw a sponsorship cannot be accepted if the sponsored person has already become a permanent resident.
A sponsor has the right to withdraw at any time during processing of either the sponsorship application or the application for permanent residence up until the sponsored family member has been granted permanent residence at a Port-of-Entry (POE) or at a local IRCC office. This includes the right to withdraw the sponsorship of a family member who has been issued a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and, where applicable, a permanent resident visa, based on a positive final decision, but who has not yet been granted permanent residence by an officer at a POE or in Canada.
IRCC cannot refuse to accept a sponsorship withdrawal request for a sponsored family member who has not yet become a permanent resident. The sponsored family member(s) cannot dispute the withdrawal.
A sponsor who wishes to withdraw must submit a notification to IRCC by web form – a sponsor is not obligated to provide IRCC with the reason(s) why they are requesting to withdraw. A sponsor cannot withdraw their support after the sponsored family class member has become a permanent resident. In such cases, the sponsor is bound by the undertaking, and remains responsible for their relative for the duration specified for the applicable family class category.
A co-signer has the right to withdraw at any time during processing of either the sponsorship application or the application for permanent residence up until the sponsored family member has been granted permanent residence at a POE or at a local IRCC office. This includes the right to withdraw the sponsorship of a family member who has been issued a COPR and, where applicable, a permanent resident visa, provided they have not yet become a permanent resident.
A co-signer who wishes to withdraw must submit a notification to IRCC by web form. A co-signer cannot withdraw their support after the sponsored family class member has become a permanent resident. In such cases, the co-signer is bound by the undertaking, and remains responsible for their relative for the duration specified for the applicable family class category. A co-signer who withdraws prior to the granting of permanent residence and has been removed from the undertaking is not obligated to provide support to the sponsored family member.
In cases where a sponsor has withdrawn, processing of the application cannot continue, even if there is a co-signer who independently meets sponsorship requirements. If the principal applicant is a family class relative of the co-signer, the co-signer has the option of sponsoring only if a completely new sponsorship and permanent residence application is submitted and would be expected to meet the applicable requirements, including, where applicable, meeting MNI requirements.
Note: In the event that the sponsor has a new spouse or common-law partner (which may be the reason for the co-signer withdrawal) that person can co-sign the new IMM 1344. If this is a common-law relationship, the officer should be satisfied that it has existed for at least one year. This is only allowed in cases where the original MNI assessment (where applicable) was passed.
Quebec sponsorship or so-signer withdrawal
Assessing a sponsor’s eligibility
Requirements in R130 to assess sponsor’s eligibility
To be eligible, a sponsor must provide proof that they are at 18 years of age or older, and either a permanent resident of Canada, a Canadian Citizen or a Status Indian.
Acceptable proof of permanent residence is a photocopy of a permanent resident card (PR card) or a record of landing (IMM 1000) if they have never obtained a PR card.
Acceptable proof of Canadian citizenship is a photocopy of one of the following:
- a Canadian Citizenship certificate or card (both sides)
- a Canadian birth certificate (for Quebec, must be one issued by the Directeur de l’état civil du Québec)
- the bio-data page of a Canadian passport
Acceptable proof of being a Status Indian is a photocopy of an Indian status card verifying registration in Canada as an Indian under the Indian Act.
Information may also be available in GCMS to confirm a sponsor’s status.
A sponsor must be residing in Canada, unless they are a Canadian citizen residing abroad sponsoring a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner or dependent child (provided that the dependent child does not have dependent children of their own) [R130(2)].
Sponsors who maintain a principal residence in Canada are not considered to be in violation of residency requirements if they:
- take short holidays or business trips outside Canada on a temporary basis
- have work arrangements that require them to be outside Canada for temporary finite periods of time, but return to live in Canada in between assignments (such as ship crew or seasonal workers)
Persons who do not maintain a principal residence in Canada and who live and work abroad and only return to Canada for short visits are not considered to meet residency requirements.
Sponsorship by Canadian citizens living abroad
The only exception to the requirement for a sponsor to reside in Canada is a Canadian citizen residing abroad who sponsors a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner or dependent child (who does not have a dependent child of their own) and who intends to return to reside in Canada once their sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident [R130(2)].
Sponsorship ineligibility identified at the permanent resident processing stage
A sponsor must be eligible from the day the sponsorship application is received by IRCC until the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident. When a processing officer suspects that a sponsor deemed eligible by the CPC is, in fact, ineligible, they do all of the following:
- review information provided by the sponsor and co-signer
- verify in GCMS whether the sponsor/co-signer is subject to any of the applicable bars
- verify information through appropriate sources as outlined in the following subsections
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