Guide 5525 – Basic guide: Sponsor your spouse, partner or child
Use this guide to prepare:
- your application to sponsor your spouse, partner or dependent child.
- your spouse, partner or dependent child’s application for permanent residence.
Don’t use this guide if you’re sponsoring:
- an adopted child or orphaned family member
- any other family members
If you’re sponsoring any of the above, use the sponsorship package for adopted children and other relatives instead.
You can also request this publication in another format.
Note: If you’re applying under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class, your spouse or partner may be eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit. Please see the Help Centre for information about open work permits for spouses and partners.
Important: You should review this entire guide before you start to fill out forms or prepare documents.
Step 5 of this guide will help you avoid common mistakes.
This is not a legal document. The explanations and definitions are not legal definitions. In case of a discrepancy between the language in this document and the relevant legislation or regulations, the legal text in the legislation and regulations prevails.
For legal information, see the:
Steps to apply
- Before you start
- Get your application package
- Fill out your forms
- Gather your documents
- Check for common mistakes
- Pay your fees
- Submit your application
- What to expect after you submit the application
- Appendix A - Key definitions
- Appendix B - Photo specifications
- Appendix C - “X” in the sex field on an immigration document
Before you start
You should be able to prepare your application package by following the steps in this guide and referring to instructions on your checklist. However, more information is also available by clicking on the various links provided in the text. You can also get more details in the Complete Guide.
For explanations of the terms used in the application process, see Appendix A: Key definitions.
After you’ve read the definitions, please follow the steps in this guide to prepare and submit your application, including the forms and documents that need to be submitted by:
- the sponsor
- the principal applicant (person being sponsored)
- the principal applicant’s family members (who are not already Canadian citizens or permanent residents)
Note: You don’t need to hire a representative to prepare or submit your application. However, if you are getting help, it is important that you review the information on our website about who can give you advice, help you with your forms, communicate with us on your behalf, and/or represent you. If you pay someone or otherwise compensate them in any way in exchange for their services, they must be someone who is authorized to do so.
If you have any concerns about the assistance you have been given, you can file a complaint.
What it means to sponsor someone
When you agree to sponsor, you sign an undertaking, promising to give financial support for the basic needs of the people you’re sponsoring, and any of their dependent children.
Basic needs include:
- food, clothing, shelter and other needs for everyday living
- dental care, eye care and other health needs not covered by public health services
Before signing the undertaking agreement, you should make sure that those you sponsor won’t need to ask the government for financial help. If they receive social assistance, you’ll need to pay back what they received. You won’t be able to sponsor anyone else until you have repaid the amount.
The undertaking is a binding promise of support, meaning that it is your responsibility to support the applicant(s) for the length of the undertaking period even if your situation changes. For example, the undertaking won’t be cancelled even if:
- the person you are sponsoring becomes a Canadian citizen
- you become divorced, separated or your relationship with the sponsored person breaks down
- you or the person you sponsor moves to another province or country
- you have financial problems
The length of time you are legally responsible for the person you sponsor varies based on the type of family member you are sponsoring, and is either 3 or 10 years for non-residents of Quebec. Quebec has different undertaking length.
Please see the Complete Guide for details on the length of the undertaking.
Who can become a sponsor
You can become a sponsor if you are:
- at least 18 years old
- a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or a permanent resident living in Canada:
- If you are a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when your sponsored relative(s) become(s) a permanent resident.
- You can’t sponsor someone if you are a permanent resident living outside Canada.
- able to prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability, and;
- can provide for the basic needs of any person you are sponsoring (and in some limited situations, that you meet the low-income cut-off).
Note: There is no low income cut-off (LICO) for spouse, partner or dependent child sponsorships, unless a dependent child also has one or more dependent children of their own. If a dependent child you are sponsoring has one or more dependent children of their own, you must include a Financial Evaluation (IMM 1283) form with your application (see your checklist for more details).
Read more about eligibility requirements in the Complete Guide.
Who can’t become a sponsor
You can’t be a sponsor if you:
- have failed to pay:
- an immigration loan
- a performance bond
- family support payments
- have failed to provide for the basic needs of a previously-sponsored relative who received social assistance
- are under a removal order
- are in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison
- receive social assistance for a reason other than a disability
- are still going through the process of bankruptcy (undischarged bankruptcy)
- were sponsored by a spouse or partner and you became a permanent resident less than five years ago
- sponsored a previous spouse or partner and three years have not passed since this person became a permanent resident
- have already applied to sponsor your current spouse, partner or child and a decision on your application hasn’t been made yet
- were convicted of a violent or sexual offence, or an offence that caused bodily harm to a relative—or you attempted or threatened to commit any of these offences
Who you can sponsor
To be eligible for permanent residence, the principal applicant and any dependants must not be inadmissible to Canada.
You can sponsor a:
Spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner
- they are at least 18 years old
- your relationship is genuine (real) and wasn’t entered into just to get permanent resident status in Canada
If your spouse or common-law partner is applying in the Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada class, they must already co-habit (live) with you in Canada.
Important: A conjugal partner is, in relation to a sponsor, a foreign national residing outside Canada who has been in a conjugal relationship with the sponsor for at least one year. A foreign national residing inside Canada cannot be sponsored as a conjugal partner.
If you’re sponsoring a spouse or partner, any dependent children should be listed on their application forms. If you are sponsoring one or more dependent child(ren) as the principal applicant(s), you must submit a complete set of application forms and documents for each child.
Note: Canadian citizens can’t be sponsored. If you have a child who was born after you became a Canadian citizen, or your child was born in Canada, they might be a Canadian citizen. For more information on dependants who may be Canadian citizens, see Step 5 below.
Who needs to give biometrics?
Permanent Resident applicants may have to appear in person to have their fingerprints and photograph (biometric information) taken at a biometric collection service point.
Find out if you need to give biometrics.
If applicants have to give biometrics, they will give them after:
- submitting the application;
- paying the application fees; and
- getting a letter from us that says biometrics is needed
Applicants must bring the Biometric Instruction Letter (BIL) with them to the biometric collection service point to give their biometrics.
Applicants are encouraged to give their biometrics as soon as possible after getting the letter from us asking for them. We will start processing your application after we get the biometrics.
Note: Canadian citizens and existing permanent residents of Canada are exempt from giving biometrics
How often do I need to give biometrics?
Applicants will need to give their biometrics and pay the fee, even if they gave biometrics in the past to support a visitor visa, study or work permit application, or a different permanent resident application.
Where to give biometrics?
- Outside Canada and the U.S.: At one of Canada’s Visa Application Centers (VAC) locations around the world
- In the United States: At one of many Application Support Centers across the U.S.
- In Canada: When the in-Canada service is established in 2019
- At the port of entry: Asylum claimants, and applicants for work and study permits who are eligible to apply at the port of entry.
Sponsors living in Quebec
The province of Quebec has its own immigration rules. After your application is received, IRCC will send you an email or letter with instructions about how to apply to the Quebec government to become a sponsor.
- Find out how to sponsor someone if you live in Quebec.
- If you need help, contact the Quebec ministry of immigration.
- If Quebec approves you as a sponsor, you’ll get a Quebec Selection Certificate (Certificat de selection Québec).
- We encourage you to prepare your Quebec sponsorship application in advance to avoid delays.
Step 1: Read this guide
You should review this entire guide before you start to fill out forms or prepare documents. Step 5 of this guide will help you avoid common mistakes.
Step 2: Get your application package
Get your application package, including your checklist, forms, and instructions on the application package page.
To get the right instructions and checklist, select from the drop down menus:
- who is being sponsored,
- the country where the sponsored person resides, and
- the country where the documents you’ll submit with the application were issued.
- tells you which forms you need
- lists all the documents you must submit, and
- links you to instructions to fill out each form.
You must print, fill out and submit a copy of this checklist with your application. Place it at the top, as the cover of your application.
Important: You must print, fill out and submit a copy of your checklist with your application. Place it on top, as the cover of your application.
Step 3: Fill out your forms
Use the checklist to prepare your forms.
- All forms listed on your checklist must be submitted with your application. The checklist tells you if there are forms you don’t need to fill out because of your situation.
- If there is a form listed on your checklist which does not apply to you, you must write “Not applicable” or “N/A” on the relevant section of the checklist.
- If you need more space to give answers for any section, use a separate blank page to finish answering.
- Reminder for Schedule A – Background/Declaration (IMM 5669): In addition to validating the form and typing your name, you must also sign it by hand before you include it in your paper application package.
For more detailed instructions for the forms, please see the Complete Guide.
Important: If you’re applying for permanent residence in Canada, you must declare all family members (who are not already Canadian citizens or permanent residents). There are no exceptions to the requirement. Please review the definition of “family member” in Appendix A.
All family members (who are not already Canadian citizens or permanent residents) must be examined as part of the process of applying for permanent residence in Canada, even if they will not become permanent residents along with the principal applicant.
Family members who are not declared and examined are excluded from the family class, which means you can’t sponsor them later. If a permanent resident doesn’t declare all family members on their application, they could risk losing their own permanent resident status.
Find more information about why you must declare all family members.
Need help with a PDF document? Get help to open an application form.
Step 4: Gather your documents
Important: We’ll return applications with missing, incomplete, or unsigned forms and/or documents. If you are unable to submit an item listed on the document checklist, you must include a detailed explanation of why you can’t submit this document. If you do not do this, your application will be returned to you as incomplete.
Make sure to check the country-specific requirements. If the country specific requirements tell you that you must submit an original document instead of a copy, you must submit the original or we will return your application. See below for more information about country specific requirements.
To make sure you send us an application with all the necessary documents:
- Use your checklist to make sure you include all the documents you need to submit:
- For each item on the checklist, choose the situation that applies to you and check the correct box.
- Only submit documents that apply to your specific situation.
- Unless stated in your checklist, you must attach the following for any documents that are not in English or French:
- a certified copy of the original document; and
- the English or French translation; and
- an affidavit from the person who completed the translation.
- Make sure you check that all signatures are provided. A list of required signatures is found on the last page of your checklist.
Please see the Complete Guide (Section 2: Gather documents) for more detailed information about requirements for translations and certified copies of original documents.
Check for country-specific requirements
- You may need to submit extra forms based on where the person you’re sponsoring lives.
- You may need to follow special instructions about specific documents to provide based on the country where the document is issued. For example, there are specific requirements for civil documents from different countries (e.g. birth certificates, other proof of identity, child custody documentation, family booklets, military booklets, etc.).
- You’ll find country-specific requirements on the application package page. From the drop down box, select the country where the person you’re sponsoring is living to confirm if there are any specific requirements based on country of residence. You may need to submit extra forms based on where the person you’re sponsoring lives.
- Check the list of requirements for the country of issuance of any specific documents (e.g. if you’re living in the United States but you’re submitting a birth certificate issued in the Philippines, check the requirements for “Philippines” to make sure the document you’re submitting is the right one). This will help make sure you include the correct documents for each item on the checklist.
You (the principal applicant), and any family members 18 or older (who are not already Canadian citizens or permanent residents), must submit police certificates from the following country or countries with your application:
- The country where you (or they) currently live, if you have lived there for six months or more.
- The country where you (or they) have spent most of your (their) life since the age of 18.
Note: Some countries need a consent form from IRCC to issue a police certificate. Find out if the country from which you need a police certificate requires a consent form. If required, you should submit the consent form to us in place of the police certificate. We’ll assess the consent form and start the police certificate request.
Important: If you can’t provide the above police certificates with your application, you must submit a detailed explanation of why not and when you expect to be able to submit them. This will likely delay the processing of your application.
See How to get a police certificate for up-to-date information about obtaining police certificate from any country.
Step 5: Check your application to avoid common mistakes
Important: If you do not include all requested forms and documents listed on the checklist, your whole application will be returned to you without being processed. Incomplete applications will not have a place in the processing queue. If you resubmit your application and IRCC confirms it is complete, we’ll process it based on the date it is received.
Before moving on to Step 6, check to make sure you have avoided these common mistakes:
Regardless of who you are sponsoring:
- Always check country specific requirements before submitting your application.
- For some countries, originals of certain documents are required. In these cases, you must submit the original and not a copy. If you do not submit original documents when required, your application will be returned as incomplete.
- Don’t use staples, binders, plastic sleeves, folders or albums to submit your application. Elastic bands for photos or paper clips are acceptable.
If you’re sponsoring dependent children:
- If the principal applicant is a dependent child, including someone younger than 18 years old, you must submit the Additional Family Information [IMM 5406] (PDF, 570.00 KB) and list them as the principal applicant. As the parent/legal guardian of the principal applicant who is under 18 years of age, you’ll sign all the forms on their behalf.
- If sponsoring more than one dependent child as a principal applicant, make sure you submit separate complete applications for each child (i.e. each child should be listed on their own Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking [IMM 1344] (PDF, 478.72 KB), Generic Application Form for Canada [IMM 0008] (PDF, 553.83 KB), and Schedule A – Background/Declaration [IMM 5669].
- If sponsoring a dependent child (under the age of 18) and they have another parent who is not immigrating to Canada, the parent/guardian applying from Canada must submit a signed copy of the IMM5604 Declaration From Non-Accompanying Parent/Guardian For Minors Immigrating to Canada. This form must be accompanied by a piece of photo identification from the parent/guardian who is NOT accompanying the minor to Canada. In situations where having this form signed from the other parent is impossible (i.e. parent’s whereabouts unknown), a letter of explanation must be included with the application.
Children born to Canadian citizens
- If you’re a Canadian citizen who is sponsoring a spouse or partner, and you have a child together, your child may be a Canadian citizen, even if they were not born in Canada.
- A Canadian citizen is not eligible to be sponsored.
- If you already have proof of Canadian citizenship for your child, provide a copy of this proof (citizenship certificate or copy of Canadian passport), to help us confirm that your child does not require immigrant processing.
- If your child was born in Canada, you can provide a copy of their Canadian long form birth certificate(s) instead.
- If you don’t have proof of Canadian citizenship for your child who was born outside Canada, you need to apply for a proof of citizenship to confirm whether your child is a Canadian citizen.
- If it is confirmed that your child is a Canadian citizen, you’ll be able to apply for your child’s Canadian passport.
- If your child is not a Canadian citizen, you’ll need to add them as a dependant on the sponsorship undertaking signed for your spouse or partner.
Important: If you’ve submitted an application for proof of citizenship for your child, and it hasn’t been finalized, you must provide details in a letter and include it as part of your application so that we can check the status.
Children born in Canada
- If a child was born in Canada, they are likely a Canadian citizen (unless they fall under certain exceptions). A Canadian citizen doesn’t need to be sponsored.
- Confirm that your child(ren) don’t fall under an exemption from citizenship by birth in Canada.
- If they don’t fall under any exemption, include a copy of their Canadian long form birth certificate(s) with your application.
- If you don’t have your child’s long form birth certificate, you need to apply for it.
- If your child was born in Canada but falls under an exception (i.e. would not qualify for citizenship), you must provide their long form birth certificate, but they must also be included in the sponsorship. Example: A child born in Canada to an accredited foreign diplomat is not Canadian at birth unless the other parent is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident at the time of the child’s birth.
Important: If you do not have a child’s Canadian long term birth certificate but have already submitted an application for this to the child’s province or territory of birth, you must provide details in a letter and include it as part of your application.
- If you’re using an authorized representative to help you or your family members in any way during the immigration process, each family member over the age of 18 who is being represented must sign their own Use of Representative form [IMM 5476] (PDF, 648.31 KB). To review the instructions for this form, see Guide 5561 – Use of Representative.
Note: If the sponsor and principal applicant are being represented by the same person, only one form is required. However, this must be signed by both the sponsor and principal applicant.
- If you (the sponsor) will receive correspondence for, or act in any way on behalf of your spouse, partner, or dependent child over the age of 18, the person you are sponsoring (and each represented family member over 18) must complete a Use of Representative form [IMM 5476] (PDF, 648.31 KB) authorizing you as their representative.
Note to sponsors: if the person you’re sponsoring is living outside Canada, and your address in Canada is provided as their mailing address on the application for permanent residence (IMM 0008), the principal applicant (person you’re sponsoring) must complete a Use of Representative form listing you as their representative.
- For spousal sponsorships, make sure you include a valid marriage certificate or proof of registration of your marriage with your application (see checklist details). The document(s) you submit must show that the marriage was legally registered with the government where it took place.
- A record of solemnization (obtained in Canada) or marriage license will not be accepted as proof that the sponsor and applicant are married.
- Check the country specific requirements to see if there are specific instructions for the country where the marriage took place.
Proof of identity documents
- Proof of identity is an important part of an application to become a permanent resident:
- Carefully review the checklist sections on identity documents, travel documents, and passports.
- Make sure you submit a copy of your birth certificate, and (if you have included dependents in your application) the birth certificates of your family members.
- We will return the application to you if you don’t provide all the documents requested.
- If you are unable to submit a document, you must include a detailed explanation of why you are unable to submit this document so that your application is not automatically returned to you.
Filling out the forms
You must fill out all sections, unless instructed otherwise. If a section doesn’t apply to you, you must write “Not applicable” or “N/A” in this section. If you need more space for any section, use a blank page to finish answering the question.
- If you don’t know a complete date of birth, use “*” (star sign/asterisk) to fill in the spaces for the year, month or day that you don’t know.
- If you don’t have a family name on your passport or travel document, enter all given names in the family name field and enter “N/A” or “Not applicable” in the given name field.
- If you don’t have a given name on your passport or travel document, enter “N/A” or “Not applicable” in the given name field.
Some forms have a “Validate” button. These include the:
- IMM 1344 (Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement, and Undertaking),
- IMM 0008 (Generic Application Form for Canada) and
- IMM 5669 (Schedule A)
When you press the “validate” button, identified missing information will be identified by an error message or a red square around the fields that need to be corrected. You should fill out your forms on a computer and validate them electronically to reduce mistakes and help you submit forms that are complete.
Once validated, the IMM 1344 and IMM 0008 forms will create a barcode page (see image below). Note: The IMM 5669 (Schedule A) form will not produce a barcode when it is validated.
Place any barcode pages right underneath your checklist when you submit your application.
Important: If you have problems viewing or validating your forms, please see these Help Centre questions:
- I can’t open my form in PDF format
- After clicking the validate button, nothing happens and I don’t see barcodes
Note: The Help Centre information about viewing PDF documents applies to all IRCC PDF documents.
After you validate the forms to generate barcodes, print the form. Then, the applicable client must sign the form in ink. Unsigned forms will not be accepted.
Barcode page (if applicable):
If signatures are missing, we will return the application without processing it.
Note: IRCC will normally accept forms with photocopies of signatures. However, you may be asked to provide the original copy of your forms with an original signature if an IRCC officer determines it is necessary.
- Remember to check for a signature block on each form and sign when needed. If forms are not signed in the correct places, and by the correct people, we will return your application without processing it.
- Signatures may be required in more than one place, or by more than one person on some forms.
- Where a date is needed, make sure you complete the section.
- A parent or legal guardian must sign on behalf of a dependent child under the age of 18 when a signature for this person is required.
Important: Use the last page of your checklist to help you make sure all forms have been signed correctly.
Addresses should be written out in full without using any abbreviations. Use the apartment or unit number, if applicable. Example: 999 Family Street, Unit #3, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K3J 9T5
Important: We recommend completing your IMM0008 form electronically. However, if you do not have access to a computer when filling out your forms, but wish to be contacted by e-mail, make sure your e-mail address is clearly written. To protect your privacy, we will not use an e-mail address if we can’t clearly read it.
- Make sure all email addresses on the forms are correct. Errors will cause delays.
- Make sure you’ve correctly typed the email address for the representative (if applicable), the sponsor, and the principal applicant in the correct fields on the IMM 5476, IMM 1344 and IMM 0008.
- If you’ve authorized a representative to act on your behalf, we’ll send all correspondence about the application to your representative.
- If you’re applying for permanent residence and you’ve authorized your sponsor to act as a representative on your behalf, we’ll send all correspondence about the application to the sponsor.
Step 6: Pay your fees
Before you send us your application, use the fee table below to find out how much you need to pay when submitting your application.
We recommend you pay the right of permanent resident fee (RPRF) now. You’ll have to pay it before you become a permanent resident. This fee is refundable if you don’t become a permanent resident. You may choose to pay this fee later, however this may cause delays. (Note: Dependent children don’t need to pay the right of permanent residence fee. This includes any dependent child sponsored as a principal applicant.)
Sponsor your spouse or partner
Sponsorship fee ($75), principal applicant processing fee ($475) and right of permanent residence fee ($490)
Sponsor your spouse or partner without right of permanent residence fee
Sponsorship fee ($75) and principal applicant processing fee ($475)
Sponsor a dependent child
Sponsorship fee ($75) and processing fee ($75)
Include any dependent child
Include any dependent child on an application made by a dependent child or overage dependent child Processing fee ($150)
Your dependent children don’t need to pay the right of permanent residence fee. This includes any dependent child sponsored as a principal applicant.
|Family (2 or more)
Maximum total fee for families applying at the same time
Pay for your fees online and include a copy of the receipt with your application.
Step 7: Submit your application package
Note: Before submitting your application, you should make a photocopy for your own records. You may need information from your package after you submit your application.
Now that you’ve finished preparing your application, you can submit it for processing. You should do the following:
- Place a copy of the checklist on top of your complete application package. This will help make sure the application can be processed as quickly as possible when it arrives in our office.
- If you’re applying under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class and the person you are sponsoring is also applying for an open work permit, after the checklist, place:
- the work permit application form and documents (if applicable) and
- a separate fee payment receipt for the cost of the work permit application
- The order of documents should be as follows:
- open work permit application (and supporting documents), if applicable;
- any barcode pages;
- supporting documents, in the order they’re listed on the checklist.
Submit your application by mail
Canada Post services across Canada may be affected by ongoing delays in service from continued labour negotiations.
Our processes will be unaffected though you may experience delays in:
- sending applications mailed within or to Canada
- receiving mail from us
If you’re planning on traveling to Canada or submitting an application (including for a passport or other travel document), apply early.
Visit Canada Post for more information before sending any application by mail. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.
Send the application package with all the requested documents to the appropriate address below.
Note: all applications submitted by courier should be sent to the same address (see section for courier service below).
Pick the correct mailing address
Application for spouses, common-law partners or conjugal partners currently living outside Canada and all dependent child sponsorships:
Case Processing Centre - Sydney
P.O. Box 9500
Note: Choose this option if your spouse or common-law partner is living in Canada with you, but doesn’t plan to stay in Canada while the application is being processed.
Application for spouses or common-law partners currently living in Canada applying under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class:
P.O. Box 5040, Station B
Submit your application by courier service
If you’re sending the application using a courier service instead of by mail, pick the correct courier address (no public drop-offs):
Application for spouses, common-law partners or conjugal partners currently living outside Canada and all dependent child sponsorships:
Case Processing Centre - Sydney
49 Dorchester Street
Note: Choose this option if your spouse or common-law partner is living in Canada with you, but doesn’t plan to stay in Canada while the application is being processed.
Application for spouses or common-law partners currently living in Canada applying under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class:
2 Robert Speck Parkway,
Step 8: After you submit your application
Communicating with IRCC
There are several ways we may communicate with you:
- Through your (or your representative’s) online account: We recommend that you or your authorized paid representative (if applicable) create an online account and link your paper application to that account. Once an application has been linked to an online account, we will send correspondence there. This makes communication easier, more secure, and quicker and will allow you or your representative to get more detailed application status information and to receive mail from us online. Using online services will ensure that you receive any correspondence (including medical forms and other requests) from us almost immediately after we send it to you. This will allow us to input your responses directly into your application for timely review. Get more information about how to link your paper application to your online account.
- E-Mail: If you or your representative provide us with an e-mail address when you apply, this will be our primary means of contacting you, unless your application is linked to an online account.
- Mail: If your application is not linked to an online account and no e-mail is provided, we will send all correspondence to the most up-to-date mailing address we have on file.
Do not attempt to link your application to your personal online account if you have appointed a representative. If you have appointed a representative and attempt to link your application to your own online account, you will have to cancel your representative before you can link.
If you have an authorized paid representative, they can link your application to their own online account instead.
Unpaid representatives cannot use online accounts. If you have an unpaid representative, you should remind them to regularly monitor their e-mail and mail to ensure correspondence is received.
When you authorize the use of a representative, they’ll receive all correspondence about the application on your behalf. It’s important to make sure that we always have your, and your representative’s (if applicable) most current contact information, including:
- Phone numbers
- Email addresses
- Mailing addresses
We’ll send time-sensitive and official correspondence using the most up-to-date contact information we have.
If we send a request, an answer must be provided within the timeframe provided.
For more information, see our Help Centre for instruction on changing your address or contact information.
Note: If your application was received before someone else’s, but you have not received all of the same requests, don’t be alarmed. Each file is different, and application steps may happen at different times for each file. We will contact you when:
- we need more information to process your file
- an update is available
- a decision has been made, or
- if your file is transferred to another office for processing
Make sure you regularly check to see if we have contacted you.
After we receive your application, we’ll check to make sure you’ve submitted all the required forms and documents on the document checklist. If your application package is incomplete, it will be returned to you without being processed. If the application has all the requested forms and documents, you’ll get an email or letter confirming that the application has been accepted for processing.
Applicants (persons being sponsored)
Once your application has been received, we’ll send you (or your authorized representative, if you have one) an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) letter with your application number on it. If you (or your representative) provided an e-mail address on your application, this letter will be sent to that e-mail address.
All of your family members need to pass a medical exam, even if they aren’t applying to come to Canada with you. Failure to declare and have family members examined will affect your application, and you will be unable to sponsor them in the future.
We’ll send you and each family member a request to complete a medical exam. This request will include instructions about what to do.
Note: If you have linked your application to an online account, you will receive your instructions in your account immediately after we issue them.
Do not be concerned if you don’t receive this request immediately after applying. Because medical results can expire, we might not ask you to do your medical exam right away. This is to reduce the chance that a new medical exam will be required later.
The request to complete a medical exam will provide instructions about what to do.
Once you get a request for a medical exam, you must:
- Print the IMM 1017 form and the instructions for each person.
- Make sure to bring the form to the exam for each person.
- Do the medical exam within 30 days of medical instructions being issued to you.
If you’re applying to sponsor someone, or you’re applying for permanent residence yourself, you are personally responsible for the content of your application. If you or someone acting on your behalf submits false documents or misrepresents facts relating to your application for a permanent resident visa, your application will be refused and a record of the misrepresentation will be kept. This includes all information you submit in support of your application. Applicants and their dependants could be deemed inadmissible to Canada for five years under subsection 40(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. For more information, see misrepresentation.
Complying with officer requests in a timely manner
You must submit any requested documents within timeframes given. If you do not do this, your application may be refused.
If you’ve created an online account, you should monitor it regularly for requests during processing. Responding to our requests as quickly as possible is the best way to make sure your application is processed in a timely manner.
Open work permits for spouses or common-law partners in Canada
If you’re applying under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in-Canada class, you may qualify for an open work permit while your application for permanent residence is being processed. You can submit your application for an open work permit together with your application for permanent residence, or after you apply.
To include your open work permit application with your application for permanent residence, use the Application to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada as a Worker. After filling this out, place the open work permit application right underneath the sponsorship checklist.
See the Help Centre for information about Open work permits for spouses and partners.
Note: If you’re applying under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class and you’ve submitted an application for an open work permit, your work permit will normally be processed within four months.
If your application is approved, we’ll use the photos you include as part of your application package to create a Permanent Resident Card for you (and your family members, if applicable). To avoid delays in getting your Confirmation of Permanent Resident document (which you’ll need to travel to Canada or become a permanent resident from within Canada), and/or your permanent resident card, it’s important that the photos meet certain specifications. See Appendix B for photo specifications.
While your application is being processed
For information on the estimated time it will take to process your application, you can check current application processing times.
If you or your authorized paid representative (if applicable) have linked your application to an online account, you (or your representative) should check it regularly for any important updates. If you’re not using an online account, you should monitor your preferred method of correspondence (e.g. e-mail or mail) regularly for communication. If you’re using e-mail, you should monitor the account you provided on your application forms regularly (including your spam folder).
If you have a representative, any questions about the processing of your application should be directed to them.
We also recommend that you take the time to prepare for life in Canada well in advance.
Appendix A: Key definitions
- A Canadian Citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or permanent resident of Canada who is 18 years of age or older and is applying to bring a family member (who is a member of the family class) to Canada as a permanent resident. To be a sponsor, you must promise to give financial support for the basic needs of your family members and their dependent children. You must also meet all of the sponsorship eligibility requirements. See subsection 130(1) of the IRPR for the legal definition.
- Principal applicant:
- When a family applies for permanent residence together, one family member must be the main or “principal” applicant. If the main purpose of the application is to sponsor a spouse or partner for permanent residence in Canada, the principal applicant is the spouse or partner. If the main purpose of the application is to sponsor a dependent child for permanent residence in Canada, the principal applicant is the dependent child.
- A partner with whom you are legally married. Includes both opposite- and same-sex relationships, but does not include common-law partnerships. See section 2 of the IRPR for the legal definition of marriage.
- Common-law partner:
- A person who has been living together with another person in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. Includes opposite- and same-sex relationships. See subsection 1(1) of the IRPR for the legal definition.
- Conjugal partner:
A person outside Canada who has had a binding relationship with a sponsor for at least one year, but could not live with their partner. Includes both opposite- and same-sex relationships. See section 2 of the IRPR for the legal definition.
Principal applicants who are living in Canada are not eligible to be sponsored as conjugal partners, either in the Spouse, Common-law in Canada program or the overseas sponsorship program.
- Dependent child:
Not sure if your child is a dependant? Check if your child qualifies by answering a few questions.
Your child or the child of your spouse or common-law partner can be considered a dependent child if that child meets the requirements below on the day we receive your complete application:
- They’re under 22 years old, and
- They don’t have a spouse or common-law partner
Children 22 years old or older qualify as dependants if they meet both of these requirements:
- They have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22, and
- They are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition
With the exception of age, dependants must continue to meet these requirements until we finish processing your application.
If your child’s age was locked in on or before October 23, 2017, a previous definition of dependent children may apply.
- Accompanying dependant:
Any dependent child or dependant of a dependent child (grandchild) who plans to immigrate to Canada with the principal applicant. They are included on the application.
When sponsoring more than one child as a principal applicant, each child must have its own application form. They are not considered to be accompanying dependants of each other.
- Non-accompanying dependant:
- Children who meet the definition of a dependent child but who are not immigrating to Canada along with the principal applicant. They must be listed on the principal applicant’s application for permanent residence and must be examined in order to process the principal applicant and remain eligible for sponsorship at a later date.
- Family members:
- An applicant’s closest relatives, in the context of an application. It is defined as a spouse or common-law partner, dependent children, and their dependent children. See subsection 1(3) of the IRPR for the legal definition.
- Family Class:
- This immigration category allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor certain members of their family to come to Canada as permanent residents. See section 116 of the IRPR for the legal definition.
- Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class:
- This immigration category allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their spouses or common-law partners who live with them in Canada and have temporary resident status. See sections 123 and 233 of the IRPR for the legal definition.
Appendix B: Photo specifications
Notes to the applicant
Take this information with you to the photographer
- Make sure that you provide the correct number of photos specified in the checklist.
- You must provide identical and unaltered photographs.
- Photographs may be in colour or in black and white.
- Photographs must be original and not altered in any way or taken from an existing photograph.
- Photographs must reflect your current appearance and must have been taken within the past six (6) months.
Check the Country Specific Requirements to see if you need to provide extra photos.
Please see the Guide for Permanent resident photos for colour examples of acceptable and unacceptable permanent resident photos.
If you are having your photos taken outside Canada, we strongly recommend that you ask your photographer to review both the Notes to Photographer found below, and the Guide for Permanent resident photos to see examples of acceptable and unacceptable photos. This will help reduce the chance of processing delays, and additional expenses, due to incorrect photo specifications.
Notes to the photographer
The photographs must be:
- taken by a commercial photographer;
- 50 mm x 70 mm (2 inches wide x 2 3/4 inches long) and sized so the height of the face measures between 31 mm and 36 mm (1 1/4 inches and 1 7/16 inches) from chin to crown of head (natural top of head);
- clear, sharp and in focus;
- taken with a neutral facial expression (eyes open and clearly visible, mouth closed, no smiling);
- taken with uniform lighting with no shadows, glare or flash reflections;
- taken straight on, with face and shoulders centred and squared to the camera (i.e. the photographs must show the full front view of the person’s head and shoulders, showing the full face centered in the middle of the photograph);
- taken in front of a plain white background with a clear difference between the person’s face and the background. Photographs must reflect and represent natural skin tones.
The back of one (1) photo must:
- bear the name and date of birth of the subject, as well as the name and complete address of the photography studio;
- bear the date the photograph was taken;
- The photographer may use a stamp or handwrite this information. Stick-on labels are unacceptable.
"X" in the sex field on an immigration document
In the future, we will be introducing an "X" in the sex field. Sign up for email updates on changing your sex to X (unspecified). Until this becomes available, you may request a supporting document, free of charge that will state that your sex is unspecified.
You can request the supporting document once your application has been approved and you’ve received your immigration document.
If your passport or travel document has a sex other than male (M) or female (F):
- On your application forms, identify the sex you would like displayed (M or F) until the X can be issued.
- The sex chosen (M or F) on your application will be the sex printed on your document.
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