Guide 5525 – Basic guide: Sponsor your spouse, partner or child
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:
Use this guide to prepare both:
- your application to sponsor your spouse, partner or dependent child and
- your spouse, partner or dependent child’s application for permanent residence.
Note: If you’re applying under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class, your spouse or partner may be able to apply for an Open Work Permit. Please see the Help centre for information about open work permits for spouses and partners.
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 should normally be able to prepare your application package with all the requested documents by following the steps in this guide.
However, if you want to review more information, you can click on the various links provided in the text or get more details in the Complete guide.
You can also request this publication in another format.
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
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
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. 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 their own undertaking length.
Please see the Complete Guide for details on the length of the undertaking.
Basic needs are
- 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 during the time you are legally responsible for them. 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
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 becomes 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
- have enough income to provide for basic needs of any grandchildren (dependent children of a dependent child) of the principal applicant
If you live in Quebec, you must also meet Quebec’s conditions to be a sponsor.
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
You can sponsor a:
- common-law partner
- conjugal partner
- dependent child
To be eligible for permanent residence, the principal applicant and any dependants must not be inadmissible to Canada.
Spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner
- he or she is 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, he or she must co-habit (live) with you in Canada.
If you’re sponsoring more than one dependent child, you must submit a complete set of application forms and documents for each.
Sponsors living in Quebec
The province of Quebec has its own immigration rules. Find out how to sponsor someone if you live in Quebec.
After your application is received, we’ll send you an email or letter with instructions about how to apply to the Quebec government to become a sponsor. 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.
If you need help, contact the Quebec ministry of immigration.
Getting started on your application
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.
Your document checklist:
- 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.
Step 3: Fill out your forms
Use the checklist to prepare your forms.
For more detailed instructions for the forms, please see the Complete Guide.
Important: Declaring all your family members
If you’re applying for permanent residence in Canada, you must declare all of your family members. There are no exceptions to the requirement.
In addition, all family members must be examined as part of the process of applying for permanent residence in Canada, even if they will not come to Canada 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 at a later date. If a permanent resident doesn’t declare all their family members on their application, they could risk losing their permanent resident status.
Find more information about why you must declare all family members.
Step 4: Gather your documents
If you don’t include all the requested forms and documents listed on the checklist, we will return your application without processing it.
If you are unable to submit an item on the document checklist, you must include a detailed explanation of why you can’t submit this document so that your application isn’t returned to you as incomplete.
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.
- For any documents that are not in English or French, you must attach:
- a certified copy of the original document; and
- the English or French translation; and
- an affidavit from the person who completed the translation.
Important: Please see the Complete Guide (Section 2: Gather documents) for more detailed information about requirements for translations and certified copies of original documents.
Important notes about using the checklist:
- We’ll return applications with missing, incomplete, or unsigned forms.
- Check the country-specific requirements to see if you need to submit any original documents. 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.
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.
- 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.
The sponsored person doesn’t need to submit police certificates with their application package. If your application is accepted for processing, we’ll ask the sponsored person to submit an up-to-date background screening form and police certificate(s). Don’t wait until you receive this request to start gathering police certificate(s). You should take steps to get police certificate(s) as soon as possible to avoid processing delays. For more information, see What to expect after you submit your application.
Step 5: Check your application to avoid common mistakes
If you do not include all of the requested forms and documents listed on the checklist, your whole application will be returned to you without being processed. The application will not have a place in the processing queue and when you resubmit it, we’ll process it based on the date it was received.
Before moving on to Step 6, check to make sure you have avoided these common mistakes:
- 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, 570KB) 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, 478.72KB) and Generic Application Form for Canada [IMM 0008] (PDF, 553.83KB)).
- 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, 648.31KB). To review the instructions for this form, see Guide 5516 – Use of Representative.
- 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, 648.31KB) to authorize you as their representative.
- For example, if the person you’re sponsoring is living outside Canada, and your address in Canada is provided as the 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 documents 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.
- In some cases, the country specific requirements ask you to submit originals of certain documents (e.g. an original birth certificate). If so, you must submit the original and not a copy, even if the checklist asks for a copy.
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 should include a detailed explanation of why you can’t submit this document on a separate piece of paper 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”. 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 leave the given name field empty.
- If you don’t have a given name on your passport or travel document, leave the given name field blank.
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
- Make sure all email addresses on the forms are correct. Errors or typos will cause delays in us communicating with you, which could increase the time it takes to process your application.
- Make sure you’ve correctly typed (or clearly written) 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.
Note: providing an email address will allow us to communicate with you faster, which can speed up processing times. For more information, see Link your application.
- Remember to check for a signature block on each form and sign it.
- You may need to sign in more than one place on some forms.
- Where a date is needed, make sure you write one.
- A parent or legal guardian must sign on behalf of a dependent child under the age of 18 if they are the principal applicant being sponsored on an application.
- Use the last page of your checklist to make sure you’ve signed all the forms correctly.
If signatures are missing, we will return the application without processing it.
- When filling in the IMM 5532 – Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation form, make sure you complete all of the sections on this form. The sponsor and applicant must sign the required signature boxes on the form as follows:
The sponsor must sign these sections:
- Part A, #8
- Part C, #12
The principal applicant must sign these sections:
- Part B, #4
- Part C, #13
Important: If you do not complete and sign this form in the correct places, we will return your application without processing it.
Important information about 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.
- A Canadian citizen is not eligible to be sponsored.
- If you already have proof of Canadian citizenship for your child, you are encouraged to include 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 you don’t have proof of Canadian citizenship for your child, 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 found not to be a Canadian citizen, you’ll need to add them as a dependent on the sponsorship undertaking signed for your spouse or partner.
Important: If you’ve submitted an application for a proof of citizenship for your child, and it hasn’t been finalized, please provide details in a letter and include it as part of your application so that we can check the status.
Note: Your application won’t be returned to you if you choose not to submit the documents mentioned in this section. However, providing these documents will help avoid processing delays and also help confirm that your child has the right documents.
Validate your forms
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, any missing information will be identified by a pop-up error message or a red square around the fields that need to be completed. 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 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):
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.
Spouse, partner or children
We recommend you pay the right of permanent resident fee (CAN$490) now to avoid future delays. You’ll have to pay it before you become a permanent resident. This fee is refundable if you don’t become a permanent resident.
|Application||Number of Applications||Price (CAN$)/ Application||Amount due|
|Sponsor your spouse or partner
Sponsorship fee ($75), principal applicant processing fee ($475) and right of permanent residence ($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
Sponsor only a dependent child ($75 sponsorship fee and $75 processing fee) or include one on an application with your spouse or partner ($150)
|x $150(per child)|
Your dependent children don’t need to pay the right of permanent residence fee. This includes any dependent child sponsored as a principal applicant.
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 always 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
Send the application package with all the requested documents to the appropriate address below.
Pick the correct mailing address
Application for spouses, common-law partners or conjugal partners and dependent children (currently living outside Canada):
P.O. Box 3000, Station A
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.
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, use this address instead (no public drop-offs):
Case Processing Centre – Mississauga
2 Robert Speck Parkway, Suite 300
Find out when we get your family class sponsorship package.
As of September 30, 2017 this service will no longer be available. If you enroll on or before this date, you will still receive a text message.
What to expect after you submit your application
Communication with IRCC
It’s important to make sure that we always have your, or your representative’s most current contact information, including:
- phone numbers,
- email addresses, and
- mailing addresses.
We’ll send time-sensitive and official correspondence to the contact information we have on file.
Please note that when you authorize the use of a representative, they’ll receive all correspondence about the application.
If you provide an e-mail address, we’ll communicate with you by e-mail instead of by mail. Make sure you check your spam folder in case our messages are sent there.
If we send you a request and need a response from you, you must answer within the timeframe provided.
To make communication easier, more secure, and quicker, we strongly recommend that you or your representative (if applicable) create an online account and link your paper application to that account. This will allow you or your representative to get more detailed application status information and to receive mail from us online. Get more information about how to link your paper application to your online account.
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.
If you or your representative link your application to an online account, we’ll send all correspondence through that account.
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.
We’ll assess your eligibility to sponsor and you’ll also get an email or letter advising you of the decision.
- If your sponsorship undertaking is approved, the application for permanent residence will be sent to a processing office for further review, once the principal applicant submits a completed Background/Declaration form (IMM 5669).
- If your sponsorship undertaking is refused, you’ll get an email or letter explaining why.
- If you choose to go ahead with the sponsorship even if you are found ineligible to sponsor, the whole application package will be sent to a processing office for further review.
Applicants (person being sponsored)
Once your sponsor is found to be eligible, we’ll send you (or your authorized representative, if you have one) an acknowledgement of receipt 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.
The section below explains what you or your representative should do after getting this email or letter.
Link your application
For faster processing times and more secure service, you (or your authorized paid representative) should link your paper application to an online account within seven calendar days of receiving the acknowledgement of receipt letter.
To receive the acknowledgement of receipt letter quickly, we strongly encourage you to provide an email address for the principal applicant or their representative. If not, we’ll mail a letter to the principal applicant at their mailing address. If the principal applicant is living overseas, we’ll mail this letter to their address outside of Canada (if applicable).
Once you link your application, we’ll use this secure online account to communicate with you or your representative.
Note: You can only link your application to one account at a time. If you have an authorized paid representative, you can’t link your application to your own online account. Your representative must link your application to their account instead using our Portal for Paid Representatives (see below for more information). If you have a representative, you should ask them for updates about your application.
Creating an online account and linking your application reduces communication time, which will reduce the time it takes to process your application. If you don’t link your paper application to an online account, it may increase your processing time.
- 1. Apply on paper
- 2. We send you instructions by mail or email to create an online account
- 3. Create your online account
- 4. Link your application to your account
- 5. Get updates and messages about your application online
If you don’t have an authorized paid representative
You’ll need the following details from your application to link to your online account:
- Category of application (i.e. permanent residence)
- Family class subcategory:
- Common-law partner
- Conjugal partner
- Dependent children
- Application number (will be provided in your acknowledgement of receipt)
- Family name
- City and country or territory of birth
- Passport details: number, country of issuance, date of issue, and date of expiry
- Intended place of residence in Canada: city, town or village, and province
- Current marital status (as listed on application)
- Number of family members (including the principal applicant and the sponsor) included in the application. Example: You and your child are being sponsored by your spouse. You should enter “3” as the number of family members (you, your child, and your sponsor).
Important: When linking your application, you’ll need to enter the information exactly as you typed it into your application forms. If you included an extra space at the end of a line (for example, if you typed your passport number and then added a space) you’ll need to enter the space when you try to link your application.
Our Help Centre has information to help you with linking your application:
- How do I link my paper application to my online account to check my status?
- When trying to link my application to my online account, it says there are no matches. What’s going on?
- What happens after I link my application to my online account?
After linking your application, check your online account for additional information we need to process your application.
If you link your application within 7 days, you’ll find the following in your account:
- a request to complete and submit a background information form, known as Schedule A.
- a request to submit a police certificates.
You may also see a request for other documents or information specific to your situation. We can’t complete processing without the requested information.
- For each item, a button will appear in your account where you can upload the requested documents or information. Check to make sure you’re uploading the right document into the correct box.
- When you successfully upload a document, you’ll get an electronic confirmation message. Your documents or information will be added directly to your application.
If you haven’t linked your application after seven days, we’ll send you an email or letter asking for the requested documents. If you’ve received this letter, it means you are no longer be able to upload the documents through your online account, even if you link your application at this time. However, we recommend that you still link your application to an online account so that you can receive and respond to any follow-up correspondence we send you.
The deadline for submitting the information or documents will be the same, even if you choose not to use your online account or communicate by email. Failure to respond to a request to submit documents within the timeframe provided could result in the refusal of your application.
If you have an authorized paid representative
A representative is someone who gives advice, consultation, or guidance to you at any stage of the application process. If you’re being represented, a Use of a Representative [IMM 5476] (PDF, 648.31KB) must be signed by both the representative and any sponsor or applicant over the age of 18 who is being represented. For more information, see the instructions for the use of a Representative.
Only an authorized paid representative can access our Portal for Paid Representatives (see below for more information). If you or any of your family members are using an unpaid representative, they must use another means of communication.
Important: You can’t link your application to your own online account if you have an authorized paid representative. Your representative must complete this step.
When your authorized paid representative receives the acknowledgement of receipt email or letter, they can use our Portal for Paid Representatives to link your application to their account. The user guide for the portal has information for your representative about how to do this.
For faster processing, your representative should link your application to their representative account within seven calendar days of receiving the letter of acknowledgement. We’ll communicate with your representative through this secure method after they link your application to their account.
Using online services is faster and more secure, and will ensure that your representative receives any correspondence from us almost immediately after it’s sent. It’ll also allow us to input any responses directly into your application for timely review.
Your representative should check the portal for the following items shortly after linking your application:
- a request for you to complete and submit a background information form, known as Schedule A.
- a request for you to submit a police certificates.
Your representative may also see a request for other documents or information specific to your situation. We can’t complete processing without this information.
If your representative hasn’t linked your application after seven days, an email or letter will be sent to them asking for the requested documents. Your representative must submit the information or documents on your behalf by the same deadline whether your application is linked to their online account or not.
Sponsored spouses, partners and dependent children don’t have to include police certificates with their application package.
Once the application is being processed, we’ll ask for police certificates from:
- the principal applicant
- any family members over the age of 18 (whether they will accompany the principal applicant to Canada or not).
This is used to help assess admissibility.
When we ask you for police certificates at this stage, you’ll have to submit them for:
- the country where you currently live, if you have lived there for six months or more; and
- the country where you’ve spent most of your adult life since the age of 18.
The same applies to all family members who need to submit a police certificate.
Find more information about police certificates.
After we review your application, we’ll contact you if we need more police certificates to process your application.
If you (or your family members) can’t get a police certificate for the two situations above, you must explain in writing why you can’t provide one. You should also include any supporting documents you already have to support your explanation. We’ll review your explanation and let you know if we need anything else.
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 so, 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.
We encourage you to get your police certificates in advance to avoid delays. You can submit police certificates with your application (if you have them), even though you don’t need to do this for your application to be considered “complete”.
Submit your Schedule A – Background / Declaration (IMM 5669)
All applicants over the age of 18 (and any applicant under the age of 18 who is specifically requested in writing to do so) must submit this form once we accept their application for processing. You’ll be asked to submit this form within 30 days of the date of the acknowledgement of receipt, whether you are submitting it electronically through an online account or by other means. Failure to provide this form within the timeframe given may result in delays or the refusal of your application.
To speed up processing and avoid delays, we strongly recommend that you submit the form online.
Submit through your online account (recommended)
- On your application forms, provide an email address where we can send you the acknowledgement of receipt and invitation to create an online account.
- fill out the Schedule A form electronically while waiting for your acknowledgement of receipt
- make sure you validate the form before submitting it.
- save a validated copy so it’s ready to upload to your online account after your application is linked
- when you receive your acknowledgement of receipt letter, create an online account and link your paper application to this account
- upload the document electronically through your online account or (if you have an authorized paid representative) through the representative portal
Submit by mail or Webform
If you choose not to link your application to an online account, you can submit this form
- in paper format by mail, or
- using our webform. When completing the webform, choose “Sponsorship” as the type of application.
If you’re submitting the form by mail or webform, you can fill out the form on your computer (recommended) or by hand.
If you’re filling it out on the computer:
- validate the form to make sure it’s complete
- in the signature section, type your name and select the date using the date selection tool.
- print out the form and sign in writing (provide your original handwritten signature) next to your name in the signature box.
- if you don’t sign and date the form according to these instructions, it will not be accepted and will be returned to you.
Note: If you’re filling out this form on a computer, you should still validate the form before submitting it to us, even if you aren’t submitting it through an online account.
If you are filling the form out by hand: In the signature section, sign your name and complete the date so we can clearly read it. If you don’t sign and date the form, it will not be accepted and will be returned to you.
When you are completing your personal history, don’t leave any gaps in time. Complete and detailed information about your personal history is required to assess your admissibility to Canada. Pay close attention to questions 6 and 9. Gaps in time and unclear or unspecific information could cause delays or lead to the refusal of your application.
See example of a complete answer below:
|From (YYYY-MM)||To (YYYY-MM)||Activity Type||Job/Activity
|City/town and Country||Status in Country||Name of company, employer, school etc.|
|2015-05||2016-01||Employment||Salesperson||Ottawa, Canada||Work visa||XYZ Company|
|2009-01||2014-01||Educational Activity||student||Toronto, Canada||Study visa||University of Toronto|
|2007-11||2008-12||Unemployed||vacation||Toronto, Canada||Visitor visa|
|2006-01||2007-10||Educational Activity||student||Beijing, China||citizen||ABC high school|
Do your medical exam
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 your ability to sponsor them in the future.
After you’ve linked your application, you’ll be able to check to see if you (and your family members, if applicable) have received a request to do your medical exams. If you get a request for a medical exam through your online account, it will include instructions about what to do. You’ll need to print the form and the instructions for each person.
You shouldn’t be concerned if you don’t receive a request to do your medical exam immediately after you link your application. 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.
If you or your representative do not link your application, we’ll send the request for your medical exam by email or by mail.
Once you get a request for a medical exam, you must:
- make sure you bring the IMM 1017 form with you to your exam. This will ensure you aren’t asked to do medical tests that aren’t needed to process your application and that there are no issues linking medical results to your application
- do the medical exam within 30 days of medical instructions being issued to you.
Important notice about misrepresentation
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 information in your background declaration (IMM 5669 – Schedule A). It also includes any other information you submit in support of your application during processing. 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.
Important notice about complying with officer requests in a timely manner
To make sure your application is processed as quickly as possible, and to make sure you aren’t refused for not complying with requests for information by the deadline provided, you must submit requested documents within timeframes given. If you need more time to provide information, you must ask for an extension in writing within the set timeframe and explain why you’re unable to comply with our requests. The same applies to other requests, such as the request to do a medical exam.
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 also 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 it 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.
Requests for additional documents or information
We may ask you to submit more documents at a later date if we need more information to assess your application. 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.
If you don’t respond to a request for information, your application may be refused.
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:
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
Dependants must continue to meet these requirements until they enter Canada.
If we received your permanent residence application on or before October 23, 2017, a previous definition of dependent children may apply.
Not sure which type of dependant your child is? Check if your child qualifies as a dependant by answering a few questions.
See section 2 of the IRPR for the legal definition.
- 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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