Who is eligible to sponsor their spouse, partner or child

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Who is eligible to sponsor their spouse, partner or child

You can sponsor your spouse, partner or dependent child if:

  • You’re at least 18 years old
  • You’re a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
    • If you’re a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when the persons you want to sponsor become permanent residents.
    • You can’t sponsor someone if you’re a permanent resident living outside Canada.
  • You’re able to prove that you’re not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability
  • you can provide for the basic needs of any persons you want to sponsor

If you live outside Quebec

To become a sponsor, you must promise to financially take care of the persons you are sponsoring for a period of time. We call this promise an undertaking.

The undertaking commits you to:

  • providing financial support for your sponsored family members, starting when they become permanent residents
  • repaying any provincial social assistance your sponsored family members get during that time

Also, you and your sponsored family members need to agree to certain responsibilities during the undertaking period. We call this the sponsorship agreement.

The sponsorship agreement means that:

  • you’ll provide for the basic needs of your sponsored family members
  • the person you sponsor will make every effort to support themselves and their family members

When you apply, you’ll have to complete and sign a form that includes the undertaking and the sponsorship agreement.

Income requirement

In most cases, there isn’t an income requirement to sponsor your spouse or partner or dependent child. You only need to show that you have enough money to meet the income requirements if:

  • you’re sponsoring a dependent child that has 1 or more dependent children of their own, or
  • you’re sponsoring a spouse or partner that has a dependent child, and their dependent child has 1 or more children of their own.

The Financial Evaluation form instructions explain how much money you’ll need and how to fill out the form.

You’ll get the form when you download your application package.

If you live in Quebec

You must meet Quebec’s immigration sponsorship requirements after we approve you as a sponsor. You must sign an undertaking with the province of Quebec.

The Quebec ministry in charge of immigration will assess your income.

Who can’t sponsor their spouse, partner or child

You can’t sponsor your spouse, partner or child if:

  • you’re less than 18 years old
  • you won’t live in Canada when the persons you want to sponsor become permanent residents
  • you’re not a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
  • you’re a temporary resident, that is you’re visiting, studying or working in Canada on a visa or permit
  • your permanent residence application is still in process
    • You must have permanent resident status at the time you submit your sponsorship application.
  • you don’t have enough money to support the persons you want to sponsor (if applicable)

You may not be eligible to sponsor your spouse, partner if you:

  • were sponsored by a spouse or partner and you became a permanent resident less than 5 years ago
  • are still financially responsible for a previous spouse or partner that you sponsored. This means you’re still bound by the 3 year undertaking to take care of this person.

You may not be eligible to sponsor your spouse, partner or child if you:

  • you have already applied to sponsor the spouse, parent or child you are currently seeking to sponsor and a decision on that application hasn’t been made
  • are in jail, prison, or a penitentiary
  • didn’t pay back:
    • an immigration loan
    • a performance bond
    • court-ordered family support payments such as alimony or child support (not applicable if you live in Quebec)
  • didn’t give the financial support you agreed to when you signed a sponsorship agreement to sponsor someone else in the past (not applicable if you live in Quebec)
  • declared bankruptcy and are not discharged (not applicable if you live in Quebec)
  • receive social assistance for a reason other than a disability
  • you were convicted of attempting, threatening to commit or committing a violent criminal offence, any offence against a relative or any sexual offence inside or outside Canada
  • can’t legally stay in Canada and must leave the country because you received a Removal Order

There may be other reasons that make you ineligible to sponsor your spouse, partner or child. If we determine you’re not eligible to sponsor, we’ll tell you why.

Read more about eligibility requirements in the complete instruction guide.

Who you can sponsor

You can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner or dependent children.

Your spouse

Your spouse can be either sex and must be:

  • legally married to you
  • at least 18 years old

Your common-law partner

Your common-law partner:

  • isn’t legally married to you
  • can be either sex
  • is at least 18 years old
  • has been living with you for at least 12 consecutive months, meaning you’ve been living together continuously for 1 year in a conjugal relationship, without any long periods apart
    • Any time spent away from each other should have been
      • short
      • temporary

If you or your common-law partner choose to end the relationship, we consider the relationship to be over.

You’ll need to give proof of your common-law relationship.

Your conjugal partner

Your conjugal partner:

  • isn’t legally married to you or in a common-law relationship with you
  • can be either sex
  • is at least 18 years old
  • has been in a relationship with you for at least 1 year
  • lives outside Canada
  • can't live with you in their country of residence or marry you because of significant legal and immigration reasons such as
    • their marital status (for example, they’re still married to someone else in a country where divorce isn’t possible)
    • their sexual orientation (for example, you are in a same-sex relationship, and same-sex relationships are not accepted, or same-sex marriage is illegal where they live),
    • persecution (for example, your relationship is between different religious groups which is not accepted and they may be punished legally or socially)

You’ll need to give proof that you could not live together or get married in your conjugal partner’s country (for example, proof of refused long-term stays in each other’s country).

Dependent children

Children qualify as dependants if they meet both of these requirements:

  • they’re under 22 years old
  • 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 are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition
  • they have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22

With the exception of age, your dependent child must continue to meet these requirements until we finish processing your application.

Use our online tool to check if a child qualifies as a dependant.

If they qualify as a dependent child, you can sponsor

  • your own child
    • If you’re a Canadian citizen, your child may also be a Canadian citizen, even if they weren’t born in Canada. You can’t sponsor your child for permanent residence if they’re Canadian citizens already. Check if your child is already a Canadian citizen. 
    • If you’re sponsoring just your child, without sponsoring your spouse or partner, you’ll name your child as the principal applicant in the application. You’ll have to show that the other parent or legal guardian agrees to your child immigrating to Canada. See your checklist for what you’ll need to provide.
    • If the child you want to sponsor has a child of their own (your grandchild), you’ll include your grandchild as a dependant in the application.
    • If you want to sponsor your adopted child or an orphaned family member, follow the instructions to sponsor your adopted child or orphaned family member instead.
  • your spouse or partner and their child
    • If you’re sponsoring your spouse or partner and a child (either their own child or a child you’ve had together), you’ll name your spouse or partner as the principal applicant and the child as the dependant in the application.
    • If the child you want to sponsor has a child of their own, you’ll include the grandchild as a dependant in the application.

Eligibility of the people you’re sponsoring

To show they meet the eligibility requirements, your spouse, partner, dependent child and their dependent children (if applicable) must provide:

  • all required forms and documents with their application
  • any additional information we request during processing, including

You can’t sponsor someone who is inadmissible to Canada. This means they’re not allowed to come to Canada.

Read more about eligibility requirements in the instruction guide.

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