Who can apply to sponsor spouses, partners or children

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

You can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner if:

  • 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.

Dependent child

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.

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.

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