Immigration Categories

Family Sponsorships

Family reunification is an important component of Canada's immigration agenda. Of the 262,236 immigrant visas granted in 2005, over 63,300 visas were allocated to family sponsorship under the Family Class program.

Canada's current Immigration Plan sets out a long range goal of welcoming approximately 67,000 to 69,000 Family Class Visa Applicants per year. You will have several valuable entitlements as a Family Visa holder, including the right to live, work and study in Canada as you see fit, and eventually the ability to move towards permanent residency. The Family Visa allows for Canadian citizens or Permanent Resident relatives, aged 18 years and over to sponsor close family members living abroad like: spouses, common law, conjugal partners, children, parents and adopted children.

Family Class Immigrants are sponsored for a Canadian Immigrant Visa by a close relative who is either a Canadian citizen or a Canadian permanent resident. The Canadian relative is known as the Sponsor.

To qualify as a Family Class Immigrant, an applicant must be the Canadian Sponsor's:

    spouse; or
    common-law partner; or
    parent or grandparent; or
    dependent child; or
    orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece, or grandchild (under 18 and unmarried).

Also included are children under 18 who are either orphaned or placed with a child welfare authority for adoption and who the Sponsor intends to adopt. If the Sponsor has no relative as listed above and no relatives who are Canadian citizens or Canadian permanent residents, he or she may sponsor one other relative.

The Sponsor must be able to demonstrate the financial ability to provide for the essential needs of the Family Class Immigrant and dependents. The financial ability requirements are eased when sponsoring a spouse and/or an unmarried child(ren) under 18 years old.

The Sponsor must enter into an agreement with the Government of Canada (or the Government of Quebec, if that is where the Sponsor resides) whereby he or she agrees to provide for the essential needs of the Family Class Immigrant and dependents for a prescribed period of time. Failure to meet any of the commitments provided for in this agreement could result in legal action being taken against the Sponsor.

The Sponsor must be: a Canadian citizen or permanent resident; at least 18 years old; physically residing in Canada (or able to demonstrate an intention to reside in Canada by the time the sponsored family member lands in Canada); not in prison; not bankrupt; and not under a removal (deportation) order if a permanent resident.