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Family Class Sponsorship

Family Class immigrants are people sponsored to come to, or remain in Canada by a relative who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. Your relatives can live, study and work in Canada if they become permanent residents of Canada. You can sponsor certain relatives to come to Canada if you’re at least 18 years old and a: Canadian citizen 

What does family class mean?

family class can be defined as a class of persons who may become permanent residents on the basis of the requirements provided under the Act. Members of the family class include: … A relative, if there is no member of the family class who is a Canadian citizen, Indian or permanent resident or who could be sponsored.


You can sponsor the following persons and their dependent children (21 or younger) for Canadian Permanent Residence

  • Spouse (husband, wife, partner- marriage must be legally recognized)
  • Common-law Partner (person you are living with but not married to)
  • Conjugal Partner (if your partner does not qualify under the Spouse or Common-Law category but you are in a committed relationship equal to that of a marriage for at least 1 year.There must be extenuating circumstances why you cannot live together- job location, studying abroad, inability to obtain visa to Canada are NOT good enough reasons)

Canada recognizes same-sex marriages and partners and are eligible to apply under these 3 categories.

There are 2 types of applications for Spouse and Common-Law Sponsorship

1. Outland Spousal Sponsorship:  your application will be processed through the visa office in the sponsored spouse’s country of citizenship or where they legally reside (if outside Canada).  If you and your Spouse/Common-law partner live together in Canada, you can still apply under this category.  Applying under this category will make you eligible to Appeal a refusal. You will not have rights to appeal for an Inland Spousal Application.

2. Inland Spousal Sponsorship (Spouse or Common-Law in-Canada category): your application will be processed in Canada and you and your sponsor MUST live together.  The person being sponsored MUST have temporary status in Canada as a worker, student, or visitor.  The person being sponsored may be eligible for an Open Work Permit.

To be eligible to be a Sponsor
  • You must be a Canadian Citizen, or Permanent Resident (living in Canada)
  • You must be 18 years of age or older
  • You cannot be in prison, bankrupt, under a removal order (if a permanent resident) or charged with a serious offence
  • You, yourself, cannot have been sponsored to Canada as a spouse within the last 5 years.
To be eligible to be sponsored by a Sponsor
  • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • You must not be too closely related by blood to the Sponsor
Requirements that must be met in order to qualify for Sponsorship under the 3 categories
  • Your relationship is genuine (real) and was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring Permanent Residence
  • If your spouse or common-law partner is applying in the Spouse or Common-law Partner “In Canada class”, he or she must cohabit (live) with you in Canada 
Requirements AFTER sponsorship
  • The sponsor is financially responsible for the person sponsored for three years after the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident.
  • Individuals who come to Canada as spouses are themselves barred from sponsoring a spouse in turn for five years after receiving Canadian permanent residence.

How do I sponsor a spouse, common-law partner or dependent child from inside Canada?

Sponsor Eligibility

You may be eligible to sponsor a spouse or common-law partner or accompanying dependent child from inside Canada if:

  • You are 18 years of age or older;
  • You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • The person you want to sponsor qualifies as a spouse or common-law partner or accompanying dependent child, in-Canada class;
  • You live in Canada and continue to live in Canada after the sponsored person gets permanent resident status;
  • You and your spouse or common-law partner both sign an agreement confirming that each of you understands your obligations and responsibilities;
  • You sign an undertaking promising to provide for the basic needs of your spouse, common-law partner or accompanying dependent child; and
  • You prove that you have sufficient income to provide basic requirements for any dependent child. This requirement applies only when you apply to sponsor a dependent child who has dependent children of their own.
    To do this, you must provide documents that show your financial resources for the past 12 months.

How do I sponsor a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent child living outside of Canada?

Sponsor Eligibility

You may be eligible to sponsor a spouse or a common-law or conjugal partner or dependent children living outside of Canada if:

  • The person you want to sponsor is a member of the family class. If he or she is not, you will not to be able to sponsor them.
  • You are 18 years of age or older;
  • You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • You reside in Canada.
  • If you are a Canadian citizen not residing in Canada, you may sponsor your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and/or dependent children who have no dependent children of their own. You must demonstrate that you will live in Canada once they become a permanent resident. Find out more.
  • You sign an undertaking promising to provide for the basic requirements of the person being sponsored and, if applicable, their dependent children. Find out more.
  • You and the person being sponsored sign an agreement that confirms that each of you understands your mutual obligations and responsibilities.
Important Notes:

As of April 28, 2017, IRCC has eliminated the Conditional Permanent Residence rule for spousal and partner sponsorships.


How do I sponsor parents, grandparents, adopted children and other relatives?

Sponsor Eligibility

You may be eligible to sponsor adopted children and other relatives if:

  • The person you want to sponsor is a member of the family class. If they are not, you will be not be able to sponsor them;
  • You are 18 years of age or older;
  • You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • You reside in Canada;
  • You sign an undertaking promising to provide for the basic needs of the person being sponsored and, if applicable, his or her family members;
  • You and the sponsored person sign an agreement that confirms that each of you understands your mutual obligations and responsibilities; and
  • You meet the necessary income requirement that the Canadian government determines each year. This is currently the “Low Income Cut Off” or “LICO” for sponsoring adopted children and 30% more than “LICO” for parents and grandparents.
    The income requirement doesn’t apply if you are sponsoring a child who does not have any children of his/her own.

The LICO income is based on your Gross Annual Income. You have to provide Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) with documents that show your financial resources from the past 12 months and prove you are financially able to sponsor members of the family class. You may get the help of a co-signer.

You may not be eligible to sponsor if you:

  • Receive social assistance other than disability assistance
  • Are in default of an undertaking, an immigration loan, a performance bond, or family support payments
  • Are an undischarged bankruptcy
  • Have been convicted of a crime causing bodily harm to a relative
  • Are under a removal order
  • Are detained in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison

Who is eligible to be sponsored?

You can sponsor relatives or family members under this class if they are:

  • A child whom you adopted outside Canada and you were a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada at the time the adoption took place, or a child whom you intend to adopt in Canada
  • Your brother or sister, nephew or niece, grandson or granddaughter, if they are an orphan, under 18 years of age and they do not have a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner.
  • Any other person with whom you have a family relationship if you do not have a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, son, daughter, mother, father, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew who is a Canadian citizen, a registered Indian, a permanent resident or whom you may sponsor
  • Your parents or grandparents

Who is a dependent child?

Important Note: As of October 24, 2017, a dependent child must be under the age of 22, according to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada.

For sponsorship purposes, a dependent child may be your own child or those of the person you are sponsoring. According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, they must:

  • Be under the age of 22 and not a spouse or common-law partner; 
  • Or

  • Have depended substantially on the financial support of a parent since before the age of 22 and unable to provide for themselves due to a medical condition.

To sponsor Family Members, sponsors MUST meet or exceed the Minimum Necessary Income Level (MNI)

This requirement is to ensure sponsors are able to financially support the family members they wish to sponsor and bring to Canada.

The minimum necessary income required varies, depending on the number of family members you support in Canada, the number of family members you wish to sponsor, and where you live (Quebec or the other Canadian provinces).

For all Provinces except Quebec:

To be eligible to sponsor your Parents or Grandparents, you MUST exceed the MNI for each of the last 3 years. If applying in 2017, your income in 2014, 2015 and 2016 must exceed the corresponding MNI for 2014, 2015, 2016 each income year must be matched with the MNI year.

Please Note: The MNI & Income matching is always using numbers starting from 1 year before the actual year you are applying since there is a time lag in processing tax returns. For 2018, you use numbers for 2017, 2016, 2015.

To be eligible to sponsor all other family members besides parents and grandparents, your income for the one previous year must exceed the MNI for the previous year.  You only are required to exceed the MNI for the most recent year and not for the 3 previous years as the case with sponsoring parents and grandparents. If applying in 2018, this would be 2017 income and MNI.

The MNI is calculated as the LICO (Lower Income Cut-off) PLUS 30%.

Minimum Necessary Income tables for 2018:

Family Members MNI2017 MNI2016 MNI2015
2 persons $39,813 $39,371 $38,618
3 persons $48,945 $48,404 $47,476
4 persons $59,426 $58,768 $57,642
5 persons $67,400 $66,654 $65,377
6 persons $76,015 $75,174 $73,733
7 persons $84,631 $83,695 $82,091
Each additional person $8,616 $8,522 $8,358

Quebec MNI used for applying in 2018:

Sponsors living in Quebec must meet a different set of MNI requirements.  In order to be eligible to sponsor, you must have income in the previous 12 months greater than the required income calculated by the tables below.

Number of current Family Members MNI 2018
1 person $23,483
2 persons $31,699
3 persons $39,137
4 persons $45,012
5 persons $50,096
More than 5 persons, for each additional person add $5,084

PLUS the table below for the appropriate number of family members you wish to sponsor

Additional income required of the sponsor to satisfy the basic needs of the sponsored person and his or her family members

Number of persons 18 years of age or over Number of persons under 18 years Gross annual income required of the sponsor
1 $8,128
2 $12,883

The gross annual income required increases by $4,296 for each additional person under 18 years of age.

Number of persons 18 years of age or over Number of persons under 18 years Gross annual income required of the sponsor
1 $17,176
1 1 $23,077
1 2 $26,058

The gross annual income required increases by $2,979 for each additional person under 18 years of age.

Number of persons 18 years of age or over Number of persons under 18 years Gross annual income required of the sponsor
2 $25,188
2 1 $28,216
2 2 $30,461
The gross annual income required increases by $2,236 for each additional person under 18 years of age and by $8,008 for each additional person 18 years of age or older.

If you are intrested to immigrate to Canada, fill out our online assessment form.

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