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Sponsoring your family: Spouses and dependent children—Who can apply

Your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children may be eligible to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents.

An application for Family Class sponsorship can be made if your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children live inside or outside Canada.

The first step is for you to apply as the sponsor. Both you, as the sponsor, and your relative must meet certain requirements.

Applicants for permanent residence must go through medical, criminal and background screening. Applicants with a criminal record may not be allowed to enter Canada. People who pose a risk to Canada’s security are also not allowed to enter Canada. Applicants may have to provide a certificate from police authorities in their home country.

Sponsoring a spouse, partner or dependent child

You can sponsor a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children if you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. To be a sponsor, you must be 18 years of age or older.

You can apply as a sponsor if your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or accompanying dependent children live with you in Canada, even if they do not have legal status in Canada. However, all the other requirements must be met.

You can also apply as a sponsor if your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children live outside Canada, and if they meet all the requirements.

When you sponsor a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children to become permanent residents of Canada, you must promise to support them financially. Therefore, you have to meet certain income requirements. If you have previously sponsored relatives to come to Canada and they have later turned to the government for financial assistance, you may not be allowed to sponsor another person. Sponsorship is a big commitment, so you must take this obligation seriously.

To be a sponsor:

You and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits you to provide financial support for your relative, if necessary. This agreement also says the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support her or himself.

You must provide financial support for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years from the date they become a permanent resident.

You must provide financial support for a dependent child for 10 years, or until the child turns 25, whichever comes first.

You may not be eligible to be a sponsor if you:

failed to provide financial support you agreed to when you signed a sponsorship agreement to sponsor another relative in the past

defaulted on a court-ordered support order, such as alimony or child support

receive government financial assistance for reasons other than a disability

were convicted of an offence of a sexual nature, a violent criminal offence, an offence against a relative that results in bodily harm or an attempt or threat to commit any such offences—depending on circumstances such as the nature of the offence, how long ago it occurred and whether a record suspension (formerly called “pardons” in Canada), was issued (See Sponsorship Bar for Violent Crime below)

were previously sponsored as a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and became a permanent resident of Canada less than 5 years ago (See Five-year Sponsorship Bar for persons who were sponsored to come to Canada as a spouse or partner below)

defaulted on an immigration loan—late or missed payments

are in prison or

have declared bankruptcy and have not been released from it yet.

Other factors not included in this list might also make you ineligible to sponsor a relative.

If you live in Quebec, you must also meet Quebec’s immigration sponsorship requirements, after Citizenship and Immigration Canada approves you as a sponsor.