A cornerstone of the Canadian immigration program is family reunification. It allows Canadians and permanent residents to sponsor qualified family members to come and live in Canada, permanently.


You can become a sponsor if you are:

  • at least 18 years old, a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a person in Canada under the Indian Act.
  • You can’t sponsor someone if you are a permanent resident living outside Canada.
  • You must 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.

Sponsorship obligations

When you agree to sponsor, you sign an undertaking, promising to give financial support for the basic needs of the people you’re sponsoring, and any of their dependent children for up to ten years.

Bars to sponsorship

You can’t be a sponsor if you have failed to pay an immigration loan, a performance bond, or, 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)
  • 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

You can’t sponsor a spouse or partner if you:

  • were sponsored by a spouse or partner and you became a permanent resident less than 5 years ago
  • sponsored a previous spouse or partner and three years have not passed since this person became a permanent resident


To be eligible for permanent residence, the principal applicant and any dependants must not be inadmissible to Canada.

You can sponsor your spousecommon-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.

Biometrics (fingerprints and photo)

You and your family members may need to appear in person to have their fingerprints and photograph (biometric information) taken at a biometric collection service point.

Stevens and Associates have decades of experience helping Canadians and permanent residents to sponsor their family members. If you feel you qualify as a sponsor and want bring your family members to Canada, please complete our basic information form and send it to us for a free assessment.