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Sponsor your spouse, partner or child

Sponsor your spouse, partner or child

October 13, 2019

Before you start

Prepare your application package by following the guidelines and referring to instructions on your checklist. You do not need to hire a representative for this immigration process. However, if you are, they must be someone who is authorized to give you advice, help with your forms, communicate on your behalf, and/or represent you

Most law societies let you check online to see if a person is a member in good standing. If he or she is not a member in good standing, you should not use the services.

Representatives could be:

  • Authorized paid representatives:
    • Citizenship or immigration consultants
    • Lawyers
  • Unpaid representatives or third parties:
    • Friends
    • Family members or
    • Other third parties

You are responsible for all the information in your application, even if your representative completes it for you. So, be careful with  representatives who:

  • Advertise their services as free and later ask you to pay a fee
  • Advise you to lie on your application

Now, let’s move on with the formal application. 


Who can become a sponsor? 

You are eligible to sponsor your spouse, partner or dependent child if you are:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered under the Canadian Indian Act
    • If you are a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show your plan to live in Canada when the sponsored persons become permanent residents.
    • Sponsorship is not allowed for permanent residents living outside Canada.
  • Able to prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability 
  • Able to provide the basic needs to any person you sponsor

If you live outside Quebec, you must financially take care of the sponsored persons for a while as an undertaking (detail number is at the table below). It starts on the day the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident.

The length of the undertaking depends on:

  • The age of the person you sponsor
  • Their relationship to you, and
  • Where you live.

The undertaking commits you to:

  • Provide financial support for your sponsored family members, starting when they become permanent residents
  • Repay any provincial social assistance they get during that time

Here is detail number for the length of undertaking:

  • Length of undertaking in all provinces except Quebec:
    • Spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner: 3 years
    • Child under 13 years of age: 10 years
    • Child 13 to 19 years old: until age 22
    • Child over 19 years of age: 3 years
    • Parent or grandparent: 20 years
    • Other relatives: 10 years
  • Length of undertaking in Quebec
    • Spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner: 3 years
    • Child under 13 years of age: 10 years, or until age 18, whichever is longer
    • Child 13 to 19 years old: 3 years, or until age 22, whichever is longer
    • Child over 19 years of age: 3 years, or until age 22, whichever is longer
    • Parent or grandparent: 10 years
    • Other relatives: 10 years

Also, you and your sponsored family members need to agree on certain responsibilities during the undertaking period as a sponsorship agreement. It means:

  • you will provide the basic needs for your sponsored family members
  • the sponsored person will support themselves and their family members

When you apply, you have to complete and sign a form for the undertaking and the sponsorship agreement. However, make sure that those you sponsor will not ask the government for financial help. If they receive social assistance, you will need to pay back what they received. You will not be able to sponsor anyone else until you have repaid the amount.


Income requirement

In most cases, there is not an income requirement to sponsor your spouse or partner or dependent child. You only need to meet the income requirements, proving that you have enough money if you sponsor:

  • A dependent child whose 1 or more dependent children of their own, or
  • A spouse or partner whose 1 dependent child and their dependent child have 1 or more children of their own.

The Financial Evaluation form (IMM 1283) will help you assess whether you have the financial ability to support the sponsored persons. It is included in the application package when you download it.

Quebec residents, however, do not need to complete this form. You must meet Quebec’s immigration sponsorship requirements instead.


Who cannot become a sponsor? 

You are ineligible to sponsor your spouse, partner or child if you:

  • Are less than 18 years old
  • Will not live in Canada when the sponsored person become permanent residents
  • Are not Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered under the Canadian Indian Act
  • Are a temporary resident (visiting, studying or working in Canada on a visa or permit)
  • Whose permanent residence application is still in the process
  • Do not have enough money to support the sponsored person (if applicable)

You may not sponsor your spouse, partner if you:

  • Were sponsored and became a permanent resident less than 5 years ago
  • Are financially responsible for a previous spouse or partner that you sponsored.

You may not sponsor your spouse, partner or child if you:

  • Have already applied to sponsor and a decision on that has not been made
  • Are in jail, prison, or a penitentiary
  • Did not payback:
    • an immigration loan
    • a performance bond
    • court-ordered family support payments (not applicable in Quebec)
  • Did not give the financial support on a sponsorship agreement (not applicable in Quebec)
  • Declared bankruptcy and are not discharged (not applicable in Quebec)
  • Receive social assistance for a reason other than a disability
  • Were convicted of attempting, threatening to commit or committing a violent criminal offense, an offense against a relative or any sexual offense inside or outside Canada
  • Cannot legally stay in Canada because of a Removal Order

Who you can sponsor?

You can sponsor your:

  1. Spouse
  2. Common-law partner
  3. Conjugal partner or 
  4. Dependent children

To be eligible for permanent residence, the principal applicant and any dependants must not be inadmissible to Canada, meaning they are not allowed to come to Canada.

The specific requirements to be sponsored of each category:

1. Your spouse:

  • Is legally married to you
  • Can be either sex
  • At least 18 years old

2. Your common-law partner:

  • Is not legally married to you
  • Can be either sex
  • Is at least 18 years old
  • Has been living with you for at least 12 months, in a conjugal relationship, without any long periods apart (the time spent away from each other should have been short and temporary).

You will also need to give proof of your common-law relationship with items, such as:

  • Shared ownership of residential property
  • Joint leases or rental agreements
  • Bills for shared utility accounts (gas, electricity, telephone, and joint utility accounts)
  • Important documents showing the same address for both of you (driver’s licenses and insurance policies)
  • Identification documents

Do not send videos or CD-ROMs. Photos, telephone bills, or letters, will not be returned. Only original documents (marriage certificates and passports) will. However, you should send certified photocopies unless your checklist or country-specific requirements ask for originals.

Besides, if your spouse or common-law partner is applying in the Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada class, he or she must live with you in Canada.

3. Your conjugal partner:

  • Is not legally married to you or in a common-law relationship with you
  • Can be either sex
  • Is at least 18 years old
  • Has been in a relationship with you for at least 1 year
  • Lives outside Canada
  • Cannot marry or live with you in their country because of legal and immigration reasons (their marital status, sexual orientation, and persecution) 

You will need to give proof that you could not live together or get married in your conjugal partner’s country.

4. Dependent children:

Children qualify as dependants if they meet both of these requirements:

  • Under 22 years old
  • Do not have a spouse or common-law partner

Children 22 years old or older qualify as dependants if they are:

  • Unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition
  • Depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22

Except for age, your dependent child must continue to meet these requirements until the processing is finished.

After they qualify as a dependent child, you can sponsor: 

  • Your child
    • If you are a Canadian citizen, your child may also be a Canadian citizen, even if they were not born in Canada. However, you cannot sponsor for permanent residence if they are Canadian citizens already.
    • If you are sponsoring just your child, without your spouse or partner, you will name your child as the principal applicant in the application. You will have to show that the other parent or legal guardian agrees to your child immigrating. 
    • If the sponsored child has a child of their own (your grandchild), you will include your grandchild as a dependant.
    • If you want to sponsor your adopted child or an orphaned family member, follow the instructions for your adopted child or orphaned family member instead.
  • Your spouse or partner and their child
    • If you are sponsoring your spouse or partner and a child (either their child or a child you have had together), you will name your spouse or partner as the principal applicant and the child as the dependant.
    • If the sponsored child has a child of their own, he or she will be included as a dependant.

5. Eligibility of the sponsored people

Besides showing that they meet the eligibility requirements, your spouse, partner, dependent child, and their dependent children (if applicable) must provide:

  • All required forms and documents with their application
  • Any additional information during processing, including medical exams and biometrics

How to apply?

There are 4 main steps to sponsor your spouse, partner or child:

Step 1. The application package

The application package includes the:

  • Document checklist 
  • Forms 
  • Instruction guide 

Make sure:

  • You are eligible to sponsor before applying
  • You list all your family members (includes spouse or partner, dependent children, dependent children of dependent children)
  • All the information on your application is true
  • Your application is complete

If you miss anything above, your application may be returned or refused, and the processing may be delayed.

To assist help for your spouse, partner or child with their application, there are certain steps you need to complete if you want to prepare their application and check on the application status.

Step 2. Pay the fees

In most cases, you have to pay your fees online. It will include:

  • Processing fees 
  • The right of permanent residence fee (RPRF)
  • Biometrics fee

Depending on the situation, you may also need to pay third parties for your medical exam and a police certificate, to make sure you are not inadmissible to Canada.

Here is the detail number:

  • Sponsor your spouse or partner
    • Sponsorship fee ($75), principal applicant processing fee ($475) and right of permanent residence fee ($490)
  • Sponsor your spouse or partner without right of permanent residence fee
    • Sponsorship fee ($75) and principal applicant processing fee ($475)
  • Sponsor a dependent child
    • Sponsorship fee ($75) and processing fee ($75)
  • nclude any dependent child
    • Include any dependent child on an application with your spouse or partner.
    • Processing fee ($150)

 Step 3. Mail your application

Now that you have finished preparing your application, you can submit it for processing.

The order of documents should be as follows:

    • checklist;
    • open work permit application (and supporting documents), if applicable;
    • any barcode pages;
    • supporting documents, in the order they are listed on the checklist.

If you apply under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class and the sponsored person also apply for an open work permit, after the checklist, place:

    • the work permit application form and documents (if applicable) and
    • a separate fee payment receipt for the cost of the work permit application

Send the application package with all the requested documents to the address below:

By mail:

  • Application for outside Canada:

CPC Sydney
P.O. Box 9500
Sydney, NS
B1P 0H5

  • Application for inside Canada under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class:

CPC Mississauga
P.O. Box 5040, Station B
Mississauga, ON
L5A 3A4

By courier:

  • Application for outside Canada:

CPC Sydney
49 Dorchester Street
Sydney, NS
B1P 5Z2

  • Application for inside Canada under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class:

CPC Mississauga
2 Robert Speck Parkway,
Suite 300
Mississauga, ON
L4Z 1H8

Step 4. Additional information

During processing, the person you are sponsoring will be asked to submit their:

  • Biometrics
    • When the biometrics fee is paid, your family members will be sent a letter asking for their biometrics.
    • They must show this letter when they give their biometrics.
    • They have 30 days to give their biometrics in person at the closest collection point
  • Medical exams

You must inform any change in circumstances to the Government of Canada right away, such as:

  • Birth or adoption of children
  • Marriage or divorce or separation
  • Death of an applicant or dependant

For Quebec residences, the process is different. There are 3 important steps to follow.

  1. File a sponsorship application to the Government of Canada.
  2. Submit an undertaking application to the Government of Québec.
  3. Ask the person you are sponsoring to complete certain procedures (applying for permanent selection and permanent residence).

How your application is processed?

1. In case you are refused as a sponsor 

You can choose to continue the application for permanent residence for your family members if you:

  • Withdraw your application (you will get the other fees back except for the $75 CAN sponsorship fee).
  • Do not get any fees back.
2. If you are approved as a sponsor:

The eligibility of the person(s) you want to sponsor will be assessed. They will receive a letter with the application number to link their application to the account. They can get updates and messages about the application online. 

Create an account using neither:

  • Your online banking login (Sign-In Partner) or
  • A Government of Canada login (GCKey)

Once you link your application, you will no longer get messages by mail, but instead, you will be contacted through your account.

You can also link their application for them if you are handling your family members’ application and designated as their representative.

3. If your family members’ permanent residence application is approved.

To finish processing their application, your spouse, partner, and child, and their dependents (if applicable), have to send:

  • Their passports, or photocopies of their passports (the Government of Canada will inform which one they should send)
  • 2 photos
  • Proof of payment for the RPRF, if you have not sent it.

If your family members are outside Canada, they will receive these documents:

  • The Confirmation of Permanent Residence.
  • A permanent resident visa, if the sponsored persons are from countries whose citizens need a visa to travel to Canada. 

Once your family members receive these documents, they can travel to Canada. Make sure to check the expiry dates on both the permanent resident visa and Confirmation of PR. Your family members must also meet an officer at a Canadian port of entry before their documents expire. The officer will make the final decision to allow your family members to enter Canada as permanent residents.

If your family members are inside Canada, they have to meet an immigration officer to receive the Confirmation of Permanent Residence. They will be informed about the appointment and what documents to bring. 

4. If your family members’ permanent residence application is refused

If their permanent residence application is rejected, you will be informed about:

  • Reasons for the rejection.
  • How to appeal the decision, if you sponsor a spouse, partner or child outside Canada (you cannot if you sponsor a spouse or partner inside Canada).

Track and update your application

During processing, you can track your application and ensure it is up to date by:

  • Check the status of your application online 
  • Update your address or other information, if necessary
  • Add or change your representative or get access to your family’s information, if necessary
  • Withdraw your application, if desired
  • Pay the RPRF or requesting a refund

1. Check the status

  • For sponsors: Sponsors can check the status of their application online. But for your spouse, partner or child, you must first request to get access to their information.
  • For the persons being sponsored: They can check their application in 2 ways:

2. Add or change a representative or get access to your family member’s information

Even as the sponsor, you do not automatically get access to your family members’ information. You have to request it.

Complete, sign and save the form to ask for permission:

The person(s) you are sponsoring must also sign the form. Include it with your application (if you have already submitted your application, send it through the web form along with your:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Country of birth
  • Application number (if you know it)
  • Relative’s Client ID Number (UCI) (if you know it)

To protect your family members’ privacy, they also need to give their written consent before any of their personal information gets shared or given anyone access to their application.

3. Withdraw your sponsorship application

You can withdraw your sponsorship application at any time before the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident.

You may be able to get a refund depending on where the application is:

  • If the sponsor’s application was not started: you get all the fees back.
  • If the sponsor’s application was started: you get all the other fees back except for the $75 sponsorship fee. 
  • If the sponsor’s application was finished but not the permanent residence application for the sponsored person: you get all the other fees back except for the $75 sponsorship fee
  • If the sponsor’s application was and started the permanent residence application for the sponsored person: you get the RPRF ($490 per person) back, if applicable.
  • If your application was refused: you will not get any fees back.

Use the Webform to request the withdrawal of your application.

4. Submit your right of PR fee or request a refund

The right of PR fee must be paid before the sponsored persons become permanent residents. 

They can pay it online.

Also, you can request a refund if:

  • You withdraw your sponsorship
  • Your family member was refused (once you decline your right of appeal).

5. To send the proof of payment or to request a refund

Use the Webform and include in your request your:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Country of birth
  • Application number (if you know it)
  • Relative’s Client ID Number (UCI) (if you know it)
  • Copy of the official receipt
  • Copy of signed right of appeal (if you have one)

For proof of payment, you can upload the receipt after completing all the requirements. For refunds, use the Webform to request for one.


Prepare for arrival

When your sponsored family members arrive at the port of entry to Canada, they must show the border services officer their:

  • Confirmation of PR
  • Valid passport or travel document 
  • Valid PR visa
  • Quebec Selection Certificate, if they are going to live in Quebec
  • Any other additional document 

Do not pack these documents in your luggage. Keep them with you at all times.

At the border, the border officer will:

  • Check that their permanent resident visa and Confirmation of PR have not expired
  • Ask your family members to confirm the information that they gave in the application

Your sponsored family members must also tell the officer of any funds they bring into Canada, including cash, stocks, bonds, money orders, and traveler’s cheques.

Finally, if satisfied that they meet the requirements, the officer will:

  • Allow them to enter Canada as permanent residents
  • Mail their PR card to the address on their Confirmation of PR


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