Family Class Sponsorship

A Canadian citizen/permanent resident can sponsor his/her spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, or dependent child to immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident. Both the sponsor and the sponsored person must meet certain requirements to qualify. All applicants must go through a medical, criminal and background screening. 

In addition, a Canadian citizen/permanent resident may also sponsor his or her parent or grandparent. This program has changed many times along the years. In 2017, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (“IRCC”) announced important changes to the parent and grandparent category application process. Re-vamping their traditional first come, first serve model, they have instituted a lottery system for the selection of applicants within this category. The new application processing system has similar elements to the Express Entry system like a government selection model and 60 days to submit completed application once “invited to apply”.   

The initial “interest to sponsor form” for the children who wish to sponsor their parents or grandparents requires the interested sponsor’s basic personal information, such as name, address, date of birth, etc. Once the information has been submitted through the online form, the interested sponsor will receive a confirmation number. 

The sponsors for parents and grandparents were invited to apply in October 2022. The program has not been open for 2023 for this particular program (parental sponsorship) and there may be changes to the approach in the future. 


Sponsors must be 18 years of age or older, have no outstanding sponsorship undertakings, immigration debts, court order debts and certain criminal issues, are not in prison, or have no undeclared bankruptcy. Sponsoring a member of the family class also requires that sponsors promise to support them financially and in light of this, certain income requirements must be met. 

There are two options for spouses and common-law or conjugal partners who are living inside Canada to apply for permanent residence.  A sponsor can either submit an “In-Canada” spousal sponsorship or an “overseas” spousal sponsorship.  Both applications have various forms, processing times and associated rights. It is therefore recommended that you obtain legal advice to determine which application is right for you. 

In the case of a dependent child, a son or daughter is considered ‘dependant’ if they are under the age of 22, or regardless of age, financially dependent on a parent due to a physical or mental condition. 

The documentation requirements for sponsoring a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner or dependent child all differ. It is therefore important to make sure that all documentation submitted is per the requirements of your specific case.  

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