Separation from family is very difficult. The Government of Canada does its best to reunite families through several initiatives, including family sponsorship. To sponsor a family member, you must to meet certain requirements.
Who can you sponsor?
- Spouse (legally married and at least 18 years old)
- Common-law partners
- Dependent children (biological or adopted)
- Under 22 years old OR over 22 years old but unable to support themself financially because of their mental and/or physical condition
- Do not have spouse or common law partner
- Have been dependent on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22
Who can be a sponsor?
To sponsor a family member, you must be:
- A Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada
- 18 years old or older
- Financially able to support the sponsored person for several years
- Not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability
What are the sponsor’s income requirements?
You must fulfill an income requirement if:
- you are sponsoring a dependent child who has 1 or more dependent children of their own
- you are sponsoring a spouse or partner that has a dependent child, and the dependent child has 1 or more children of their own
If you must fulfill an income requirement, a Financial Evaluation Form will help you assess whether you are financially eligible to support the person you are planning to sponsor (and their family members). Your annual income should be equal to the minimum amount necessary to support the group of people you are sponsoring. The following table applies to all provinces except Quebec:
Federal Income Table 2020
|Low Income Cut-off (LICO)|
|Size of Family Unit||Minimum necessary income|
|1 person (the sponsor)||$26,426|
|More than 7 persons, for each additional person, add||$7,120|
Your annual income will count for the following people:
- Yourself and your family members, whether they are living with you or not
- The person you are sponsoring and their family members
- Every other person you have sponsored in the past and their family members, where an undertaking is still in effect or is not yet in effect
- Every other person for whom you have co-signed an undertaking that is still in effect or is not yet in effect
- Every person not included above for whom your spouse or common-law partner has given or co-signed an undertaking that is still in effect or is not yet in effect, if your spouse or common-law partner is co-signing your current sponsorship undertaking
How long are you responsible for undertaking?
You are responsible legally for any family member whom you are sponsoring by signing an “undertaking”. That means if he or she needs government assistance, you will have to repay this money.
The length of the undertakings will depend on who you are sponsoring and their age (for children). The following is the chart of length of undertaking for sponsored persons (excluding Quebec):
|Sponsored Person||Length of undertaking (excluding Quebec)|
|Spouse, common-law or conjugal partner||3 years|
|Dependent child 22 years or older||3 years|
|Dependent child||10 years, or until age 25, whichever comes first|
|Parent or grandparent||20 years|
|Other relative||10 years|
How can you apply?
First, you need to check the eligibility criteria. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you must fill out all the required forms, which will depend on your situation. You must attach necessary documents, pay a family sponsorship fee, and send the file to the right address. Any mistake in your file may cause a delay in your application.
We are here to help you to navigate these steps. There is a much lower chance of mistakes if your file is handled by a professional who has experience with the process and knowledge of the requirements. If you’d like to discuss how we can help you become a sponsor, please contact us.