Canada has a long tradition of supporting the reunification of Canadians with their close family members from abroad. On one hand, this tradition has enriched the lives of the families and assisted them in achieving self-reliance; and on the other hand, it has enriched Canadian society by ensuring social integration and the building of stronger communities. Family reunification enriches the lives of those involved and strengthens Canadian communities.
Although the Immigration Act requires all immigrants to apply for and obtain an immigrant visa from outside of Canada, exceptions to this rule do exist. In some cases, you may sponsor your spouse or common-law partner, who is Partner in Canada Class. In order to find out whether you may be qualified, contact our office for legal advice.
To apply for processing as a spouse from within Canada:
- Your spouse must be married to you and your marriage must be legally recognized, both by Canadian federal law and/or the laws in the country where your marriage took place; and
- As a common-law partner, your common-law partner must have lived with you for at least one year in a conjugal relationship.
If you have a close family relation in Canada, the Family Sponsorship program may be of interest to you. As a sponsor, you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada who is at least 18 years of age. You may sponsor your:
- Spouses, common-law or conjugal partners, 16 years of age or older;
- Parents and grandparents;
- Dependent children, including adopted children; and
- Children under 18 years of age whom you intend to adopt.
You must also sign an agreement with the government in which you promise to support the relative or family member, and accompanying family members, for a period of three to ten years.
- As a sponsor, you must not:
- be in default of previous sponsorship obligations,
- be in prison, or
- be bankrupt.
If you wish to sponsor a relative, other than your spouse and children from abroad, you must:
- Sign an undertaking in which you promise to take care of your relatives’ essential needs for 10 years, and ensure that they do not receive government social assistance during this time;
- Be at least 18 years of age;
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
- Physically reside in Canada;
- Provide information on your financial resources and obligations for the 12-month period before the date that you submit your sponsorship application;
- Meet the Low Income Cut-Off figures for the size of your family unit;
- Sign an agreement (contract) with your sponsored relative(s), which confirms that each of you understands, and will fulfill, your mutual obligations and responsibilities; and
- Meet medical, criminal, and security clearances.
Although the Immigration Act requires that all immigrants apply for and obtain an immigrant visa from outside of Canada, there exist exceptions to this rule. In some cases, the spouse of a Canadian citizen may apply for permanent residence status in Canada while he or she is in Canada. To apply for processing as a spouse from within Canada:
- You must be married to a Canadian citizen who is at least 18 years of age;
- You and your spouse must reside in Canada;
- Your spouse (the sponsor) must complete sponsorship forms;
- Your spouse must sign an undertaking in which s/he promises to take care of your essential needs for 3 years and ensure that the sponsored person will not receive government social assistance during this time; and
- The sponsored person must meet medical, criminal, and security clearances.