Canada Dependent and Family Visas

Canadian citizens and permanent residents living in Canada, 18 years of age or older, may sponsor close relatives or family members who want to become permanent residents of Canada. Sponsors must promise to support the relative or family member and accompanying family members for a period of three to 10 years to help them settle in Canada.

Family members eligible for sponsorship are:

  • spouses, common-law or conjugal partners 16 years of age or older;
  • parents and grandparents;
  • dependent children, including adopted children;
  • children under 18 years of age whom you intend to adopt;
  • brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces or grandchildren who are orphans, under the age of 18 and not married or in a common-law relationship; and
  • any other relative if you have none of the above relatives or family members, either in Canada or abroad.

A son or daughter is dependent when the child:

  • is under the age of 22 and does not have a spouse or common-law partner;
  • became a full-time student before the age of 22 and has been substantially dependent on a parent for financial support since that time;
  • became a spouse or common-law partner before the age of 22 and has been substantially dependent on a parent for financial support since that time; or
  • is financially dependent on a parent since before the age of 22 because of a disability.

If you want to sponsor any of the above listed relatives or family members, you may have to meet certain income requirements. If you have previously sponsored relatives or family members who have received social assistance, you may not be allowed to sponsor another person. Sponsorship is a considerable commitment so you should take this obligation seriously. To sponsor a relative or family member you must sign a legal contract with the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. This is called the Undertaking. You must also sign a Sponsorship Agreement with your relative or family member that outlines your mutual commitments to each other.

The Canadian Government does understand that families wish to be together and immigration is permitted for many members of the family. Some family members - such as spouses and dependent children - can be included on the initial visa application for new immigrants to Canada, while parents, grandparents, and others must be sponsored by Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Requirements for family immigration

Spouses and Partners

Your spouse or common-law partner can normally be included in your own application for immigration. A common-law partner is defined as a person of any sex (including same-sex partners) who has been living with you as a partner for at least 1 year. Similar information needs to be provided for your partner as for the Principal Applicant (yourself) on the visa application form.

Your spouse's dependent children can also be included on your visa application.

This is normally a straightforward family immigration application to make.

Children

As of August 2014 only dependent children under the age of 19 can be included in your visa application, except in the case of children with certain physical and/or mental disabilities and health conditions, who have no age limit. Previously children up to the age of 22 could be included. A dependent child is defined as any child under the age of 19 who does not have a spouse or partner, or any child of any age who is financially dependent on you (or your spouse) due to a physical or mental disability or health condition.

If you or your spouse's dependent children have dependent children of their own, these children can also be included on your visa application.

Parents and Grandparents

In most cases parents cannot be included on the initial visa application, and must instead be sponsored by a permanent resident or citizen, except in rare cases where the parents or grandparents are living in some hardship, and there are compelling humanitarian and compassionate reasons to allow them to be included on the initial application.

Eligibility

In order to sponsor your parents and grandparents to enter Canada as permanent residents you and your parent(s)/grandparent(s) must co-sign a sponsorship agreement, which states:

  • That you will provide them with financial support if necessary - such as if they become unemployed, for a period of between 3 and 10 years.
  • That your parent(s)/grandparent(s) will take all reasonable measures to support themselves financially.

Restrictions

You may be unable sponsor your parents or grandparents if any of the following conditions apply:

  • You did not abide by the financial support conditions for another relative you sponsored in the past.
  • You have ever defaulted on a court support order, such as a child support order.
  • Have ever received benefits/financial support from the Canadian government (except support for a disability)
  • Have ever been convicted of a violent or sexual offence, or any offence against a relative.
  • Have ever missed payments, made late payments, or defaulted on an immigration loan.
  • You are currently in prison.
  • You are currently declared bankrupt.

Others

Sponsorship applications can be made for orphaned relatives under 19 years of age such as brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild. Sponsoring these relatives has similar eligibility requirements and restrictions with sponsoring parents/grandparents (above).

Further, you can normally sponsor a child under 19 years of age that you plan to adopt (subject to the relevant adoption laws). Please see our International Adoptions page for more details.

Further information, help, and advice

Aspire World Immigration Consultancy Services team of specialists has over 10 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in Canada. All applications for Canadian visas are dealt with in-house by a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada. For more information and advice on Canadian immigration law and Canadian visa applications please contact us.



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