Family Immigration Visa

Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents can sponsor their eligible family members to permanently join them in Canada. The immigration law has defined a list of family members that are eligible to be sponsored for Family Immigration Visa.
Besides a Federal family sponsorship program, several provinces have introduced special provincial family sponsorship programs that suit their regional needs and Government of Canada has agreed to issue Family Immigration Visa to provincially selected family members from abroad. All the provincial family sponsorship programs that are current in Canada are explained on separate page. The Federal Family Immigration Visa program as outlined in Immigration and Refugee Protection Act has the following main characteristics that vary with the nature of eligible family member(s) that are being sponsored:

Spouses and Dependent Children

A Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident can sponsor his/her spouse, common law partner, conjugal partner and dependent children from abroad for Family Immigration Visa. In the case of spousal sponsorship, the subject marriage should have been solemnized in compliance with the laws of the country of solemnization and should satisfy the requirements of a legitimate marriage as per the Canadian law. In order to sponsor a common law or a conjugal partner, the sponsor and sponsored must have a history of cohabitation for more than 1 year prior to filing the sponsorship.

Children that are younger than 22 are considered dependents unless they are continuous students and financially dependent on parents, or they are medically dependent on parents. In the later case, children older than 22 years of age can still be eligible for Family Immigration Visa. Though it’s not mandatory to meet income level requirement to sponsor spouse or dependent children, it’s extremely important that the sponsor must have regular income so he should be in a position to sign an undertaking to support the sponsored spouse and children for three years.

Conjugal Partners and Common Law Partners

Under the Family Immigration Visa program, a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident can sponsor his/her conjugal or common law partner from abroad if the sponsor and the sponsored can establish with documentary evidence a 1 year history of cohabitation prior to filing the sponsorship application. Under the prevalent marriage related jurisprudence in Canada, same sex people can get married and be spouses to each other as same sex marriages also fall under the statutory definition of marriage. Therefore, a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident can sponsor his/her same sex spouse from abroad just like heterosexual spouses.

Parents and Siblings

Parents and siblings of Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents can also be sponsored for Family Immigration Visa if the sponsor satisfies the income requirements depending upon the family members. The Citizenship and Immigration Canada reviews the Low Income Cut Off rates every year in the first week of February and those income levels are followed to determine the income eligibility to sponsor parents and siblings. Only those brothers and sisters can be sponsored that are younger than 22 and dependent of sponsored parents; a sibling who is older than 22 but either is a continuous student and financially dependent on parents or medically dependant on parents can still be sponsored as a dependent of parents. Those siblings that are older than 22 and are not dependents of parents cannot be sponsored and are not eligible for Family Immigration Visa.  

Siblings are not considered eligible to be directly sponsored for Family Immigration Visa under the Federal program unless they are orphaned, younger than 18 years of age, unmarried and financially dependent on sponsor. Orphaned nephews or nieces can also be sponsored if they meet similar conditions. Depending on certain conditions, siblings, cousins, nephews, nieces and uncles can be sponsored under various provincial family immigration visa programs.

Grandparents and Grandchildren

Grandparents can also be sponsored by a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident provided the sponsor meets the required income level as determined by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada and if the parents are medically admissible. Grandchildren can also be sponsored and get Family Immigration Visa if they are orphaned, less than 18 years of age, unmarried and financially dependent on the sponsor.

Adaptability Points

If a foreign national is applying for Skilled Professional Immigration Visa and either the applicant or his/her accompanying spouse has a blood relative (Parents, Grandparents, Uncle, Aunt or Sibling) in Canada who is either a citizen or a permanent resident then 5 adaptability points are granted to the applicant.