On September 7, Canada officially opened its border to fully vaccinated non-essential foreign travellers from all over the world. The opening policy allows those travellers to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, which means that tourists can come to visit Canada again. This means that families that have been separated by the COVID-19 pandemic for several months can see each other again. If you have family abroad and are interested in having your family come to Canada for more than just a visit, you may want to consider family sponsorship in order to have your family members obtain permanent residence status so they can live in Canada with you.

Sponsor eligibility

Firstly, in order to sponsor a spouse, partner or dependent child for permanent residency status you must be eligible. In order to be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old and:

  • a Canadian citizen,
  • a permanent resident of Canada, or
  • a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act

In addition, you must be able to prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability and show that you can provide for the basic needs of any persons you want to sponsor.

Financial Ability

In order to sponsor someone, you must show that you are able to financially support the family members when they come to Canada and show that your family members will not need social assistance from the government when they arrive to Canada. You must further promise to financially take care of the persons you are sponsoring for a period of time. This period of time, which must be specified in an undertaking, differs depending on the family member sponsored. For example if you are sponsoring a spouse or partner, the undertaking will last for three years, whereas if you are sponsoring a dependent child, the undertaking time will vary depending on the child’s age when they arrive in Canada.

Depending on the sponsor’s status, eligibility to make an application can depend on whether you are currently in Canada. In order to make an application as a permanent resident, you must be living and present within Canada at the time of application. Canadian citizens can make sponsorship applications from outside of Canada provided they show that they intend to live in Canada when the person who you want to sponsor becomes a permanent resident.

There are further ways in which you can be ineligible to sponsor a family member, such as if were sponsored by a spouse or partner and became a permanent resident less than 5 years ago or if you are still financially responsible for a previous spouse or partner that you sponsored.

Who can you sponsor?

You can sponsor a spouse as long as they are legally married to you and is at least 18 years old. If you are looking to sponsor a common-law partner, there are more requirements, such as you and your partner must have been living together for at least 12 consecutive months, living together for at least year in a conjugal relationship without any long period spent apart. Any period spent apart must have been short and temporary.

For dependent children, they must be under 22 years old, and the child must not have a spouse or common-law partner. Children who are over 22 years old may qualify as dependents if they are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition and they have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22.

You can also sponsor a sibling, nephew, niece, or grandchild if:

  • they are related to you by blood or adoption,
  • both their biological parents are no longer alive,
  • they are not married, and
  • they are under 18 years of age.

Further, you can sponsor one relative of any age, related by blood or adoption provided that you have no living relative closer than the person who you want to sponsor who you could sponsor instead; and you do not have any relatives who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Someone may be eligible based on the above criteria by still unable to be sponsored as you cannot sponsor someone who would be otherwise inadmissible to Canada, likely through criminal or medical inadmissibility.

The Application

In order to apply to sponsor a spouse, partner or child there are two required applications. You must apply to become a sponsor, and then the person you are sponsoring must also apply for permanent residence. Both applications have to be sent in at the same time. Currently, the government lists the fee for the application as $1050 for a spouse and $150 for a child. The government further estimates that the time to resolve a spousal sponsorship is around 12 months right now whereas for a child the waiting time will vary by country of origin. If you are planning to sponsor a family member, it is important to make sure that the application is submitted correctly from the outset in order to ensure the best possible chance of your application being accepted and avoid unnecessary delays.

Contact Garson Immigration Law in Toronto for Family Sponsorship Applications

Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. We successfully guide clients through the immigration process, with an eye toward the ever-changing regulations in light of COVID-19. With nearly 30 years of experience in helping clients gain admissibility to Canada, we will work to help ensure that your sponsorship application is complete and correct the first time you apply in order to avoid rejection or delay. 

The immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law are continuing to monitor the immigration fallout in relation to COVID-19 on both sides of the border and will provide updates as the situation develops. If you have any questions about how you should comply with the changing regulations, do not hesitate to reach out to us online or by calling us at 416-321-2860.

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