If you’re living outside of Canada, you’ll need to be sponsored under Family Class. Your application will be processed by the visa office in whatever country you’re currently living in. If you’re planning on living outside of Canada while your application is being processed or the processing times for your country are faster than in Canada, you may want to apply through Family Class, even if you qualify for In Canada processing. While waiting, you should be able to visit Canada under a regular visitor visa with dual intent. Dual intent is when you’re entering Canada on one visa (like a tourist visa) while also applying for another type of visa (such as permanent resident status). You may face additional questions at the port of entry, but in most cases it just adds a few minutes to your travel time. If you’re feeling particularly brave, you can even see if you can move to Canada to live with your spouse while waiting for your application to process. This is totally up to the border agent on duty, so be prepared to be turned away.
You’d have to demonstrate that:
- Your partner has submitted your sponsorship application
- You totally qualify and understand how the process works
- You’ll leave Canada if your application is denied
- You won’t work illegally while you wait for your application to process
- You can support yourself (or your partner will support you) while you wait
- You have private medical insurance coverage
The border agent will decide how long your visa will be valid for and you’ll need to make sure you don’t overstay this visa. You may also have issues bringing your things across the border before your application is approved, depending on what visa you’re currently on.
Documents to prove your relationships is real
Your immigration application requires extensive documentation of your relationship, as well as lots of information about you. Any documents that aren’t in English or French will need to be translated.
- Proof of cohabitation if you are currently living together. Or, as much proof as possible to demonstrate the reasons why you have not been able to share a household and/or finances
- If you are not living together:
- 10 pages of printed media to demonstrate ongoing communication (letters, text messages, social media posts, and/or emails)
- Proof of visitation (plane tickets or boarding passes and passport pages)
- If you are married:
- marriage certificate and 20 photographs from your wedding
- If you are in a common law or conjugal relationship:
- as much information as possible to demonstrate that you share a home and finances such as: Statements for joint bank accounts or credit cards
- Mortgage documents signed by both parties
- Property lease signed by both of you
- Property ownership documents in both of your names
- Declarations from people verifying your relationship
- Pictures from your lives demonstrating that your relationship is genuine such as from vacations, family events, holidays, etc.
- Birth certificates of any children that you have together
- Proof of three of the things below (not needed if you have been together for more than 2 years, currently live together, have children together, and have only been married to each other):
- Joint ownership or lease of a home
- Joint responsibility of utilities
- Government issued identification documents showing the same address
- Evidence of financial support between you and your spouse
- Proof that your relationship is recognized by your friends and family (for example, social media posts showing that your relationship is public)
Documents your spouse will need to provide
- Proof of citizenship (Canadian birth certificate, certificate of citizenship, or Canadian passport) or permanent residency (permanent resident card, record of landing, or confirmation of permanent residence (CoPR)
- Proof of income:
- Tax returns and income slips for most recent tax year OR explanation for why you cannot provide these
- Letter from your employer stating length of employment, salary, and hours per week (if applicable)
- Welfare receipts and/or receipts from government payouts (if applicable)
- Required only if you will be immigrating with your children:
- Sponsorship evaluation
- Evidence of income for the previous 12 months
- Evidence of savings that show they meet the financial requirements
- Financial evaluation if you are the parent to a dependent child with a child of their own
- Required only if they have been married to another person:
- divorce, annulment, separation, or death certificate
- Application to sponsor, sponsorship agreement and undertaking
- Sponsorship evaluation and relationship questionnaire form
Pledge of financial support
Your partner will have to sign a contract promising to financially support you for three years. This includes food, shelter, clothing, household supplies, personal items, and any healthcare costs not covered by provincial health insurance.
They must also meet minimum income requirements. Your income does not count toward the income requirement. If you are immigrating to Canada with dependent children who are not related to your Canadian partner, your partner will need to pledge support your children for ten years or until the child is 22 years old (whichever happens first). If you or your children (not related to your Canadian partner) apply for social assistance during those years, your spouse will need to repay that amount to the Canadian government, even if you are separated or divorced. While you don’t have to meet any financial requirements, you’ll need to sign a pledge promising you will make all reasonable efforts to support yourself and your children.
Documents you will need to provide Your Identification
- Valid passport
- Birth certificates for you and
- 2 photographs for permanent resident card
- Police certificate(s) from any country that you have lived in for 6+ months since turning 18
- Required only if you have been married to another person: divorce, annulment, separation, or death certificate
- Required only if you are applying through the Spouse or common law Partner in Canada Class: visa or permit confirming that you are currently allowed to legally live in Canada
- Required only if you have dependent children (even if they will not be immigrating with you): birth certificates, certificates of adoption, or custody papers Forms
- Relationship information and sponsorship evaluation form
- Generic application for Canada
- Additional Dependants/Declaration form
- Additional family information form
- Background declaration form
There may be additional documents specific to whichever country you live in Waiting for your PR application to be processed Your partner will get a confirmation of receipt once they’ve submitted the complete application. You can sign up for notifications about the status of your application, as well as check online. First, the IRCC will evaluate your partner’s eligibility to sponsor you. Next, they review your eligibility to become a permanent resident of Canada. At this point your application is approved in principal, pending your medical exam and background check. Your medical exam can’t be done by just any doctor, it needs to be done by a panel physician approved by the IRCC, so follow instructions carefully. The IRCC may ask for additional documents or even require an interview. If they require an interview, you can request that it take place at the visa office closest to you. Even though they try to accommodate your requests, because there are not a ton of visa offices, this will likely still require traveling. The decision The IRCC aims to process applications within a year. If your application is incomplete or requires extra scrutiny, it can take much longer. Your spousal sponsorship is approved Once your application is approved, you’ll get a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR).
This document will have an expiration date. You have to go to a Canadian port of entry or visa office and declare yourself a landed immigrant before this expiration date. If you don’t declare landing and change your status before it expires, you’d have to start the whole process over again. Once you’ve landed, you’ll get your permanent resident card in the mail within a few weeks. You’ll be eligible to apply for provincial health insurance, if you aren’t already covered. Your application is rejected If your partner is found ineligible to be a sponsor, the IRCC will return your application and refund your fees. You can appeal this decision or resolve the issue and reapply.
Sponsoring a family member
Canada’s Family Class program is designed to allow Canadians to bring their children, parents, and grandparents to the country as new permanent residents. In order to sponsor another family member, they need to prove that they don’t have any family members in Canada and have no immediate relatives alive that they could sponsor. If you’re approved for permanent resident status through the Family Class program, you can bring your spouse (including a common law partner) and dependent children with you. Parent and Grandparent Program If you are the parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, they can apply to sponsor your immigration through the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP).
Only 10,000 people are invited to apply each year through a lottery system. First, you need to submit an Interest to Sponsor form through the IRCC website. All applicants that expressed interest will be notified even if they are not invited to apply. If you’re selected, your sponsor will be invited to complete the full application for the Parent and Grandparent Program within 60 days. That’s not enough time to get the documents required, so you’ll want to begin collecting documents ahead of time. Due to the number of applications received, it's estimated that this lottery system gives each applicant a 20% chance of getting selected. Those that aren't selected are allowed to re-apply the following year.
For the applications that are approved, Canada aims to process the immigration process within a year. In spite of whatever finances you have yourself, your child or grandchild that sponsors you will need to demonstrate that they have the means to support you for a period of 20 years.
Document checklist Forms
- Application to sponsor, sponsorship agreement, and undertaking
- Financial evaluation for parents and grandparents
- Income sources for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents (if applicable)
- Statutory declaration of common-law union (if applicable)
- Generic application form for Canada
- Additional dependants declaration
- Background declaration
- Additional family information
- Use of representative (if applicable)
- Copy of fee payment receipt Supporting documents
- Sponsor’s ID and proof of citizenship or PR status
- Spouse’s ID and proof of citizenship or PR status (if applicable)
- Proof of applicant’s relationship to sponsor
- Copy of passport for applicant and dependents
- Proof of relationship for applicant’s dependents
- Two photos of applicant and all dependents (to IRCC specifications)
Sponsoring Other Family Members In order to sponsor you, your family member would have to demonstrate that they:
- Have no spouse or common law partner
- Have no living parents or grandparents anywhere in the world
- Have no relatives living in Canada, including: children, parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nieces, or nephews If that’s the case, they can sponsor you if you’re a sibling, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew. If they have no living close relatives, then they could apply to sponsor you if you’re relative related by blood or adoption, such as a cousin.
Requirements for your sponsor Your family member must be over the age of 18 and currently living in Canada. None of the following conditions can apply to them:
- Have ever received government financial assistance (other than disability)
- Defaulted on a court-ordered support order (alimony, child support)
- Have been convicted of a violent or sexual crime
- Defaulted on an immigration loan
- Is currently in prison
- Is in bankruptcy
- Has sponsored another family member for immigration but failed to financial support them Financial requirements While you are expected to make all attempts to support yourself once you become a resident of Canada, your family member must promise to support you financially for 10-20 years. Parent or grandparent: 20 years
- Parent or grandparent: 20 years
- Any other family member: 10 years They’ll need to meet certain income requirements in order to be eligible to sponsor you. They’ll have to promise to provide financial support as well as basic requirements including food, clothing, utilities, shelter, fuel, household supplies, as well as health care not covered by the provincial health care system, such as vision and dental care. They are still financially responsible for you for this time, even if you become estranged.