If you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, age 18 or over, you can sponsor various family members to become Canadian permanent residents. If you sponsor a relative to come to Canada as a permanent resident, you are responsible for supporting your relative financially when he or she arrives. Canada has specific rules as to who can be sponsored to come to Canada, and obligations that are associated with family sponsorship. It is incumbent on the both the sponsor and applicant to establish a “genuine” relationship.


Spouses/PartnersThere are three (3) basic relationship types that are recognized by the government:

  1. Spouse - is defined by a legal marriage between the sponsor and the applicant, and the marriage is legally valid in the home country and or Canada.
  2. Common-law partnership - requires both parties to have been living together for at least one continuous year. You will need proof that you and your common-law partner have combined your affairs and set up a household.
  3. Conjugal partnership - This category is for partners who find themselves in exceptional circumstances beyond their control that prevent them from living together, and therefore cannot qualify as common-law partners or spouses​

Dependent child An applicant can sponsor a dependent child, or a child you plan to adopt, for permanent residency in Canada. The eligible age for a dependent is less than 22, and the individual cannot be married or in a common-law relationship.

If the dependent child is 22 or older, they must satisfy one of the following in order to be considered as a dependent:

  • They have been an on-going, full-time student since before the age of 22, and are financially dependent on the support of the parents;
  • They were married or in a common-law relationship before the age of 22, they suffer from a physical or mental disability, and they have been financially dependent on the support of their parents since before the age of 22;

​​Parents and grandparents In Canada, a father, mother, grandfather or grandmother can be sponsored with relatively no restrictions.

Also check Super Visas. A Super Visa is a top choice for parents and grandparents who live in countries that require a visa. Instead of getting a much more limited Temporary Residence Visa (TRV), they can get a Super Visa and be able to travel to Canada to visit their children/grandchildren without the worries of having to get a TRV.

Other family members Other family members can sponsored from the immediate family under certain circumstances. ​A brother, sister, nephew, niece, grandson or granddaughter, can be sponsored if they are orphaned and under the age of 22, and not married or in a common-law relationship.

"Lonely Canadian" rule ​Known as the “Lonely Canadian” rule, the government has made a provision to allow for the sponsorship of a sole surviving relative to an individual sponsor, if she or he has no other family living in Canada and does not currently have a spouse, common-law partner, or is not in a conjugal relationship. One of the following living relatives can be sponsored: a child, a mother or father, brother or sister, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece.