Information on COVID-19 and Immigration to Canada

Canada Sponsorship Programs

The Canadian government offers different opportunities to permanent residents and Canadian citizens to bring close relatives to Canada within its Family Class Sponsorship. The Family Class program is committed to family reunification. There are a number of programs under the Family Class Sponsorship, including spouses and common-law partners, parents and grandparents, and dependent children.

Sponsoring a Spouse

A foreign national who wants to sponsor his spouse to Canada encounters a very complex legal process, no matter whether the application is submitted foreigner’s country or at a Canadian embassy or consulate abroad. The spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner intending to immigrate to Canada must be sponsored by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, who has to also submit a sponsorship application in support of the foreign spouse.

The basic requirements for immigration to Canada as the partner of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident sponsor are as follows.

Potential sponsor

Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
Must open a sponsorship application on behalf of the partner;
Both the sponsor and the partner must be at least 18 years old at the time of application;

Must be a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner;

Both the sponsor and the partner must be at least 18 years old at the time of application.

The 2019 Changes for Spousal Sponsorship

The IRCC has endorsed changes, such as one application for all candidates inside or outside Canada, accelerated processing times, no need for a medical exam in the first place, etc.

Due to these changes, a process of sponsoring a spouse to Canada became faster and easier. However, applicants will still need to prove to Immigration Canada that all requirements for Canadian permanent residence sponsorship have been met. The application forms for spousal sponsorship have also changed, so make sure not to use an outdated document checklist.

Applying inside or outside of Canada

Many couples cannot apply for sponsorship Canada. If the partner being sponsored is not a legal resident of Canada at the time of application submission, then he should apply from his home country. Similarly, a conjugal partner cannot apply for sponsorship Canada.

If both the sponsor and partner are legally living in Canada, the couple may qualify for either or inland spousal sponsorship. Despite being physically present in Canada when the application is submitted, if the spouse or common-law partner does not plan to stay in Canada during the time the application is being processed, applying from abroad will be the best option. The biggest advantage to applying in Canada is that the spouse or partner may be eligible for an Open Work Permit, enabling him or her to be working in Canada while awaiting approval for permanent residency.

Canadian immigration authorities may require evidence of your relationship, especially if the partner is applying as a common-law or conjugal partner.

Which documents to present in order to prove a legitimate relationship?

Proof of joint bank account or other financial accounts;
Proof of joint residential lease;
Real estate mortgage or purchase agreement;
Proof from people with personal knowledge that your relationship is genuine;
Any other evidence that can prove the authenticity of your relationship.

Note: Canadian permanent residents living outside of Canada are not qualified to sponsor a partner to Canada. The only exception is for Canadian citizens living outside of Canada who might show their intention to live in Canada after their partner becomes a Canadian resident. But in general, only permanent residents living in Canada can sponsor a spouse to Canada. 

Reasons for Inadmissibility to Canada

Any foreign national that has been convicted of a crime that could be considered an indictable offense in Canada may be criminally inadmissible to Canada. Criminal inadmissibility can render a person ineligible for Canada spousal sponsorship, even if he or she is applying for "in Canada spousal sponsorship." Depending on the criminal offense, a person may become admissible to Canada 10 years after they finished all court-ordered sentencing including probation. At this time, the person would become eligible to be sponsored to Canada as a spouse or partner.

Examples of crimes that can result in a spouse being refused Permanent Residency in Canada include impaired driving (DUI or DWI), fraud, theft, assault, domestic violence, and possession of a controlled substance or other drug-related convictions. It is possible to petition the Canadian Government to overcome criminal inadmissibility through a process called Criminal Rehabilitation. It is also possible for a foreign national to be ineligible for immigration to Canada due to medical reasons.

Processing time

The 2019 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) spousal sponsorship processing times are now the same for applications submitted inside Canada as they are for applications submitted overseas, and are significantly faster than previously. The Government of Canada is now targeting to process 80% of new spouse sponsorship applications within a one-year span. This means that almost all spousal sponsorship applications submitted in 2019 will be processed by the end of the same calendar month in 2020.

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Sponsoring a Child

You can sponsor dependent children living outside of Canada. A dependent child may be your own or those of the person you are sponsoring.

You can sponsor dependent children living outside of Canada. A dependent child may be your own or those of the person you are sponsoring.

Children under 22 years of old who don’t have a spouse or a common-law partner;

A child adopted outside of Canada while you were a Canadian citizen or permanent resident stationing in Canada;

A child you plan to adopt in Canada;
Your brother or sister, nephew or niece, grandson or granddaughter, if they are orphan, under 22 years of age and don’t have a spouse or common-law partner;
Any person who you have a family relationship with if you don’t have a relative (a person who you may sponsor) who is a Canadian citizen, a registered Indian, a permanent resident.

Note: When sponsoring a biological or adopted child, you’ll have to prove that the dependent child is financially dependent on you.

Sponsorship Requirements

Financial feasibility;

You have to provide evidence of your relationships to your dependent children;
Your children will have to take a criminal and medical examination. In case of a criminal record or a contagious illness, your children might not be allowed to enter Canada;
Your brother or sister, nephew or niece, grandson or granddaughter, if they are orphan, under 22 years of age and don’t have a spouse or common-law partner;
The medical check should be done by a physician confirmed by the Canadian government.

If you are targeting a permanent residence for your dependent children, you’ll have to undergo two stages. First, you need to apply for sponsorship and once they have their sponsorship approved and they have a dependent visa, they should apply for a permanent residence.

Although the government encourages family reunification, it is important to be precise when filling out the application. You should meet all the requirements and even a small inaccuracy can lead to a refusal. This is why it is preferable to secure the support of a legal professional who knows how to prepare documents so you have the best chance to be sponsored.

Solid Visa has long experience in processing sponsorship applications, and we know what immigration officers are looking for when reviewing sponsorship applications. We helped thousands of our clients to immigrate to Canada through family sponsorship and we can help you too!

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Sponsoring Parents and Grandparents

Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) within Canada’s Family Class sponsorship initiatives allows for permanent residence for parents and/or grandparents of applicants.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be a sponsor of your parents and grandparents to obtain a permanent residence, you must be:

Minimum 18 years old; and
A Canadian permanent resident or a citizen of Canada.

In addition, to sponsor your parents and grandparents to come to Canada as permanent residents, you have to:

Demonstrate proof of sufficient funds to support that person and their dependents;
Submit a notice of assessment by the Canadian Revenue Agency, showing that you have the minimum necessary income level for this program;
Demonstrate a notice of the necessary income level for three subsequent years. In case you are married, the income of both persons can be included; and
The sponsor and the sponsor relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that obliges

If you are a potential sponsor who resides in Quebec, then in addition, you have to also comply with Quebec’s immigration sponsorship criteria after IRCCC approves you as a sponsor.

The 2019 Changes PGP

Sponsorship Program in Canada has gone through some changes. The application system was in place prior to 2017. Applicants were chosen based on geography or would have more chances for success if families were able to pay for expensive immigration lawyers.
Then a lottery system was introduced, which gained strong criticism. Many families aiming to bring their parents or grandparents to Canada for different reasons, were disappointed by the randomness of the lottery selection and wanted a change.
Currently, a sponsor must submit an “interest to sponsor” form online. A priority is given to applicants based on the order of forms– the so-called “first-come-first-served” process. Sponsors that meet all requirements should inform the IRCC about their intention to sponsor their parents and grandparents to come to Canada. Then, based on the order in which their applications are received, they will be invited to fill out an application to sponsor their parents or grandparents.

Application Process

You, as a sponsor, must submit an application, and your parent or grandparent must apply for permanent residence. The two applications should be sent together at the same time.

Application steps:

  1. Fill out and submit the interest to sponsor form – Solid Visa can assist you in filling out the application.

  2. Get an invitation to submit a complete application – if invited, you’ll have to submit a complete application.

  3. Get the application package – a set of documents to be filled out by you and a person you are sponsoring.

  4. Pay application fees – the fee might include biometrics fee and also a payment for your medical check and a police certificate.

  5. Submit your application – you’ll have 60 days to submit the application.

  6. You will have to provide additional information about a person you are sponsoring – you should also inform the IRCC if your circumstances or a sponsored person’s circumstances change.

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