Anyone who has immigrated to Canada dreams of getting re-united with the members of his/her family on the Canadian soil. One of the prime concerns of immigrants is to understand the immigration laws that define and facilitate immigration of family members to Canada. Making this a vision, Canadian immigration law seeks to ensure that families stay together. In order to institute the same, there are diverse arrangements under which different class of family members living abroad may be sponsored by a Canadian immigrant.
For more information on the privileges guaranteed to Canadian citizens or permanent residents by the Family Class Sponsorship Program, here is a brief outline of the sponsorship program-
Spousal Sponsorship – If you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, you can sponsor your spouse to become permanent resident of Canada. This provision applies to married couples, common-law partners and other conjugal partners including same-sex couples. However, the sincerity of the marriage or the relationship must be proven with documented evidence.
Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship – If financially fit, the citizens of Canada or its permanent residents may sponsor their grandparents or parents to benefit them in the immigration process to Canada.
Parent and Grandparent Super Visa – A Super Visa permits parents or grandparents of the Canadian permanent resident or Canadian citizen to visit their kin in Canada conveniently for up to 2 years at a time without the need to renew their status. This is permitted if the sponsor is at least 18 years old and can financially support the relative.
Dependent Child Sponsorship and Other Sponsorship – Canadian citizens or permanent residents may sponsor their children for immigration to Canada if they can be proven to be dependent under various specified conditions. Dependent children include those adopted and/or any other orphaned family members. Apart from this, other members of the family may be sponsored under extraordinary conditions.
Other Options for Sponsorship
Provincial Family Class Sponsorship – A few other options include the family class sponsorship programs extended under provincial nominee programs (PNP). However, these PNPs are managed at the provincial level and are not defined under the federal Family Class Sponsorship Program.
Who can be a Sponsor – You can sponsor your family members to immigrate to Canada if you are a Canadian citizen or its permanent resident of 18 years or older. You just need to prove that you can financially support the family members and dependents if need be. Under the law, as a sponsor you can be asked to give proof of income to support your claim in certain cases. The Canadian immigration office will like to corroborate that you are making valid claims about your income and can manage your additional family members in Canada. In such cases where the sponsor is presently living anywhere outside Canada, the sponsor must give appropriate attestation that he or she intends to live only in Canada when the sponsee becomes a permanent resident of Canada. Else, the application is sure to get rejected.
Who can you sponsor? – In order to qualify for family class sponsorship you need to fulfill some necessary requirements as outlined here. You are not eligible to be a sponsor in certain instances defined by law. You cannot sponsor a relative or a family member if you are not yet a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen yourself. Anyone living in Canada under work permit or on a study visa cannot sponsor a relative. You cannot also sponsor if you are unable to prove your financial credentials as a sponsor. You should not have any pending loans against you. As a sponsor you need to be financially stable and in a sound position to support those you sponsor. There should be no police record of a criminal offense, pending legal cases, or detention record against you. There should not be any record of you receiving social assistance other than in cases of disability. You cannot sponsor if you have previously sponsored a relative and three years have yet not passed on their becoming a permanent resident, or if you sponsored another relative earlier but a decision in it is still awaited.
Types of Application for Immigration Filing – You can apply for Family Class Sponsorship Program by ensuring that both the sponsor and the sponsored have the necessary requisites defined under the program. Each has certain different documents to submit and different requirements to fulfill. An easy way to understand the procedure is – First, the sponsor should submit the sponsorship application that will assess if the applicant qualifies to be a sponsor as per the terms defined under the family class program. There are certain necessary requirements that need to be met with in order to qualify as a sponsor. Any further advancement in the process can be made once the approval is received.
Second, the person who wants to be sponsored to immigrate to Canada also needs to fulfill certain necessary requirements in order to get qualified for immigration under the family class sponsorship program. Once that is done, the applicant must apply for permanent residency in Canada.
Conditional Permanent Resident Period – Under the spousal sponsorship, it is obligatory for the sponsor and his/her spouse including common-law partner and same-sex partner to live together for at least two years from the day they are sanctioned their Canadian permanent residency. This is to establish that the relationship is authentic and honest. Failing to do so, they may lose their permanent residency. This case applies on anyone with the following factors-
If the couple has no common children.
If they married for less than 24 months.
If they have date for 4 years but have not been married for more than 2 years.
If a couple has been in a conjugal relationship that is not longer than 2 years.
If a couple has lived in a common-law relationship for not longer than 2 years.
However this obligation will not be required for those who have been married, been in a conjugal or a common-law relationship for more than 2 years, or have common children.
Who qualifies as a dependent child?
Canadian Immigration Law is highly committed to family solidarity and togetherness, and therefore persistently endeavors to bolster procedures that guarantee the same. All immigrants to Canada are permitted to bring their immediate family members to Canada under certain conditions and policies.
A child or children of the sponsor can immigrate to Canada if they qualify as dependents under the Family Class Sponsorship Program. This procedure also benefits the child/children of those who are themselves getting sponsored as their children can also qualify as dependents.
The prerequisites for qualifying as a dependent child are that the individual must be under 22 years and not married or be in any conjugal partnership. If an individual is over 22 years, or married, or in a common-law partnership, he/she should be able to prove continuous financial dependence on the parents, or be continuously enrolled in full-time studies. An individual of above 22 years can also qualify as a dependent if he/she is financially dependent on the parents due to some physical or mental condition.
A person who is Canadian resident can also sponsor an adopted child or an orphaned relative including siblings, nephew, niece or grandchildren who are under 18 years old and do not have a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner. There are other provisions for selected relatives too who can also be sponsored in case of extraordinary circumstances.
Parent Grandparent Sponsorship
The Family Class Sponsorship Program guarantees that elderly parents and/or grandparents continue to stay with their children in Canada. The immigration laws are defined keeping in mind that family values should not get undermined in the immigration process. You are eligible to sponsor your parents or grandparents to become permanent residents in Canada if the following applies to you-
You should be a legally recognized Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada who is 18 years old or above.
The sponsor should be financially sound to support sponsorship of the family members. For this, the sponsor will have to give appropriate documentary proof including proof of income of at least three years to validate that he/she can take financial responsibility of the family members if need be.
The sponsor should guarantee that the sponsored family members will not need any kind of social assistance, and if need be the sponsor will take care of any such unpremeditated needs.
In order to sponsor the parent or grandparent, you should not have any criminal records, pending court judgments, detention record, or an outstanding loan against you.
A Special Provision – The parent grandparent Super Visa ensures that your parents and grandparents can visit you in Canada without enduring the elaborate process of sponsorship program. This kind of visa permits your parents/grandparents a temporary residency in Canada so that they can stay with you in Canada for up to two years at a stretch without applying for renewal after every six months otherwise required for normal multi-entry visa. Once granted, Super Visa remains valid for up to 10 years and guarantees multiple entries in the country.
Parent and Grandparent Super Visa
The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa has its fair number of advantages over a regular multi-entry visa. In a regular visa, the family members are permitted to visit Canada for up to 6 months at a stretch after which they are supposed to apply for a renewal or extension. However, in a Super Visa, the family members can stay in Canada for up to 2 years per visit without bothering about renewal or extension. Once granted, Super Visa remains valid for up to 10 years and guarantees multiple entries in the country.
Eligibility Criteria for the applicant for Sponsorship
The applicant must be able to show with documentary proof that they are the parents or grandparents of the sponsor.
Only an applicant eligible for a regular visa can apply for a Super Visa.
The applicant must be able to convince the immigration office that they are financially sound to take care of themselves while in Canada, and also show evidence to attest that they plan to voluntarily return to the home country at the end of the stipulated period of stay. The visa office can determine this on the basis of various factors including proof that the applicant has strong ties to his native country, has a family in the native country, and their financial status to assess if the applicants are financially fit to support themselves in the duration of their stay in Canada.
The applicants must agree to undergo a medical examination. They will also be required to procure a medical insurance valid for at least one year from a Canadian insurance company
Eligibility Criteria for the applicant as a Sponsor
Anyone with the following prerequisites is eligible to sponsor his/her parents or grandparents for a temporary residency in Canada-
If they are recognized Canadian citizens or permanent residents and at least 18 years old or above.
If they provide a letter of invitation to the family members along with a statement that promises that the sponsor will take complete financial responsibility of the super visa applicant during the stay in Canada. This will include giving full documented proof of income and ensuring that it complies with the determined minimum level requirements.
Who is recognized as a spouse in Canada – Canadian Immigration is programmed in a way so as to allow Canadian citizens and permanent residents to aid the immigration of their foreign national spouses, common-law partners and conjugal partners to Canada including same-sex partners. If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada, you are permitted to sponsor your spouse long with any dependent child or children for immigration to Canada.
Who is recognized as a Spouse? – According to Canadian immigration law, the other partner in a legal marriage is acknowledged as a spouse. The immigration procedures vary in spousal sponsorship in two ways –
In cases where a couple is married in Canada, the policy clearly states that the applicant must be able to establish the marriage as legal as per the established provisions of law, by submitting a marriage certificate with regard to that, issued by the competent authority of the territory where the marriage was solemnized.
In cases, where a couple is married outside of Canada, the marriage should be legally recognized in the country where the marriage took place. If the marriage happens to have taken place in a consulate or an embassy, it should be legally recognized by the country where marriage was solemnized, no matter what country the embassy represents. In both cases, the marriage should be considered legal by Canadian law as well.
Common-law Partner -If a couple has been living together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year even without legal civil or religious ceremonial marriage, they are recognized as common-law partners including same-sex partners. The Canadian law considers such couples as legally qualified for immigration if they can provide proper proof of living together continuously for at least 1 year.
Conjugal Partner – Conjugal partners are those who due to some legal complexities or unavoidable circumstances are unable to be recognized as spouses, or common-law partners. This includes couples who cannot show proof of having lived together for at least a year continuously. In this case, the couple needs to prove the authenticity of the relationship and establish that they are committed to each other. In order to qualify as a conjugal partner, a couple needs to provide proof that they had been maintaining a relationship, and give valid reasons to explain the circumstances wherein and why the marriage could not be solemnized.
Same-Sex Partner/Spouse – The above mentioned points also apply to same-sex spouse. You can sponsor a same-sex sponsor if you fulfill both the above mentioned criteria and are able to furnish proper documentary proof to establish the relationship as legally recognized.
Conditional Permanent Resident Period – Sponsored and common-law spouses and conjugal partners (including same-sex partners) must live in a legitimate relationship with their sponsor for at least 2 years from the date of their acquiring their Canadian permanent residency. Such a condition applies to all the couples who don’t have a common child and who meet the condition of
having been married for two years or less, or
have been living in conjugal relationship with the sponsor for two years or less or
have cohabited in a common law relationship for two years or less.
However, the condition does not apply in any of the cases where the couple
has been married for more than two years,
has been in a conjugal relationship for more than two years or has lived in a conjugal relationship for more than two years or,