Family Sponsorship Immigration Lawyer

What is Family Sponsorship?

Family reunification is one of the pillars of Canada’s immigration system. Family sponsorship allows your family member to immigrate to Canada and achieve permanent residence to live, study and work. You as the sponsor, must make the commitment to provide basic necessities and financial support to your family member.

Who is eligible to be sponsored under this category?

The Family Sponsorship program allows for the sponsorship of various family members that includes:

  • Spouses, Conjugal Partners & Common-Law Partners: This includes both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

  • Dependent Children (including adopted children): Dependent children must be under a certain age and not married or in a common-law relationship themselves.

  • Parents & Grandparents: The process for sponsoring parents and grandparents is subject to a ‘Low-Income Cut-Off’ requirementfor sponsors

  • Other relatives such as an orphaned sibling, nephew, niece, aunt, uncle, or grandchild.

Who is eligible to act as a sponsor?

To be eligible to sponsor a family member, the sponsor must:

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

  • be at least 18 years old.

  • and meet certain financial requirements dependent on the type of sponsorship category that you are enduring, to ensure that they can provide financial support to the sponsored individuals.

  • If you reside in Quebec, additional sponsorship requirements may apply.

Sponsors are required to sign an undertaking, committing to providing financial support for the sponsored family members for a specified period. This is to ensure that the sponsored individual(s) does not need to rely on social assistance. Even if circumstances change (such as divorce, separation, financial issues, or if the sponsored person becomes a Canadian citizen), the undertaking remains in effect and cannot be cancelled. The “undertaking period” varies on the family member that you are sponsoring.

Type of Sponsored Person(s)Length of Undertaking
Spouse, Common-Law Partner, or Conjugal Partner3 Years
Parent or Grandparent20 Years
Dependent Child10 Years (or until the age of twenty-five, whichever comes first)
Dependent Child 22 years of age or older3 Years
"Other" Relatives10 Years


How do I sponsor a family member to Canada?

Sponsoring a family member to Canada involves a multi-step process. Here is a general overview of the steps involved in the Family Sponsorship program:

Check Your Eligibility:

  • Ensure that you are eligible to sponsor. You must be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or a registered Indian under the Canadian Indian Act.

  • You must be at least 18 years old.

  • If you reside in Quebec, additional sponsorship requirements may apply.

Determine Eligibility of the Family Member:

  • Confirm that the family member that you wish to sponsor, is eligible. Eligible family members may include a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, dependent children, parents and grandparents or other relatives (listed above).

Meet Financial Requirements:

  • As a sponsor, you need to demonstrate that you have income to support the basic needs of the family members that you are sponsoring. This is usually done by providing proof of income through your tax returns, along with evidence of current employment if applicable. 

Gather the Appropriate Documentation:

The specific documents required for Family Sponsorship in Canada can vary based on the type of family member that you are sponsoring and your individual circumstances. However, here is a general list of documents commonly needed for a family sponsorship application.

  1. Sponsor’s Documents

    1. Proof of Canadian citizenship or permanent residence.

    2. Proof of identity (e.g. passport, birth certificate).

    3. Proof of relationship to the sponsored family member.

    4. Proof of income and financial ability to support the sponsored family members.

    5. 2 Photographs of the sponsored person(s).

    6. Any divorce certificates (if applicable).

    7. Other documentation based on their country of residence (varies)

  2. Sponsored Family Member’s Documents

    1. Valid passport or travel document.

    2. Birth certificate.

    3. Police certificates from all countries where the sponsored family member has lived for six months or more since the age of 18.

    4. Medical examination results (required for certain family members).

    5. Marriage or divorce certificates (if applicable).

    6. Adoption papers (if applicable)

  3. Additional Documents

    1. Photographs of the sponsor and sponsored family members.

    2. Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union (f applicable).

    3. Custody Agreements or Court Orders (if applicable).

    4. Proof of relationship documentation.

    5. Any other documents requested by IRCC based on your specific case.

  4. Forms 

    1. Completed sponsorship application forms.

    2. Completed permanent residence application forms for the sponsored family member.

  5. Fees

    1. Payment receipts for the required sponsorship and processing fees.

It is crucial to refer to the official checklist and guidelines provided by IRCC for the specific family member sponsorship category that you are applying under. The requirements may change, and the checklist would provide detailed information on the necessary documents, forms, and fees. Keep in mind that incomplete or incorrect documentation can result in delays or refusal of the application.

If necessary, ensure that all documents are accurately translated into English or French, and that certified copies are provided where required. 

Consider consulting with a Canadian immigration family sponsorship lawyer to ensure that your application is accurate and meets all the requirements.

Submit the Sponsorship Application:

  • Complete and submit the sponsorship application to IRCC. This involves filling out the appropriate forms, including the sponsorship application and the application for permanent residence by the sponsored family member.

Wait for Processing:

  • After submitting the application, you will need to wait for it to be processed. Processing times can vary depending on the type of sponsorship and other factors.

Medical Examinations & Security Clearances:

  • The sponsored family members will be required to undergo medical examinations and provide security clearances as part of the application process.


  • Once the application is processed, you will be notified of the decision. If approved, the sponsored family member(s) will be granted permanent resident status.

Should I hire a Canadian Immigration Lawyer for my Family Sponsorship Application?

Whether or not you need an immigration lawyer for your Canadian family sponsorship application depends on your individual circumstances and comfort level with the immigration process. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Application Complexity: If your case is straightforward and you meet all the eligibility criteria without any complications, you may be able to manage the application process on your own. IRCC provides detailed instructions and guides within their website, to help applicants navigate the process.

  2. Legal Advice & Expertise: If your case is more complex, consulting with an immigration lawyer can be beneficial. They can provide legal advice, ensure that all required documents are prepared correctly, and help address any challenges that may arise. 

  3. Financial Considerations: Hiring an immigration lawyer involves costs. However, keep in mind that legal assistance can be valuable in preventing delays or complications that might arise from errors or omissions on the application.

  4. Peace of Mind: Some individuals prefer to have the assistance of a legal professional to ensure that their application is submitted correctly. This can provide peace of mind and reduce stress throughout the process.

  5. Changes in Immigration Policies: Immigration policies and procedures may change, and an immigration lawyer can help you stay informed about any recent updates that may affect your application.

If you decide to hire an immigration lawyer for family sponsorship in Canada, be sure to choose a reputable professional with expertise in Canadian immigration law. They can guide you through the process, help you understand your rights and responsibilities, and increase the likelihood of a successful application.

In navigating the complex landscape of Canadian immigration, having a knowledgeable and experienced immigration lawyer by your side can make all the difference. At AKM Law, we understand the significance of reunifying families and helping individuals achieve their dreams of living in Canada. Our team consists of dedicated professionals who are committed to providing personalized guidance and comprehensive support throughout the immigration process. Whether you are seeking to sponsor a family member, apply for permanent residency, or address any immigration-related challenges, we are here to ensure a smooth and successful journey. Trust in our expertise to guide you through the intricacies of Canadian immigration law, bringing you closer to the future that you envision. 

Family Sponsorship - AKM Law - Toronto Immigration Law Firm
Family Sponsorship | AKM Law | Toronto Immigration Law Firm

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