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September 15, 2022

Spousal Sponsorship, Sponsoring Parents or Grandparents – What to Know

Spousal sponsorship is one way to reunite families. What you need to know about sponsoring your spouse, parents, or grandparents.

We often help reunite partners and families. We understand the questions and concerns around spousal sponsorship or sponsoring parents and grandparents.

The process can be legally complex no matter how you submit your application – from within Canada, at a Canadian embassy or from a consulate abroad. But, a spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner who wants to immigrate to Canada must have sponsorship by a Canadian permanent resident or citizen. And that sponsor must submit an application in support of the foreign spouse.

The process is different for those who would like to sponsor parents or grandparents immigrating to Canada. Canadian citizens or permanent residents can sponsor family members who have been approved to be part of the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP). There is also the Super Visa route, a flexible way to enjoy extended time with family over the course of ten years.

If your spouse or other family members are foreign nationals and you want them to be with you – move to Canada permanently – we can help you with the process.

Relationships eligible for spousal sponsorship

There are three relationship statuses (with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident) that provide for spousal sponsorship eligibility. Under Canadian law, they are considered functionally equivalent for the purposes of immigration:

  1. Spouse. To qualify under this status, the sponsor and the foreign national must be legally married. The marriage must be valid under the law of the jurisdiction where the couple was wed and under Canadian law.
  2. Common-law partner. If a couple has cohabited in a conjugal relationship for at least one year (12 consecutive months), they are considered common-law partners under Canadian law. Cohabitation requires more than simply living together in the same house. You need to show proof of combined affairs, including finances.
  3. Conjugal partner. This status has been created for partners who would qualify under spouse or common-law but were prevented from doing so by local law or other circumstances beyond their control. Examples include marital status (not permitted to divorce a previous partner under local law) or an immigration barrier. You cannot qualify as a conjugal partner if you have lived apart for a year or more and if either of you is someone else’s common-law or conjugal partner.

Who is eligible to be a sponsor?

First and foremost, it’s vital that your relationship with the foreign national is genuine and isn’t simply to acquire any status or privilege under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Additionally, there are specific requirements if you want to sponsor a foreign national to immigrate to Canada. They include:

  • Both the sponsor and partner must be at least 18 years old at the time of application.
  • The sponsor must prove their own legal status in Canada – citizenship or permanent residence.
  • If you are a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when your sponsored spouse or partner becomes a permanent resident.
  • You can’t sponsor someone if you are a permanent resident living outside Canada.
  • The partner must have one of the following types of status: spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner.
  • The sponsor must agree to file a sponsorship application on behalf of their partner.
  • The sponsor must prove their own legal status in Canada – citizenship or permanent residence:
    • If you are a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when your sponsored spouse or partner becomes a permanent resident.
    • You can’t sponsor someone if you are a permanent resident living outside Canada.

What is the Parents and Grandparents Program?

The Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) was created to help reunite families in Canada. Canadian citizens or permanent residents can sponsor their parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada. Through this program, parents and grandparents who are approved can go on to receive their permanent residency. Eventually, they may be able to apply for citizenship.

The PGP 2021 was conducted through Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as a lottery from September 23 to October 4, 2021. During that time, 30,000 Canadian citizens and permanent residents were invited to submit their sponsorship applications.

Currently, information regarding the 2023 intake is not yet available.

Super Visa to help parents and grandparents immigrating to Canada

Rather than waiting for updates on the PGP, a Super Visa is an existing option to sponsor parents and grandparents at any time. Sponsors can apply for a Super Visa while they attempt to get selected for the PGP.

This visa allows parents and grandparents of Canadian Citizens and permanent residents to visit their family for up to five consecutive years without renewing their visitor status. With a Super Visa, parents and grandparents can visit Canada multiple times for up to 10 years.

Eligibility for a Super Visa requires the applicant to be a parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada. An applicant’s spouse or common-law partner can be included on the applications, but no dependents can be listed.

There can be increased potential responsibilities that come with elderly family members. Consequently, the sponsor must provide proof that they meet the income requirements to support ALL of the people you are responsible for, including those they wish to immigrate.

A signed letter from the eligible sponsor inviting the applicant to Canada is required and must include:

  • A promise of financial support for the length of your visit
  • The list and number of people in the household of this person
  • A copy of this person’s Canadian citizenship or permanent resident document
  • The applicant must also have medical insurance from a Canadian insurance company. It must be:
    • Valid for at least one year from the date of entry
    • At least $100,000 of emergency coverage and proof that it’s been paid in full

There is a great deal to consider before you sponsor a loved one. But, Eastman Law Office can help you apply! We will guide you through the entire process. We are very thorough in preparing and submitting Spousal Sponsorship and all other immigration applications.

Find out more about Spousal Sponship applications as well as sponsoring parents and grandparents. CONTACT US!

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