Canada Family Sponsorship Immigration Visa Program 2024

    Canada Family Sponsorship Immigration Visa Program 2024

    Canada offers different pathways for immigrants to be reunited with family members living abroad through its Family Class sponsorship program.

    One of the most common family sponsorship visa categories is the Spouse or Common-Law Partner sponsorship, allowing Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner to immigrate to Canada on a permanent basis.

    In this in-depth guide, we will explore the key requirements and process for obtaining a Canada family sponsorship immigration visa through spouse or common-law partner sponsorship. Let’s dive in.

    Who Can Be Sponsored as a Spouse or Common-Law Partner?

    To be eligible for spouse or common-law partner sponsorship, the sponsor (the Canadian citizen or permanent resident) must be legally married to or in a common-law partnership with the sponsored applicant.

    Canada’s Immigration Act defines a common-law partnership as a conjugal relationship between two individuals who have cohabited physically and emotionally for at least 12 continuous months.

    Cohabitation involves living together, publicly presenting yourself as a couple, and sharing responsibility for household expenses and childcare arrangements (if applicable).

    Unmarried couples in serious relationships lasting less than a year can still be considered common-law partners if they meet all other requirements.

    Both heterosexual and same-sex marriages and partnerships are recognized under this program. The sponsor and applicant must demonstrate the validity of their relationship through evidence such as joint bank accounts, ownership of property, birth certificates of children, proof of shared social and familial activities, etc.

    Eligibility Criteria for Sponsors

    Canadian citizens or permanent residents can sponsor eligible family members provided they meet the minimum necessary income and stable housing requirements:

    Income: Sponsors must demonstrate an annual gross income high enough to financially support both themselves and the sponsored family member without relying on social assistance. The income threshold varies depending on family size but is currently set at $22,960 for a family of two.

    Housing: Sponsors must have adequate housing that meets provincial housing and public health standards. The residence should have at least one bedroom for every family member or couple plus an extra bedroom.

    Language: Sponsors cannot be receiving social assistance for reasons of language inability (i.e., receiving language training themselves).

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    Age: Child sponsors must be at least 18 years old. There is no maximum age limit.

    Criminal History: Sponsors cannot have any serious criminal convictions that resulted in a jail sentence of more than 6 months.

    The Sponsorship Application Process

    Once determined eligible, here are the main steps to sponsor a spouse or partner through the family class program:

    1. Complete Online Assessment – Sponsors begin by completing IRC5255E, Sponsorship Evaluation, to assess eligibility and capacity to sponsor.

    2. Submit Application for Sponsorship – Eligible sponsors submit online application IMM 1344EE, Application for Sponsorship, along with supporting documents.

    3. Provide Proof of Relationship – Correspondences, photos together, financial records are submitted to verify relationship authenticity.

    4. Undergo background checks – Both sponsor and applicant undergo security and admissibility screening.

    5. Submit Sponsorship Undertaking – Form IMM 1244 is signed to take financial responsibility for sponsored relative until they become self-sufficient.

    6. Sponsored Applicant’s Medical & Police Clearance – Medical exam and police certificates from all countries of residence in last 10 years are required.

    7. Sponsored Applicant’s Visa Application – After approval in principle, applicants submit online application and fees from abroad to finalize permanent residence approval.

    8. Visa Issuance – When all requirements are met, permanent resident visa allowing entry into Canada is granted by an IRCC visa officer.

    This process usually takes 12-14 months to complete once a complete application is submitted. Prospective families should be aware of documentation required and spend adequate time preparing their applications.

    Post-Landing Obligations

    After the sponsored spouse or partner successfully lands in Canada and becomes a permanent resident, the sponsorship agreement remains in effect for a period of three years from the date of their permanent residency. During this time, sponsors assume certain post-landing obligations:

    Financial Support – If needed, sponsors must provide financial help to the sponsored relative so they do not require social assistance.

    Residence – Sponsors cannot prevent sponsored family members from living with them or on their own property for the duration of the obligation period.

    Education & Training – Sponsors should reasonably support sponsored relatives’ efforts to become economically established through education, training or skills upgrading.

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    Failure to fulfill sponsorship obligations could lead to penalties for sponsors including repayment of social assistance amounts spent on sponsored relatives. It is an arrangement that requires long-term commitment to ensure newcomers integrate and adjust to life in Canada.

    Alternatives to Spousal Sponsorship

    Other family class visa categories exist for situations where spousal sponsorship requirements can’t be met:

    Dependent Children – Unmarried children under 22 can be sponsored along with a parent’s application. This allows family reunification of minor kids.

    Parents and Grandparents – Citizens and permanent residents aged 18+ can sponsor their parents or grandparents directly if they meet higher income thresholds.

    Other Relatives – In rare humanitarian cases, sponsorship of siblings, nieces/nephews, grandchildren etc. may be permitted if the relative would experience hardship without a sponsor.

    Concurrent Spouse Applications offer another route where foreign nationals living together outside Canada can apply jointly as spouses from abroad rather than go through the sponsorship process. Applicants must meet eligibility requirements independently.

    Choosing the optimal family sponsorship visa depends on individual circumstances and advice from an immigration lawyer can help determine the best path. Flexible options exist to balance unique family needs with program rules.

    Common Application Mistakes

    Given the detailed requirements, some applications are refused or delayed due to frequent mistakes made during submission:

    Incomplete Documentation – All required documents must be submitted correctly as per instructions to establish eligibility and avoid processing delays.

    Insufficient Income – Not meeting minimum income thresholds is the top reason for refusal. Sponsors must realistically self-assess finances to support sponsorship success.

    False Relationship Claims – Lack of tangible proof of legitimate spousal cohabitation results in relationship not being seen as genuine, leading to refusal.

    Incorrect Form Versions – Using outdated forms can result in applications being returned or denied as guidelines evolve regularly. Always use the latest available versions.

    Missed Deadlines – Failure to provide requested information by specified deadlines risks sponsorship approval being terminated.

    Incomplete Medicals – Missing signature, pages or lab test results can invalidate otherwise complete sponsorship submissions.

    Being aware of common missteps and carefully preparing the application package following directions can greatly increase chances of smoothly obtaining a Canada family sponsorship visa.

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    Things to Consider Before Applying

    While the family sponsorship program provides an important immigration pathway, it is not a quick or guaranteed process. Some deliberation prior to initiating an application is recommended:

    Expectation Management – Be realistic about application processing timelines, conditions and requirements to avoid frustration from delays.

    Economic Implications – Ensure financial sponsor meets income obligations long-term and understands costs of supporting a sponsored relative.

    Housing Availability – Verify suitable accommodation meeting criteria will be available for duration needed.

    Employment Prospects – Newcomers may experience difficulty finding matching jobs. Have backup plan and savings.

    Cultural Adjustment – Differences in weather, laws, cultural norms require adaptability from both parties. Expect adjustment period.

    Language Capabilities – Sponsors should assess language abilities and commit to help family learn one of Canada’s official languages.

    Future Plans – Will both parties remain in Canada long-term? Consider impact on sponsorship if relationship breaks down.

    Weighing these key considerations with an immigration lawyer can guide better preparation and aid long-term sponsorship success or finding an alternative more suitable pathway.

    The Family Sponsorship Option: Worth Considering?

    In summary, securing a Canada family sponsorship immigration visa provides an invaluable pathway for reunifying eligible family members when all requirements are fulfilled. However, it is not a quick option and involves ongoing responsibilities. Some benefits include:

    • Pathway for spouses, partners and dependent kids to live permanently in Canada near family.
    • Long-term commitment demonstrates value Canada places in family unification for growth of communities and societies.
    • Flexible alternate classes exist to account for diverse family compositions and needs.
    • Successful applicants awarded full permanent resident status and eventual ability to apply for Canadian citizenship.

    At the same time, prospective immigrant families must realistically assess commitment levels, document preparation, economic implications and long adjustment process to determine if this program aligns with their goals and capabilities.

    Consulting knowledgeable immigration professionals can aid meaningful decision making. Lastly, Canada’s Family Sponsorship Program reflects the country’s humanitarian principles when utilized correctly by eligible candidates.

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