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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What does it mean to "sponsor?"

When you sponsor persons who are members of the family class, you must sign a contract, called an undertaking, with the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (or with the Ministθre des Relations avec les citoyens et de l'Immigration (MRCI) if you live in Quebec) promising to provide financial support for their basic requirements and those of their family members immigrating to Canada with them. Basic requirements are food, clothing, shelter and other basic requirements for everyday living.

Dental care, eye care and other health needs not covered by public health services are also included. The undertaking ensures these persons and their family members do not have to apply for social assistance. Its length varies according to their age and/or their relationship to you.

Your obligations as a sponsor begin as soon as the person you are sponsoring and, if applicable, his or her family members arrive in Canada. The following table shows when your obligations end.

If that person or his or her family member is Your obligations end
your spouse or your common-law or conjugal partner three years after that person becomes  a permanent resident
your dependent child or a dependent child of your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and under 22 years of age on the day he or she becomes a permanent resident ten years after that child becomes a permanent resident or on the day that child reaches age 25, whichever comes first
your dependent child or a dependent child of your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and 22 years of age or over on the day he or she becomes a permanent resident three years after that child becomes a permanent resident
any other person (e.g., your father, your mother, your grandparents or a dependent children of your parents) ten years after that person becomes a permanent resident

Note: An immigrant who comes to Canada to live permanently does not become a permanent resident before having satisfied immigration officials that he or she meets all applicable requirements. The decision to grant permanent residence to an immigrant may coincide with that immigrant’s arrival in Canada or may be reached at a later date.

If payments from a federal, provincial or municipal assistance program are made during the validity period of the undertaking to the person you are sponsoring or his or her family members, you

• will be considered to be in default of your obligations,

• may have to repay to the government concerned any benefits they received, and

• will not be allowed to sponsor other members of the family class until you have reimbursed the amount of these payments to the government concerned.

Who can be sponsored using this application package?

Your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner and your dependent children. If you want to sponsor your parents, grandparents, adopted children or children to be adopted, orphaned relatives or one other relative if you have no one else you are able to sponsor, you will have to use another application package. Contact a Call Centre or visit our Web site for more information.

Who can be sponsored as your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner?

You can sponsor a person as your spouse if that person is of the opposite sex, 16 years of age or older and married to you. The marriage must be legally recognized in the country where it took place and in Canada.

You can sponsor a person as your common-law partner if that person is of the opposite or same sex, has cohabited in a conjugal relationship with you for a period of at least one year and is still cohabiting with you.

You can sponsor a person as a conjugal partner if that person is residing outside Canada and you have maintained with this person a conjugal relationship for at least one year, but you have not cohabited with him or her. Note: if your sponsorship is successful, your conjugal partner becomes a permanent resident of Canada but cannot exercise any rights or privileges associated with common-law status until you have cohabited for at least one year.

Who cannot be sponsored as your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner?

You cannot sponsor a person as your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner if

• that person is under 16 years of age;

• you are a permanent resident and at the time you made your application for permanent residence, that person was a non-accompanying family member, former spouse or common-law partner and was not examined; or

• you previously sponsored another spouse, a common-law partner or a conjugal partner and three years have not passed since that spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner became a permanent resident.

Further, you cannot sponsor a person as your spouse

• if you or this person were the spouse of another person at the time of your marriage, or

• if you have lived separate and apart from this person for at least one year and are in a common-law relationship with another person.

Who is a dependent child?

Dependent children may be your own children or those of the person you are sponsoring. They must

• be under the age of 22 and not a spouse or common-law partner; or,

• have depended substantially on the financial support of a parent and have been continuously enrolled and in attendance as full-time students in a post secondary institution accredited by the relevant government authority since before the age of 22 (or since becoming a spouse or a common-law partner, if they married or entered into a common-law relationship before the age of 22); or,

• have depended substantially on the financial support of a parents since before the age of 22 and unable to provide for themselves due to a medical condition.

Children included in the application must meet the definition of "dependent children" both on the day the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, receives a complete application and, without taking into account whether they have attained 22 years of age, on the day a visa is issued to them.

Who can sponsor?

You may be eligible to sponsor if:

• the person you want to sponsor is a member of the family class. If he or she is not, you will be found not to be a sponsor;

• you are 18 years of age or older;

• you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;

• you reside in Canada;
Canadian citizens not residing in Canada may sponsor their spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and/or dependent children who have no dependent children of their own. They must satisfy immigration officials that they will reside in Canada at the time their sponsored spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and/or children become permanent residents of Canada. Canadians traveling abroad as tourists are not considered to be residing outside Canada.

• you sign an undertaking promising to provide for the basic requirements of the person being sponsored and, if applicable, his or her dependent children;

• you and the person being sponsored sign an agreement that confirms that each of you understands your mutual obligations and responsibilities.

Unless you are sponsoring only

• your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner who has no dependent children, or

• your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner whose dependent children have no children of their own, or

• your dependent child who has no children of his or her own,

you will also have to prove you have an income that is at least equal to the minimum necessary income, the amount of which is published yearly by the Canadian government. You will have to provide us with documents that show your financial resources for the past 12 months and prove you are financially able to sponsor members of the family class. You may solicit the help of a co-signer (must be your spouse or common-law partner).

Who cannot sponsor?

You are not eligible to sponsor, if you are in default of a previous sponsorship undertaking, of an immigration loan, of court ordered support payment obligations or of a performance bond (an amount you agreed to pay as a guarantee of performance of an obligation under the immigration legislation);

Default of a previous sponsorship undertaking means persons you sponsored in the past have received social assistance during the validity period of the undertaking.

Default of an immigration loan means you received a transportation, assistance or Right of Permanent Residence (previously Right of Landing) fee loan and have not made a required payment or are in arrears with your loan payments.

Default of any court ordered support payment obligations means you were ordered by a court to make support payments to your spouse, common-law partner or child and have neglected to do so.

Default of a performance bond means you have not paid the sum of money that became payable to the Canadian government following a promise you made to pay this sum if the person specified in the performance bond that you signed or co-signed did not comply with the conditions imposed on him or her by immigration authorities.

If you are in default of a previous sponsorship, of an immigration loan, of court ordered support payment obligations or of a performance bond and you submit an application to sponsor, it will be refused even if you are sponsoring your spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, or child. Should you want to sponsor again, you will have to

• repay the full amount of any social assistance payment or repay the debt to the satisfaction of the provincial, territorial or municipal authorities that issued the benefit or ordered you to pay, if you are in default of a previous sponsorship,

• pay all arrears on your loan, if you are in default of an immigration loan,

• resolve the family support matter to the satisfaction of the provincial or territorial authorities who ordered the payment, or

• pay any outstanding bonds for which you are a signer or a co-signer and that became payable;

• submit a new sponsorship application;

• pay new processing fees; and

• meet all the eligibility requirements for sponsorship at that time.

For information on social assistance repayments, contact the appropriate provincial authorities.

For information on your loan account only, contact Collection Services at 1 800 667-7301 (this number may be accessed from within Canada and the United States only)

You cannot sponsor a person for whom you have submitted a previous sponsorship application and no final determination has been made with respect to that application.

You are ineligible to sponsor if:

• you are in prison;

• you are an undischarged bankrupt;

• you are in receipt of social assistance for a reason other than disability;

• you were convicted of a sexual offence or an offence against the person with respect to one of your family members, unless you were granted a pardon or five years have passed after the expiration of the sentence imposed on you;

• you were adopted outside Canada and subsequently obtained a revocation of your adoption for the purpose of sponsoring an application for permanent residence by your biological parent;

• you are a permanent resident and subject to a removal order;

• have been convicted of a serious criminal offence, have provided false information to Immigration, or have not met conditions of entry.

Under what circumstances may processing be suspended?

If any of the proceedings below apply to you and you send a sponsorship application to the CPC, your application will not be processed until a final decision is rendered with respect to that proceeding.

• You have been charged with the commission of an offence that is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years.

• You are subject of a report that would render you inadmissible to Canada.

• You are the subject of an application to revoke your citizenship.

• You are the subject of a certificate signed by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Solicitor General of Canada stating you are inadmissible on grounds of security, human or international rights violation, serious criminality or organized criminality.

• You are appealing the loss of your permanent resident status.

What will the person I want to sponsor have to do?

The person you want to sponsor and, if applicable, his or her family members will have to:

• sign the Agreement (form IMM 1344B)

• complete the forms included with the guide Immigrating as a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner or dependent child and provide appropriate documentation in support of their application;

• undergo a medical examination (results of the medical examination are valid for 12 months). Instructions on how to proceed will be provided by the visa office assessing the application for permanent residence;

• pass criminal and security checks;

• obtain passports and, in some countries, exit visas; and,

• go for an interview at a Canadian visa office, if required.

The person you want to sponsor and his or her family members should not quit their jobs or sell their assets until they have their permanent resident visas.

Can I cancel my undertaking once it has been approved?

If you change your mind about sponsoring your spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner or dependent children, you must write a letter to the CPC before they are issued permanent resident visas

If permanent resident visas were already issued, the promise you, and if applicable, your co-signer, made to support your family will be valid for the term of your undertaking.

The undertaking is an unconditional promise of support. For example, the granting of Canadian citizenship, divorce, separation or relationship breakdown or moving to another province does not cancel the undertaking. The undertaking also remains in effect if your financial situation deteriorates.

When does default end?

If you are in default because you have not made payments you had promised in an undertaking to repay (for example, a person you sponsored received social assistance during the validity period of the undertaking and you have not reimbursed the government concerned for the amount paid to the sponsored person) or because you failed to meet an obligation in an undertaking, you remain in default, regardless of when the period of validity ends, until such time as

• you reimburse the government concerned, in full or in accordance with an agreement with that government, for amounts paid by it, or

• meet the obligation set out in the undertaking.

If I live outside Canada, can I sponsor?

If you are not a Canadian citizen, you cannot sponsor if you live outside Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen, you may sponsor a spouse, a common-law or conjugal partner, or a dependent child who has no dependent child of his or her own. You must reside in Canada when the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident.

What if I do not meet sponsorship requirements?

You must notify the CPC of your intent to withdraw your sponsorship application in the event the CPC finds you ineligible to sponsor. You must do so before the visa office begins to process the application for permanent residence of the person you want to sponsor, otherwise you will not be eligible for a refund of your processing fees. A box on the application form (IMM 1344A) has been provided for this purpose.

If you do not qualify as a sponsor and chose to withdraw your sponsorship application, you will be refunded part of the processing fees and any Right of permanent residence fees you will have paid.

There will be no decision on the application for permanent residence of the person you are sponsoring and you will not have a right of appeal. You could then resolve the situation leading to your ineligibility and reapply at a later date.

If you do not qualify as a sponsor and have not notified the CPC of your intent to withdraw, the application of the person you are sponsoring will be processed. The visa office will likely refuse the application for permanent residence and inform you in writing of your right to appeal.

What if the application of the person I want to sponsor is refused?

If the person you want to sponsor is not a member of the family class, his or her application for permanent residence will be refused.

If the person you want to sponsor does not meet the eligibility requirements or admissibility criteria for the family class, his or her application will be refused. The visa office will inform him or her of the reasons for the refusal and you will have the right to appeal the decision.

Why might the application for permanent residence of the person I want to sponsor be refused?

There are many possible reasons why an application for permanent residence might be refused. Some examples are:

• the relationship between you and your family members is for convenience only. For example, you married or entered into a common-law or conjugal relationship primarily for the purpose of obtaining permanent residence in Canada;

• you may not meet the financial requirements where these are applicable;

• the person you want to sponsor and his or her family members may not have provided the required documents as requested;

• the person you want to sponsor is not a member of the family class; or

• the person you want to sponsor and his or her family members have a criminal record or serious illness.

If the application of the person you want to sponsor is refused, he or she will receive a letter explaining the reasons for refusal.

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