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SPONSORSHIP PROCEDURE

What does it mean to sponsor?

When you agree to sponsor, you must sign a contract called an undertaking. The undertaking is a promise to provide financial support for your spouse or common-law partner’s basic requirements and those of his or her family members. Basic requirements are food, clothing, shelter and other needs for everyday living.

Dental care, eye care and other health needs not covered by public health services are also included. The undertaking ensures the applicant and his or her dependent children do not have to apply for social assistance.

Your obligations as a sponsor begin as soon as you sign the undertaking. The chart below will help you determine for how long your undertaking will be valid.

Immigrant Length of undertaking
Your spouse or common-law partner Three years after the day he or she becomes a permanent resident
Dependent children over 22 years of age Three years
Dependent children under 22 years of age Ten years or until the child reaches 25 years of age, whichever comes first

If payments from a federal, provincial or municipal assistance program are made while the undertaking is valid, you will be considered to be in default. You may have to repay to the government concerned any benefits received by the applicant. You will not be allowed to sponsor other relatives.

Whom may I sponsor?

You may sponsor someone as your spouse if he or she meets the requirements in columns A and C. You may sponsor someone as your common-law partner if he or she meets the requirements in columns B and C.

A: Spouse

• is of the opposite sex

• is married to you and the marriage is legally recognized under federal law in Canada and in the country where it took place

B: Common-law partner

• is of the opposite or same sex

• Is cohabiting in a conjugal relationship with you and has done so for at least one year

• has valid temporary status as a visitor, student or temporary worker

C: Both spouse and common-law partner

• has valid legal status in Canada as a visitor, student or temporary worker

• is living with you in Canada

• has a valid passport or travel document

• is 16 years of age or older

• is your spouse or common-law partner for genuine reasons and not primarily for the purpose of obtaining permanent resident status in Canada

• is not subject to enforcement proceedings

In addition, you may not sponsor a person as your common-law partner if:

• you have lived apart from him or her for at least one year and are in a common-law relationship with another person.

• either of you is legally married to someone else, unless you have lived apart from that spouse for at least one year

Sponsorship eligibility

*If you are a permanent resident charged with a criminal offence and the courts could sentence you to a jail term of more than six months, your sponsorship application will not be dealt with until the court makes a final decision.

In order to sponsor you must:

• be 18 years of age or older

• be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident

• be sponsoring a member of the Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada Class

• live in Canada and continue to live in Canada after the sponsored person obtains permanent resident status

• sign an agreement, along with your spouse or common-law partner, confirming that each of you understands your obligations and responsibilities.

• sign an undertaking promising to provide for your spouse or common-law partner’s basic requirements and, if applicable, those of his or her dependent children

• prove that you have sufficient income to provide basic requirements for your spouse or common-law partner’s dependent child. To do this, you must provide documents that show your financial resources for the past 12 months. This requirement applies only to dependent children who have dependent children of their own.

You may NOT sponsor if:

• you have an undertaking for a previous spouse or common-law partner that is still valid

• you receive social assistance for a reason other than disability

• You are in default of an undertaking, immigration loan performance bond or support payments (see Defaults section below)

• you are an un-discharged bankrupt

• you were convicted of a sexual offence or an offence involving family violence, unless you were granted a pardon or five years have passed after the expiration of your sentence

• you are a permanent resident who has been convicted of a serious criminal offence, has provided false information to Immigration, or has not met conditions of entry.*

• you are detained in a penitentiary, jail reformatory or prison

• you have already applied to sponsor your current spouse or common-law partner and a decision on your application has not yet been made

Defaults

You are not eligible to sponsor if you are in default of a previous legal agreement. If you are in default and you submit an application to sponsor, it will be refused and the sponsorship fees you have paid will neither be refunded nor applied to subsequent sponsorships.

• If you are in default of: a previous sponsorship undertaking. Relatives you sponsored in the past have received social assistance or welfare while the undertaking was valid.

•  You may not sponsor until: you repay the full amount of any social assistance or welfare payment or repay the debt to the satisfaction of the government authority that issued the benefit or ordered you to pay.

• If you are in default of: an immigration loan. You received a transportation, assistance or Right of Permanent Residence fee (previously called the Right of Landing fee) loan and have missed payments or are in arrears.

•  You may not sponsor until: you pay all arrears on your loan. For information, contact Collection Services at 1 800 667-7301 (Canada and the United States only)

• If you are in default of: any support payment obligations. You were ordered by a court to make support payments to your spouse or child and have neglected to do so.

•  You may not sponsor until: you resolve the family support matter to the satisfaction of the provincial or territorial authorities who ordered the payment

• If you are in default of: a performance bond. You agreed to pay money to guarantee that an immigrant would fulfil his or her obligations under immigration legislation.

•  You may not sponsor until: you pay the full amount of the bond

How to Apply to Sponsor

If you think you are eligible to sponsor your spouse or common-law partner, follow the four steps outlined below. Your completed application must include:

• your sponsorship application

• your spouse or common-law partner’s application for permanent resident status

• all required documentation

• proof of payment of all applicable fees

If the forms and supporting documents are incomplete, your application will be returned to you.

STEP 1. There is only one copy of each form included in this guide. Before you begin, make enough photocopies of the blank forms for your needs. If you live in any part of Canada except Quebec, use the chart below to determine how many of each form you will need.

Form Must be completed by
Application to Sponsor and Undertaking (IMM 1344A) You
Sponsorship Agreement (IMM 1344B) Both you and your spouse or common-law partner
Sponsorship Evaluation (IMM 5481)* You
Spouse/Common-law Partner Questionnaire (IMM 5490) Both you and your spouse or common-law partner
Authority to Release Information to Designated Individuals (IMM 5476) Both you and your spouse or common-law partner, if you choose to have a representative
Receipt (IMM 5401) You
Document Checklist (IMM 5443) Both you and your spouse or common-law partner. Do not need to photocopy the Checklist; you may both use the same one.

*If your spouse or common-law partner has dependent children who have children of their own, do not complete this form. Complete the form, Financial Evaluation (5482) instead.

If you and your spouse or common-law partner live in Quebec and you both intend to continue living there, complete only the following forms:

Form Must be completed by
Application to Sponsor and Undertaking (IMM 1344A) You. We will send a copy of the form to the MRCI in Quebec, which will send you additional documents to complete and provide you with all necessary instructions
(see
Sponsors Living in Quebec).
Spouse/Common-law Partner Questionnaire (IMM 5490) Both you and your spouse or common-law partner
Authority to Release Information to Designated Individuals (IMM 5476) Both you and your spouse or common-law partner, if you choose to have a representative
Document Checklist (IMM 5443) Both you and your spouse or common-law partner. Do not need to photocopy the Checklist; you may both use the same one.

STEP 2. Give your spouse or common-law partner part two of the guide. It will list the forms he or she must complete for the permanent residence application. Your spouse or common-law partner must also provide supporting documents, including proof that he or she has undergone a medical examination.

STEP 3. Collect the documents you need to support your application. The Checklist will tell you which supporting documents must be originals and which should be photocopies. It will also tell you which require translation or certification (notarization).

Use the Checklist to make sure that you have included all of the required documents. We may request more information at any time during the process, even if the requested information is not listed on the Checklist.

STEP 4. Gather your spouse or common-law partner’s forms together with yours. Make sure all forms are completed and signed and are accompanied by the supporting documents, including proof of the medical examination and your receipt. Send everything to:

Case Processing Centre
Vegreville, Alberta
T9C 1W3

The envelope will require more postage than a normal letter. To avoid having your application returned to you, have the post office weigh it before mailing.

Sponsors must pay all fees associated with the processing of their case and granting of permanent resident status to their spouse or common-law partners. In addition to these fees, Quebec residents will have to pay provincial fees to process the undertaking they submit to the MRCI.

Applicant's status in Canada

To ensure that you have legal status in Canada, you should apply to extend your immigration status while your application for permanent residence is in process. You have legal status for the period of time indicated on a visitor document (work permit, study permit, visitor record) or temporary resident permit. Use the guide, Applying to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada to apply for an extension. It is available at our Web site or by calling a Call Centre as indicated on the Contact Information page. You should apply for your extension at least two months before your immigration status expires.

Dependent children

You must include all dependent children from your current and previous relationships, whether they are in Canada or not, in this application. To be considered dependent, the child must meet the criteria listed in column D and any one of columns A, B or C below.

A

Be under the age of 22 and not have a spouse or common-law partner

B

Depend substially on the financial support of a parent and been continuously enrolled and in attendance as full-time students in a government- accredited post secondary institution since before the age of 22 (or since becoming a spouse or a common-law partner, if this happened before the age of 22)

C

Depend substantially on the financial support of a parent since before the age of 22 and unable to provide for themselves due to a medical condition.

D

Meet the definition of "dependent children" both at the time the application is made and at the time the visa is issued. However, children in column A can be older than 22 when the visa is issued, as long as they were under 22 at the time of application.

Note: Child custody disputes must be resolved before you submit your application.

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