You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and are now looking at bringing your family members to live with you in Canada. Luckily for you, Canada offers pathways for you to help immigrate your relatives through family sponsorship programs. Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offers specific family programs to sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, dependent children, or parents/ grandparents. However, you might be looking to sponsor other relatives not in the aforementioned categories such as your cousin, aunt, uncle, or siblings. You will be able to sponsor these other relatives but only under specific circumstances. Below we discuss how to sponsor ‘other relatives’ that are not considered a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, dependent children, parents or grandparents.
Am I Eligible to Sponsor a Relative to Canada?
Before you begin the process to help a relative migrate to Canada, you must be eligible to be a sponsor. In order to sponsor someone to Canada you must be at least 18 years old, and a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada or person registered in Canada as an Indian. Additionally, you must be living in Canada to sponsor other relatives.
As a sponsor, you are responsible to meet the set income guidelines and to provide financial support for your sponsored relative once they obtain permanent residency. This obligation to provide financial support is called an undertaking and lasts for 10 years after your other relative becomes a permanent resident.
What Other Relatives Can I Sponsor to Canada?
Importantly, the only other relatives that you can sponsor to Canada have to be related to you by blood or adoption, regardless of what their relationship is to you.
Orphaned siblings, nephews/nieces or grandchild
You are allowed to sponsor an orphaned sibling, nephew/niece or grandchild only if they meet the following conditions:
- Related to you by blood or adoption
- Both their mother and father passed away
- Under 18 years of age
- Are single (not married or in a common-law or conjugal relationship)
However, you will not be able to sponsor your sibling, nephew/niece, or grandchild if one of their parents is still alive. Not having their parents in their lives due to abandonment, their whereabouts being unknown or being jailed/detained, will not grant eligibility for your relative to be sponsored by you.
You are also able to sponsor other relatives such as a cousin, aunt, or uncle to Canada under specific circumstances. Through this application process, you may only sponsor one relative and their dependents; for instance, you will not be able to sponsor two different cousins.
In order to sponsor a relative, related by blood or adoption, of any age, you must meet all of the following requirements:
- you (the person who wants to sponsor your relative) don’t have a living relative you could sponsor instead, such as a:
- common-law partner
- conjugal partner
- son or daughter
- orphaned brother or sister
- orphaned nephew or niece
- you (the potential sponsor) don’t have any relatives (aunt or uncle or any of the relatives listed above), who is a:
- Canadian citizen
- permanent resident
- registered Indian under the Indian Act
If the relative you want to sponsor has a spouse, partner, or dependent children who will come with them to Canada, you must include them on the same sponsorship application.
Additionally, you will not be able to sponsor someone who is deemed inadmissible to Canada.
Is There Another Way For My Relative to Come to Canada If I Cannot Sponsor Them?
If your other relative does not meet the specific circumstances to be sponsored by you to Canada, there are alternative ways that you can be reunited with them in Canada. If your relative has other family in Canada that are citizens or permanent residents, they should see if they are eligible to be sponsored by their other family members.
Your relative may still be able to come to Canada as a temporary resident, such as a visitor, student, or worker. They would have to apply for a temporary resident visa through one of the temporary resident categories, and there would be limitations on what they can do in Canada such as working or studying depending on their visa. Once in Canada, there are also some avenues available that will allow your relative to transition from a temporary resident to a permanent resident.
How Can We Help
The Law Office of Matthew Jeffery has over 20 years of experience in guiding individuals from start to finish through the sponsorship process. If you are interested in sponsoring your family, you can either fill out our contact form or a free assessment form.