Family Sponsorship

The biggest shock to recent citizens or permanent residents of Canada often comes when people find out who they can sponsor and who they cannot. CIC has a very limited definition of the word 'family.' Basically, you can only sponsor the following relatives:

  • Your parents;
  • Your parents' children, if they are considered dependent;
  • Your grandparents;
  • Your 'dependent' children (a very restrictive and litigated category);
  • Your spouse (also strictly defined, but now including same-sex spouses and partners)
That’s it. No cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews, or even bothers and sisters, unless they accompany your parent(s) and meet the definition of 'dependent child.'

Unlike the United Sates, which has always prioritized the sponsorship of relatives, CIC continues to suffer from the short-sighted belief that family immigration is of little value to our country, and for that reason, it accounts for a much smaller percentage of our annual immigration. Moreover, the process takes considerably longer, especially for parents and grand-parents, than other immigration processes.

What few people know, however, is that your sponsored relative can visit Canada while the sponsorship is being processed. This is thanks to CIC recognizing dual intent in immigration: that is, one can have an application for permanent residence in the system and still be a bona fide (genuine) visitor to Canada.