Effective August 1, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has changed its definition of a dependent child for its immigration programs. A dependent child must be under 19 years of age, instead of the previous limit of under 22 years of age. Find out more about the change in the definition of a dependent child. New application kits, forms and fee information are now available. These new forms must be used starting August 1, 2014. Use this web tool to determine how your application may be affected.
There are two stages in the process to sponsor your spouse, partner or dependent children to become permanent residents.
First: As a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, you must apply to sponsor your family member.
- The Case Processing Centre (CPC) in Canada will process your application to sponsor.
- The CPC will write you to tell you if Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has approved your application.
Second: Your spouse, partner, or dependent children must apply for permanent residence.You must send both your sponsorship application and the permanent residence application for your family members at the same time.
How to apply
There are three steps to apply to sponsor your spouse, partner or children:
1. Get the application package
If your spouse or partner lives with you in Canada, use the Application for Permanent Residence in Canada—Spouse or Common-Law Partner. Note: if a child of your spouse or partner is also living with you in Canada, they may be included on the application if they meet the definition of dependent child.
If your spouse, partner or dependent child lives outside Canada, use the Application to Sponsor a Member of the Family Class.
- If we approve you as a sponsor, the CPC will send your family member’s application to a Canadian visa office to be processed.
Read the guides for both the sponsor and the immigrant carefully before you fill out the application forms. This will help you make sure you are eligible before you apply. We will not refund the fee to process your forms if you are not eligible to be a sponsor.
Use the instruction guide to help you fill out the application forms. Send all the documents listed in the Document Checklist. Missing information or documents can delay your application.
- As the sponsor, you will agree in writing to support your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner for three years. If you sponsor a dependent child, you will commit to support the child for three to 10 years, depending on the child’s age.
- Your spouse, partner and older dependent children must promise to try to support themselves.
- If you sponsor any of your dependent children who will not come with your spouse or partner, you will have to fill out a separate application.
- The people you sponsor must fill out the application for permanent residence.
The people you want to sponsor must get a medical exam. Gather the applications, supporting documents and proof that the medical exam has been done.
Note: The information you provide in your application about your family members and marital status must be true. You must tell CIC of any change in your case.
You must include all of your family members on the application. The people you sponsor must also tell us about each of their close family members.
If you are outside Canada: The people you sponsor must also tell us about each of their close family members. These family members must have a security and criminality check and a medical exam. If they do not, the sponsored person will not be able to sponsor them in the future.
2. Pay your application fees
You must pay the processing fee in Canadian dollars. Paying online is the best and easiest way to pay.
To pay your fees online, you must:
- have a PDF Reader,
- have a printer,
- have a valid email address,
- have a Visa®, MasterCard® or American Express® credit card,
- print the payment receipt form when you are done and include it with your application, and
- pay your fees online when you are ready.
To pay your fees at a bank or financial institution in Canada, you must:
Starting February 1, 2016, the payment receipt form (IMM 5401) used to pay at a bank will no longer be available. Instead, all payments made within Canada must be paid online. We will continue to accept this form until March 31, 2016.
Learn more about how to pay your fees.
- get an original Fee Receipt form (IMM 5401), which you can order online,
- fill in the receipt form and bring it with you when you pay your fees, and
- include the payment receipt form with your application.
If you live outside Canada, you can:
- pay your fees online, or
- pay with an international money order or bank draft.
If you get an international money order or bank draft:
- make sure it is in Canadian funds,
- make it payable to the Receiver General for Canada,
- on the front of the money order or draft, write the bank’s or financial institution’s name, its complete address (not a post office box number) and the account number(s), and
- send the money order or draft with your application.
For more detailed instructions, read the Pay the fees section of the guide.
3. Submit your application
Mail your completed application to the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.
Find out how long it will take CIC to process your application.
You can also learn about the service standards for sponsoring your family from overseas. These standards explain the level of service you can expect to get in most cases.
Where to send your applicationFind out where you should send your application
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