General guidelines for family class sponsorship

Canadian citizens and permanent residents (aged 18 years and older) may (under certain conditions) sponsor a spouse or immediate family member for permanent residence in Canada.

Sponsorship applications filed and processed outside Canada retain the Right of Appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division if the permanent residence application is refused.

If you are sponsoring a spouse or common-law partner (persons with whom you have been cohabiting in a marriage-like relationship for at least one year), and the application is approved your husband, wife or common-law partner will receive full permanent residence in Canada when they arrive and take it up.

In general, no minimum income is required to sponsor a spouse or common-law partner, unless you are planning to live in the Province of Quebec, or the spouse/partner has dependent grandchildren. You do however need to show that you can manage to make a living in Canada.

When sponsoring parents and grandparents there is however a minimum level of taxable income Canadian in each of the last 3 years must be shown. This level is 30 percent above the LICO (Low Income Cutoff) figure that is released annually by the Canadian government.

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Sponsoring a same-sex partner is done in the same way as sponsoring an opposite-sex partner; provided a couple have lived together for at least one year, they are considered for immigration purposes to be common-law partners. To be considered married for Canadian immigration purposes, same-sex couples must marry in Canada, or they must marry in other countries which Canada regards as affording equal rights to same-sex couples.

As a general principle, Canada will accept as a valid marriage for immigration purposes any marriage that is recognized by the laws of the country in which the couple marry, provided the marriage would be legal in Canadian law if performed in Canada. Canada also recognizes proxy marriages e.g. where a party to the marriage cannot be present in person, but is represented by an attorney at the ceremony, provided the proxy marriage is accepted by the Federal authorities of the country in which it is performed.