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F.A.Q (Family Class / Sponsorship)

Q1: Who can be included in a Family Class application?

The spouse or common-law partner and dependent children of the principal Family Class applicant can be included in the application for Canadian permanent residence.

Q2: Who qualifies as a "Dependent Child"?

For Canadian Immigration purposes, a "dependent child" means a child who is:

Under 22 and unmarried on the date the application for sponsorship is submitted (and still unmarried on the date the child lands in Canada); or

Of any age or marital status and financially dependent on his or her parents as a result of being either: continuously enrolled and in attendance as a full-time student in an educational institution since the age of 22 (or since the date of marriage, if married before 22); or unable to support him or herself due to a physical or mental disability.

Students who interrupt their full-time studies for less than one year in total and remain financially dependent upon their parents during that time will still be considered "dependent children".

Q3: What if the dependents will not accompany the Family Class applicant to Canada?

All of the principal Family Class applicant's dependents are required to pass applicable police and security clearances, and medical examinations, whether they are accompanying the principal Family Class applicant or not.

Q4: What financial criteria must be satisfied to qualify as a sponsor?

The sponsor must be able to demonstrate the financial ability to provide for the essential needs of the Family Class applicant and dependents (sponsored family members).

The financial ability requirements may not apply where the sponsored individual is a spouse and/or one or more dependent children.

Q5: What does "Essential Needs" mean?

The sponsor and co-signing spouse (if applicable) have to provide the sponsored family members with food, clothing, shelter and other basic requirements of everyday living. This includes dental and eye care and other health needs not covered by public health services available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

The obligation to provide for the essential needs of the sponsored relatives will only arise if the sponsored relatives are unable to provide for these means on their own.

Q6: What other criteria must the sponsor satisfy?

The sponsor must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident; at least 19 years old; physically reside in Canada (or demonstrate an intention to reside in Canada by the time the sponsored family member lands in Canada); not be in prison; not be bankrupt; and not be under a removal order if a permanent resident.

Q7: Can a Family Class Immigrant work or study in Canada while the application is being processed?

While waiting for their Immigrant Visas, Family Class Immigrants are allowed to work or study in Canada only if they have been granted an Employment Authorization or Student Authorization. Family Class Immigrants entitled to apply for permanent residence from within Canada can apply for an open Employment Authorization after their applications have been approved in principle by immigration officials.

Q8: Must Family Class Immigrants and Sponsors attend interviews with immigration officials?

In certain cases, immigration officials will ask Family Class Immigrants and their dependents for a selection interview. The main purpose of the interview is to satisfy the immigration official as to the family relationship to the Canadian sponsor. In other cases, the Canadian sponsor may be interviewed in Canada to verify financial ability and to confirm family relationship. In some cases, however, no interviews take place.

Q9: How long will the entire sponsorship process take?

The length of the sponsorship process varies depending on the Visa Office to which the Family Class Immigrant's application is submitted. Sponsorship cases are a priority at all Visa Offices and such applications are processed ahead of skilled worker applications and applications under the Business Immigration Program. The average time for processing such applications is 6-12 months.

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