If you’re a Canadian citizen, Registered Indian or a permanent resident of Canada who is 18 years of age or older you can sponsor:
  • your spouse or common-law partner who lives with you in Canada, and their dependent children
  • your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner who lives overseas, and their dependent children
  • your dependent children
Your obligations as a sponsor
When you agree to be a sponsor, you must sign an undertaking, promising to give financial support for the basic needs of your spouse or partner and their dependent children.

Basic needs are:
  • food, clothing, shelter and other needs for everyday living,
  • dental care, eye care and other health needs that aren’t covered by public health services.
Before signing the undertaking agreement, you must make sure the people you sponsor won’t need to ask the government for financial help. If they receive social assistance, you’ll have to pay back what they received during the time you are legally responsible for them. You won’t be able to sponsor anyone else until you’ve repaid the amount.

The undertaking is a binding promise of support, meaning that it is your responsibility to support the applicant(s) for the length of the undertaking period even if your situation changes. The undertaking will stay in effect for the length of the undertaking period, even if your situation changes. The undertaking won’t be canceled, even if:
  • the person you sponsor becomes a Canadian citizen
  • you become divorced, separated or your relationship with the sponsored person breaks down
  • you or the person you sponsor move to another province or country
  • you have financial problems

You can become a sponsor if you are:

  • at least 18 years old
  • a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or a permanent resident,
  • living in Canada:
    • if you’re a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when your sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident.
    • You can’t sponsor someone if you’re a permanent resident living outside of Canada.
  • able to prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability, and;

You must also be able to show that you can provide basic needs for:

  • yourself,
  • your spouse or partner,
  • your spouse or partner’s dependent child(ren) (if applicable)
  • your dependent child(ren) (if you’re sponsoring only your dependent child).
Note: In most cases, there is no low-income-cut-off (LICO) for a spouse, partner or dependent child sponsorships. However, if either a spouse or partner you’re sponsoring has as a dependent child who has dependent children of their own, or a dependent child you are sponsoring has a dependent child of their own, you must meet a minimum LICO score, which is determined by the Canadian government each year.

You may not be able to sponsor if you:

  • are sponsoring a spouse or partner but you signed an undertaking for a previous spouse or partner and it hasn’t been three years since they became a permanent resident,
  • previously sponsored someone and did not pay back any social assistance that they received while the undertaking was in place.
  • are in default on an immigration loan or a performance bond
  • did not pay court-ordered alimony or child support
  • have declared bankruptcy which has not been discharged
  • were convicted of
    • an offense of a sexual nature,
    • a violent crime,
    • an offense against a relative that caused bodily harm or
    • threatened or attempted to commit any of the above offenses—depending on the nature of the offense, how long ago it happened and if you received a pardon
  • are sponsoring a spouse or partner and you were previously sponsored as a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and became a permanent resident of Canada less than five years ago,
  • are under a removal order,
  • are in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison,
  • have already applied to sponsor your current spouse or partner and haven’t received a decision.