Family Class Sponsorship
Family Class Sponsorship Applications are available to applicants with a relative who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada. Family class applicants are not required to meet point system criteria. Instead, they must have a close family member who fulfills all the basic requirements to become a sponsor. To qualify as a sponsor, a person must be either a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, be 18 years of age or older, live in Canada, and in some instances, must have enough income to support their foreign relatives once they arrive in Canada.
Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada can only sponsor:
- Spouses, common-law or conjugal partners 16 years of age or older;
- Parents and grandparents;
- Dependent children, including adopted children;
- Children under whom you intend to adopt;
- Children under guardianship;
- Brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces or grandchildren who are orphans; under the age of 18 and not married or in a common-law relationship; or
- another relative if the sponsor has no one in Canada, no parent, no grandparents and no one who can be sponsored as above (as per R117(1)(h) of the Immigration Refugee Protection Regulations).
Processing times for these cases vary depending on the type of application being filed. For example, a spousal sponsorship application with ordinary circumstances normally takes six months or less to process to the point of visa issuance.
The Sponsoring of parents on the other hand, is characterized by an excessive amount of time due to inadequate staffing by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. In such cases, four years of processing is not uncommon.
Dependent children are supposed to get the highest priority, and in theory, such cases should be processed well within the six-month timeframe.
Factors leading to delays in processing of spousal applications include a marked difference in age, culture, language abilities, a history of divorce. Delays in common-law partner applications or conjugal partner applications can be attributed to inadequate proof that the relationship is more than that of close friend. Delays in other types of family class applications are often attributed to peculiar circumstances such as the need to exercise humanitarian and compassionate discretion, or issues relating to medical or criminal or background checks.