Canada has one of the best lifestyles in the world in comparison with most other countries. The beauty, culture, freedom, and opportunities make it a place to call home. Although these provisions are accessible, the Canadian immigration laws are complex and the whole process can be rather daunting. Fortunately, through sponsorship, eligible individuals can apply for permanent residency for their families.
To be eligible for the family sponsorship program, applicants must meet certain prerequisites. Included are:
- Proof of relationship between the sponsor and the would-be migrant — a marriage certificate (for spouses) or birth certificate (for children).
- Meeting the minimum age requirement of 18 years
- Residency in Canada, either as a permanent resident or citizen
- Sufficient financial capacity to cater to the dependent. This will require proof of income
- Meeting other immigration law requirements
These are minimum requirements and applicants will be expected to provide supporting documentation. Note that the sponsoring member must be willing to become financially stable after relocating to Canada. But not before they gain a foothold in the country, the sponsor needs to ensure their well-being in the meantime. Sponsorships typically last up to 20 years.
Understanding the Application Process
Bringing a loved one to Canada under this program requires two phases of the application process, the first one dependent solely on you and the second on the sponsoring family member.
Get the Application Package
As an applicant, you can procure the application package from the official immigration website. This contains some forms, instruction manuals, and a document checklist. Before proceeding, ensure that the member is eligible to avoid wasting resources and disappointment.
A delayed sponsorship approval could stem from the applicant having incomplete supporting documents requested in the checklist. Even when they are complete, inaccuracies or discrepancies can cause hold-ups. Perhaps, there’s a misrepresentation of the partner’s marital status, that could prompt further investigation, delaying the process further. Even a typo on a form can be a cause for concern and cause the application to be returned to the applicant.
When applying for a family member who has dependents (children), it is necessary to include them in the process. The sponsoring individual should provide information on other additional members, including details of medical history and criminal records (if any). This is even more important for future applications for permanent residency on their part.
Without such information, sponsorship of the secondary members would be challenging for the primary sponsor.
Permanent Residency Application
This part solely rests on the sponsored family member. It comes after the applicant has completed the initial sponsorship application, as the individual would need to send the document, alongside the PR application to the migrant. Being the final step of the process, it is important that the procedure is hassle-free.
The approval process can be slowed down by outdated contact information, such as mailing address or phone number. If there’s been a change, such as both parties getting divorced or the sponsor adopting a child, update the form.
Processing Fees Included in the Application
Recently, the Canadian government has increased the processing fee for both permanent residency and provincial nominee applications. Therefore, before beginning the process, check to see if the fee has been updated. The processing fee is a mandatory requirement, it must be paid within the specified time or the application will be denied.
Note that it covers the process of the whole application, regardless of whether the application is rejected, withdrawn, or approved. This means that it will cover an application to sponsor a family member. Included in the payment are:
- Biometric fees
- Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF)
- Processing fee for the sponsor, sponsored member, and their dependants
- Police certificate and medical exam fees (both optional)
The biometric fee for a single individual is Can$ 85, while two or more persons cost Can$170. Sponsoring a spouse with RPRF cost Can$1,050 (Processing fee: Can$ 550, RPRF: Can$ 500). Without the Right of Permanent Residence Fee, the sponsor only pays Can$ 550. In the case of parents or grandparents with the RPRF, the fees are as follows:
- RPRF (Can$ 500)
- Principal applicant processing fee (Can$ 475)
- Sponsorship fee (Can$ 75)
Without the Right of Permanent Residence Fee, the applicant will only pay Can$ 550, which encapsulates the principal applicant processing fee and sponsorship fee.
Processing Time for Family Sponsorship
The processing time for this program is dependent on whether there are delays with the application. In any case, the process normally takes about 12 months but could be longer. For instance, the application might be held-up if the processing officer deems the sponsoring member’s dependant to be a potential security risk due to previous criminal convictions.
Another cause of delay could be if the sponsor was previously refused immigration. This situation requires a full application review, further delaying the process. Applicants are advised to act ahead of time to ensure that any delays won’t hinder their schedule. Also, having an experienced immigration consultant will ease the process.
Is There a Limit to the Number of Sponsored Members?
There’s no cap on the number of family members a Canadian PR or citizen can sponsor provided:
- They are eligible under the program and have credible backgrounds, as well as the right documents
- The sponsor has the finances to cater to their welfare during their initial stay in the country
- The total application processing fees are paid
Each sponsored member requires a personal application, which may be cumbersome for those who want to relocate several relatives. A good immigration consultant can make the process more manageable. This is especially when the relatives are residing in different countries.
Moving to Canada under the family sponsorship program can be challenging, time-consuming and tedious for those who don’t know the ropes. However, having the right immigration consultant on one’s side ensures that the necessary steps are taken on time. From documentation requirements to application submission, an immigration consultant can provide a head start. Plus, if there is a problem with the application, they can help to resolve it.