Canadian citizens and permanent residents may bring their parents and grandparents to Canada through one of two popular programs: the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) and/or the Super Visa program.
Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP)
Canada's Family Class sponsorship program includes a stream dedicated to parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Parents and grandparents approved under this program receive Canadian permanent residence and may eventually be able to apply for Canadian Citizenship.
To be eligible for Canada's Parents and Grandparents Program, an individual must meet:
- Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or a registered Indian under the Canadian Indian Act:
- Be 18 years of age or older;
- Be residing in Canada (potential applicants will need to provide a proof of status during the Interest to Sponsor phase);
- Exceed the minimum necessary income level for this program (if married or in a common-law relationship, the income of both the sponsor and spouse can be included) and provide proof of income to IRCC; and
- Sign an undertaking
- to financially support the sponsored for 20 years (starting when they become permanent residents); and
- to repay any social assistance benefits paid to the sponsored family members (if applicable) for a period of 20 years.
- If the sponsor resides in Quebec, an additional "undertaking" must be signed with the province of Quebec.
Applicants to the PGP will have to prove that they meet the minimum income requirements by submitting notices of assessment issued by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) in support of their application.
Parents and Grandparents Super Visa Program
Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents have another option to bring a parent or grandparent to Canada.
The Super Visa Program allows parents and grandparents to come to Canada as long-term visitors on a multi-entry visa that remains valid for up to 10 years. Unlike standard visitor visas, a Super Visa allows visa holders to stay in Canada for up to two years on initial entry to Canada.
To be eligible for the Super Visa program, parents and grandparents must meet standard visitor visa requirements. In addition, they must:
- Provide a written commitment of financial support from their child or grandchild in Canada;
- Show that the sponsor in Canada meets minimum income requirements;
- Prove they have purchased Canadian health insurance for at least one year; and
- Complete an immigration medical examination.
Depending on their nationality, parents/grandparents may require a Temporary Resident Visa in addition to the Super Visa.
The Spousal Sponsorship program is a subsection of the Family Class immigration category. Under this program, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident may sponsor a spouse or common-law partner for Canadian permanent residence.
Both the Canadian citizen or permanent resident (also called the 'sponsor') and the foreign national (the 'sponsored person') must be approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in order for the sponsored person to receive a visa.
In order to receive a visa through this immigration program, the sponsor and sponsored person must prove that their relationship qualifies under one of three categories:
- Common-law Partner
- Conjugal Partner
NOTE: Canada recognizes same-sex marriage, and same-sex partners may be eligible to apply under any of the above three categories, provided they meet all eligibility requirements.
An Outland application is generally pursued when the sponsored partner is living outside of Canada. However, Outland applicants can still be in Canada and apply through the Outland program and may be permitted to travel in and out of Canada throughout the application process. Outland applications are processed through the visa office that serves the applicant’s country of origin, or where they have resided legally for at least one year.
The other potential option for Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship is the Inland route. Inland sponsorship is when the couple is together in Canada and the foreign spouse/common-law partner has temporary status in Canada, either as a worker, student, or visitor. The person being sponsored may be eligible for an Open Work Permit, allowing him or her to work for any employer in Canada while the sponsorship application is being processed.
Permanent residence granted under the Spousal Sponsorship program carries certain conditions that must be met:
- The sponsor is financially responsible for the person sponsored for three years after the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident.
- Individuals who come to Canada as spouses are themselves barred from sponsoring a spouse in turn for five years after receiving Canadian permanent residence.
Dependent children, both natural and adopted, may be sponsored to live with their parent(s) as permanent residents in Canada. The child sponsorship program is a subsection of the Family Class of immigration.
In order to be eligible for this program, both the Canadian citizen or permanent resident (also called the 'sponsor') and their child abroad (the 'sponsored person') must be approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in order for the sponsored person to receive a visa.
To receive a visa through this immigration program, the sponsor and the sponsored person will be required to prove their relationship to one another. Individuals whose adoption proceedings are in the final phases of processing may begin sponsoring their child before the adoption has been finalized.
Children sponsored through the Family Class of immigration receive Canadian permanent residence. This includes the right to study and work in Canada.