Immigration Law


Family Class Sponsorship

Most Canadian citizens and permanent residents are permitted to sponsor relatives to come to Canada in order to be granted permanent residence. Applicants under this category do not have to meet the point system or discretionary selection criteria used in the other application categories. Instead, they are sponsored by a relative who will provide assistance in the Applicant’s ability to establish themselves in Canada. An eligible sponsor is permitted to sponsor members of the family class.

Who Can Be Sponsored

Only the following members of the family class may be sponsored:

    • spouses, common-law or conjugal partners 16 years of age or older;
    • parents and grandparents;
    • dependent children, including adopted children;
    • children under 18 years of age whom you intend to adopt;
    • children under guardianship; or
    • brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces or grandchildren who are orphans; under the age of 18 and not married or in a common-law relationship.

Sponsors assume a legal obligation to help the Foreign National being sponsored and therefore, may have to meet certain income requirements set out by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Sponsors are required to demonstrate that they are able to support all of the people that they wish to sponsor as well as all of their dependants already in Canada (this financial criterion does not apply to sponsoring a spouse). This is accomplished using a formula, known as Low Income Cut-off, designed by the government.

Low Income Cut-off (LICO) 2014

Size of Family Unit

Minimum necessary income

1 person (the sponsor)


2 persons


3 persons


4 persons


5 persons


6 persons


7 persons


More than 7 persons, for each additional person, add


This is the amount of income you must have to sponsor your relatives for immigration to all provinces except Quebec. For Quebec please access the CIC Website.

Sponsors and Co-Sponsors  

The Sponsor and any Co-Sponsor are responsible for providing the essential needs for the person being sponsored and their dependents for a period of three to ten years after their relative’s arrival in Canada. Should the Canadian Sponsor fail to support the Foreign National, and the Foreign National receives social assistance, the Authorities may take legal recourse.

Co-Sponsors become necessary when a single individual cannot meet the minimum financial requirements. Married and common-law partners who are Canadian Permanent Residents or Canadian citizens may be Co-Sponsors. Co-Sponsors assume the same obligations and responsibilities as the sponsor, and must also sign the application forms for sponsorship.

Sponsors and Co-Sponsors must be Canadian Permanent Residents or Canadian Citizens over the age of nineteen (19). Sponsors and Co-Sponsors must be residing in Canada, or if Canadian, show that they plan on returning to Canada with the sponsored relative. Sponsors and Co-Sponsor cannot be bankrupt, in default of a previous undertaking to sponsor, in prison, under a removal order or charged with a serious criminal offense.