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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What does it mean to "sponsor?"

When you sponsor persons who are members of the family class, you must sign a contract, called an undertaking, with the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (or with the Ministθre des Relations avec les citoyens et de l'Immigration (MRCI) if you live in Quebec) promising to provide financial support for their basic requirements and those of their family members immigrating to Canada with them. Basic requirements are food, clothing, shelter and other basic requirements for everyday living.

Dental care, eye care and other health needs not covered by public health services are also included. The undertaking ensures these persons and their family members do not have to apply for social assistance. Its length varies according to their age and/or their relationship to you.

Your obligations as a sponsor begin as soon as the person you are sponsoring and, if applicable, his or her family members arrive in Canada. The following table shows when your obligations end.

If that person or his or her family member is Your obligations end
your spouse or your common-law or conjugal partner three years after that person becomes a permanent resident
your dependent child or a dependent child of your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and under 22 years of age on the day he or she becomes a permanent resident ten years after that child becomes a permanent resident or on the day that child reaches age 25, whichever comes first
your dependent child or a dependent child of your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and 22 years of age or over on the day he or she becomes a permanent resident three years after that child becomes a permanent resident
any other person (e.g., your father, your mother, your grandparents or a dependent children of your parents) ten years after that person becomes a permanent resident

Note: An immigrant who comes to Canada to live permanently does not become a permanent resident before having satisfied immigration officials that he or she meets all applicable requirements. The decision to grant permanent residence to an immigrant may coincide with that immigrant’s arrival in Canada or may be reached at a later date.

If payments from a federal, provincial or municipal assistance program are made during the validity period of the undertaking to the person you are sponsoring or his or her family members, you

• will be considered to be in default of your obligations,

• may have to repay to the government concerned any benefits the sponsored person and his or her family members receive, and

• will not be allowed to sponsor other members of the family class until you have reimbursed the amount of these payments to the government concerned.

Who can be sponsored using this application package?

Persons you can sponsor using this application package are

• your mother or father;

• your grandmother or grandfather;

• a child whom you adopted outside Canada and you were a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada at the time the adoption took place, or a child whom you intend to adopt in Canada;

• your brother or sister, nephew or niece, grandson or granddaughter, if he or she is an orphan, under 18 years of age and not married or in a common-law relationship;

• any other person with whom you have family relationship if you do not have a spouse, son, daughter, mother, father, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew who is a Canadian citizen, registered Indian or permanent resident or whom you may sponsor. If you believe you are in this situation, contact a Call Centre.

If you want to sponsor your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner and your dependent children., you will have to use another application package. Contact a Call Centre or visit our Web site for more information.

Who is a dependent child?

Dependent children may be your own children or those of the person you are sponsoring. They must

• be under the age of 22 and not a spouse or common-law partner; or,

• have depended substantially on the financial support of a parent and have been continuously enrolled and in attendance as full-time students in a post secondary institution accredited by the relevant government authority since before the age of 22 (or since becoming a spouse or a common-law partner, if they married or entered into a common-law relationship before the age of 22); or,

• have depended substantially on the financial support of a parents since before the age of 22 and unable to provide for themselves due to a medical condition.

Children included in the application must meet the definition of "dependent children" both on the day the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, receives a complete application and, without taking into account whether they have attained 22 years of age, on the day a visa is issued to them.

What special condition must be met by persons sponsoring a child adopted outside Canada, a child to be adopted in Canada or an orphaned relative?

If you are sponsoring an orphaned relative, a child you have adopted or in the process of adopting outside Canada, or a child you intend to adopt in Canada, you will have to satisfy the visa office that you have obtained good and reliable information about the child’s health status before a permanent resident visa may be issued to that child. You may obtain this information from authorities in the country of adoption, through an independent medical examination or from the child’s immigration medical record. Once you have obtained the information with respect to the child’s medical condition, read the Medical Condition Statement provided with Appendix A, complete the bottom portion, sign it and send it to the visa office processing the permanent residence application submitted on behalf of the child.

Who can sponsor?

You may be eligible to sponsor if:

• the person you want to sponsor is a member of the family class. If he or she is not, you will be found not to be a sponsor;

• you are 18 years of age or older;

• you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;

• you reside in Canada;

• you sign an undertaking promising to provide for the basic requirements of the person being sponsored and, if applicable, his or her family members;

• you and the sponsored person sign an agreement that confirms that each of you understands your mutual obligations and responsibilities;

• you have an income that is at least equal to the minimum necessary income, the amount of which is published yearly by the Canadian government. You will have to provide us with documents that show your financial resources for the past 12 months and prove you are financially able to sponsor members of the family class. You may solicit the help of a cosigner.

If you reside in Quebec, see also Sponsors living in Quebec.

Who cannot sponsor?

You are not eligible to sponsor, if you are in default of a previous sponsorship undertaking, of an immigration loan, of court ordered support payment obligations or of a performance bond (an amount you agreed to pay as a guarantee of performance of an obligation under the immigration legislation);

Default of a previous sponsorship undertaking means persons you sponsored in the past have received social assistance during the validity period of the undertaking.

Default of an immigration loan means you received a transportation, assistance or Right of Permanent Residence (previously Right of Landing) fee loan and have not made a required payment or are in arrears with your loan payments.

Default of any court ordered support payment obligations means you were ordered by a court to make support payments to your spouse, common-law partner or child and have neglected to do so.

Default of a performance bond means you have not paid the sum of money that became payable to the Canadian government following a promise you made to pay this sum if the person specified in the performance bond that you signed or co-signed did not comply with the conditions imposed on him or her by immigration authorities.

If you are in default of a previous sponsorship, of an immigration loan, of court ordered support payment obligations or of a performance bond and you submit an application to sponsor, it will be refused even if you are sponsoring your spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, or child. Should you want to sponsor again, you will have to

• repay the full amount of any social assistance payment or repay the debt to the satisfaction of the provincial, territorial or municipal authorities that issued the benefit or ordered you to pay, if you are in default of a previous sponsorship,

• pay all arrears on your loan, if you are in default of an immigration loan,

• resolve the family support matter to the satisfaction of the provincial or territorial authorities who ordered the payment, or

• pay any outstanding bonds for which you are a signer or a co-signer and that became payable;

• submit a new sponsorship application;

• pay new processing fees; and

• meet all the eligibility requirements for sponsorship at that time.

For information on social assistance repayments, contact the appropriate provincial authorities.

For information on your loan account only, contact Collection Services at 1 800 667-7301 (this number may be accessed from within Canada and the United States only)

You cannot sponsor a person for whom you have submitted a previous sponsorship application and no final determination has been made with respect to that application.

You are ineligible to sponsor if:

• you are in prison;

• you are an un-discharged bankrupt;

• you are in receipt of social assistance for a reason other than disability;

• you were convicted of a sexual offence or an offence against the person with respect to one of your family members, unless you were granted a pardon or five years have passed after the expiration of the sentence imposed on you;

• you were adopted outside Canada and subsequently obtained a revocation of your adoption for the purpose of sponsoring an application for permanent residence by your biological parent;

• you are a permanent resident and subject to a removal order;

• have been convicted of a serious criminal offence, have provided false information to Immigration, or have not met conditions of entry.

Under what circumstances may processing be suspended?

If any of the proceedings below apply to you and you send a sponsorship application to the CPC, your application will not be processed until a final decision is rendered with respect to that proceeding.

• You have been charged with the commission of an offence that is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years.

• You are subject of a report that would render you inadmissible to Canada.

• You are the subject of an application to revoke your citizenship.

• You are the subject of a certificate signed by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Solicitor General of Canada stating you are inadmissible on grounds of security, human or international rights violation, serious criminality or organized criminality.

• You are appealing the loss of your permanent resident status.

Can someone co-sign your undertaking?

Your spouse or common-law partner may help you meet the income requirement by co-signing the sponsorship application. A common-law partner is a person who is living with you in a conjugal relationship and has done so for at least one year prior to the signing of the undertaking.

The co-signer must:

• meet the same eligibility requirements as the sponsor;

• agree to co-sign your undertaking; and,

• agree to be responsible for the basic requirements of the person you want to sponsor and his or her family members for the validity period of the undertaking.

The co-signer will be equally liable if obligations are not performed.

Assets, potential earnings, or assistance from other family members will not be considered.

Sponsors living in Quebec

An agreement reached between the federal and Quebec governments gives the province responsibility for determining whether or not sponsors residing in Quebec have the financial ability to sponsor members of the family class.

Sponsors living in Quebec must read the information and follow the general instructions in this guide.

However, they only have to complete one form, specifically, the Application to Sponsor and Undertaking (IMM 1344A). The Quebec government MRCI will send them other documents to complete, including an undertaking form (Formulaire d’engagement).

If Quebec residents want to sponsor a member of the family class, they and, if applicable, their co-signer will have to prove to the provincial immigration authorities (MRCI) that you have sufficient income over the last 12 months to provide for the basic requirements of:

• themselves;

• their family members in Canada or elsewhere;

• the person they are sponsoring and his or her family members, whether or not they are coming to Canada; and,

• the persons for whom they and, if applicable, their co-signer have signed a previous undertaking that is still in effect.

The Quebec government has income standards that differ from those of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

The MRCI may refuse Quebec residents as sponsors if:

• they or their co-signer, if applicable, have failed to fulfil the obligations of a previous undertaking because the person they sponsored received last-resort benefits (social assistance) or special benefits and they have not reimbursed the Quebec government all amounts owing;

• during the five years preceding the submission of their application to sponsor, they or their cosigner, if applicable, have failed to meet their support payment obligations;

• they cannot demonstrate their financial capability to sponsor;

• they do not meet other requirements imposed by the provincial authorities.

For further information on Quebec’s requirements, contact your nearest MRCI regional office.

Can I cancel my undertaking once it has been approved?

If you change your mind about sponsoring your parents, grandparents, adopted children or other relatives, you must write a letter to the CPC before they are issued permanent resident visas.

If permanent resident visas were already issued, the promise you, and if applicable, your co-signer, made to support your family will be valid for the term of your undertaking.

The undertaking is an unconditional promise of support. For example, the granting of Canadian citizenship, divorce, separation or relationship breakdown or moving to another province does not cancel the undertaking. The undertaking also remains in effect if your financial situation deteriorates.

When does default end?

If you are in default because you have not made payments you had promised in an undertaking to repay (for example, a person you sponsored received social assistance during the validity period of the undertaking and you have not reimbursed the government concerned for the amount paid to the sponsored person) or because you failed to meet an obligation in an undertaking, you remain in default, regardless of when the period of validity ends, until such time as

• you reimburse the government concerned, in full or in accordance with an agreement with that government, for amounts paid by it, or

• meet the obligation set out in the undertaking.

If I live outside Canada, can I sponsor?

If you are not a Canadian citizen, you cannot sponsor if you live outside Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen, you may sponsor a spouse, a common-law or conjugal partner, or a dependent child who has no dependent child of his or her own. If this is your situation, obtain the application package Sponsoring a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent child. You must reside in Canada when the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident.

What if I do not meet sponsorship requirements?

You must notify the CPC of your intent to withdraw your sponsorship application in the event the CPC finds you ineligible to sponsor. You must do so before the visa office begins to process the application for permanent residence of the person you want to sponsor, otherwise you will not be eligible for a refund of your processing fees. A box on the application form (IMM 1344A) has been provided for this purpose.

If you do not qualify as a sponsor and chose to withdraw your sponsorship application, you will be refunded part of the processing fees and any Right of permanent residence fees you will have paid.

There will be no decision on the application for permanent residence of the person you are sponsoring and you will not have a right of appeal. You could then resolve the situation leading to your ineligibility and re-apply at a later date.

If you do not qualify as a sponsor and have not notified the CPC of your intent to withdraw, the application of the person you are sponsoring will be processed. The visa office will likely refuse the application for permanent residence and inform you in writing of your right to appeal.

What if the application of the person I want to sponsor is refused?

If the person you want to sponsor is not a member of the family class, his or her application for permanent residence will be refused and you will not have a right of appeal.

If the person you want to sponsor does not meet the eligibility requirements or admissibility criteria for the family class, his or her application will be refused. The visa office will inform him or her of the reasons for the refusal and you will have the right to appeal the decision.

Why might the application for permanent residence of the person I want to sponsor be refused?

There are many possible reasons why an application for permanent residence might be refused. Some examples are:

• you may not meet the financial requirements where these are applicable;

• the person you want to sponsor or his or her family members may not have provided the required documents as requested;

• the relationship between you and the person you want to sponsor or his or her family members is for convenience only; or,

• the person you want to sponsor or his or her family members have a criminal record or serious illness.

If the application or the person you want to sponsor is refused, he or she will receive a letter explaining the reasons for refusal.

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