The Family Class category

The Family Class category allows parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents to be sponsored.

However, unlike spousal sponsorship applications, which fall under a policy of family reunification, parental sponsorships are not a government priority, resulting in historically lengthy processing time. Recent amendments to the program capped the applications to 10,000 per year, which fill up in the first weeks of January. Once the family relative obtains their permanent residency, the sponsorship undertaking for a parent or grandparent remains in effect for 20 years, which means that the sponsor is responsible for the financial welfare of their parent and must repay the government if the latter ever dips into social assistance.

The process to sponsor a parent is two-fold. First, the eligibility of the Canadian sponsor is assessed, including minimum income requirements that must be met, depending on the size of the family. The Minimum Necessary Income must be met for the three years preceding the application.

Size of Family Unit Minimum Income 2014 Minimum Income 2013 Minimum Income 2012
2 persons $38,272 $37,708 $36,637
3 persons $47,051 $46,354 $45,040
4 persons $57,125 $56,280 $54,685
5 persons $64,791 $63,833 $62,023
6 persons $73,072 $71,991 $69,950
7 persons $81,355 $80,153 $77,879
If more than 7 persons, for each additional person add $8,271 $8,148 $7,929

Once the sponsor is approved, another full set of forms and documents is submitted to the Canadian consulate responsible for the jurisdiction where the parent lives.

Because of the long duration in the processing of the file, many parents travel to Canada as visitors under the Super Visa while awaiting the adjudication of their files.

It should also be noted that it is possible, in certain circumstances, to apply in-land under humanitarian and compassionate grounds. This means that a parent who is physically in Canada and for compelling reasons cannot return to their country of habitual residence, can attempt to be sponsored from within Canada.

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