How to Apply for Canadian Family Visa: A Step-by-Step Guide

The Canadian family visa is one of the most sought-after immigration programs in Canada. With a family and roots in Canada, you are likely wondering if this is your chance to live the good life and raise your future generations in a safe and secure country. If you meet the eligibility criteria, then yes—you can definitely pursue this avenue for permanent residency. The process may not be a cakewalk but we’ve got you covered with the detailed guide below. Keep reading for more information about how to get your hands on this coveted Canadian residence visa.

How to Apply for Canadian Family Visa: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re planning a family vacation, work-study program, or another temporary visit to Canada, you might be eligible for a Family Visa. A Canadian Family Visa lets eligible family members visit Canada as dependents of an eligible sponsor who has been granted a temporary resident visa. To qualify for a Canadian Family Visa, you must meet specific eligibility requirements and prove that your sponsor is financially responsible enough to support you while in Canada. This article details everything you need to know about applying for a Canadian Family Visa, including the process, eligibility criteria, application form, and other details.

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What is a Canadian Family Visa?

A Canadian family visa lets eligible family members visit Canada as dependents of an eligible sponsor who has been granted a temporary resident visa. The sponsor must first apply for a family visa and then apply for a Canadian permanent resident visa once in the country. The sponsor may be the applicant’s spouse or common-law partner, a family member who is a Canadian citizen, or a family member who is a permanent resident. Canadian family visas are not limited to certain kinds of family members. In some cases, you may be able to apply for a Canadian family visa if your parents visit you in Canada. You may also be able to apply for a Canadian family visa if your siblings see you in Canada or if you visit your grandparents in Canada while they are alive.

How to Apply for a Canadian Family Visa?

Applying for a Canadian Family Visa is similar to any other kind of Canadian immigration. To apply for a family and permanent resident visa, you must apply as a resident alien in the United States. When using as a resident alien, you will submit an application for a temporary resident visa for your sponsor, who will then apply for a permanent resident visa on your behalf. You can apply for a temporary resident visa at a US consulate or a US embassy. You cannot apply for a family visa at a Canadian consulate or Canadian embassy as they are not located in the United States.

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Criteria for Canadian Family Visa

You and your sponsor must meet many criteria to qualify for a family visa to Canada. The exact criteria that measure our sponsor will need to complete will depend on your application's circumstances, which will vary between applications. In general, however, to qualify for a family visa in Canada, you and your sponsor must: Be family members of the sponsor.

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Fees for Canadian Family Visa

The fee for a Canadian Family Visa depends on your application's circumstances and the number of family members you plan to bring to Canada. The cost for a single applicant is C$360, and the prices for additional family members are C$360 each. When you apply for your family visa, you will pay these fees at the US consulate or embassy.

Applying for the Canadian Family Residency Certificate

Once you have your family visa in hand, you’ll need to apply for a Canadian Family Residency Certificate. The residency certificate is a document that the Government of Canada issues that proves you have legal status in Canada. Why do you need a residency certificate? The residency certificate is required to apply for certain government services and healthcare. It’s also necessary to apply for Canadian citizenship if you’re eligible. You and your sponsor must apply for a Canadian residency card to receive your residency certificate. You’ll need to apply for a residency card for each person who will receive a Canadian residency card, and you’ll need to provide a separate residency card application for each person.

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Further Steps to Obtain Permanent Residency

Once your family member has been granted permanent resident status, applying for Canadian citizenship begins. After being a permanent resident for at least two years, your family member will be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship. You must then apply for permanent residency in Canada as a sponsor during this time.

How Do I Become a Sponsor for my Family Members?

You are eligible to become a sponsor in Canada if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are an adult.
  • You hold Canadian citizenship or Permanent Residence.
    • You must prove you plan to continue living in Canada after the people you sponsor become residents.
  • You are registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act.
  • You have enough financial income to support the people you sponsor.
  • You are not receiving social assistance (other than for a disability).
  • You are not in jail, prison, or penitentiary.
  • You do not have a criminal history.
  • You do not have an unpaid immigration loan, performance bond, or mandated family support payment (child support, alimony)*
  • You have not declared bankruptcy. *
  • You do not have a Removal Order.
  • For a spouse, partner, or child:
    • You cannot have been sponsored yourself by another spouse/partner in the past five years.
    • You cannot have remaining financial obligations to a spouse/partner you sponsored in the past.

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Family sponsorship to Canada for a spouse, partner, or child

You are allowed to sponsor your:


You can sponsor a spouse (wife/husband) if:

  • The two of you are legally married
  • You are both over 18

Common-law partner

You can sponsor your common-law partner if:

  • They are 18
  • You are in a marital relationship
  • You have been living together for a minimum of 12 consecutive months
    • If you lived apart for any period, it must have been short and temporary
  • You can give proof of your common-law relationship. You can do this by:
    • Showing you have shared property
    • Showing you share a lease or rental agreement
    • Showing you pay utility bills together
    • Showing you have the same address on important documents (driver’s license, insurance policies)

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Conjugal partner

You can sponsor your conjugal partner if:

  • They are over 18.
  • They live outside Canada.
  • You have been in a relationship for a minimum of 1 year.
  • You are unable to live together or get married in your partner’s country of residence because of the following legal and immigration reasons:
    • Your partner is married and cannot get a divorce because their country does not allow it.
    • They live in a country that does not accept your sexual orientation. For example, you are in a same-sex relationship, and same-sex relationships are illegal in your partner’s country of residence.
    • You could be prosecuted for your relationship. For example, if you belong to different religious groups and can face social or legal consequences for being in a relationship.

Dependent children

You can sponsor your child or the child of a spouse/partner. A child is considered dependent if:

  • They are under 22 years old.
  • They are not married or have a common-law partner.
  • If they are 22 or over, they can still be considered dependent if:
    • They have a mental or physical condition that prevents them from supporting themselves.
    • They have been financially dependent on you before 22.

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Keep in mind:

If you were a Canadian citizen (by birth or naturalization) when your child was born, your child is also a Canadian citizen. You do not need to apply for a residence permit for them.

If you are only sponsoring your child (not a spouse/partner), you will have to prove that the other parent also agrees to the child immigrating. In this case, the child is the principal applicant.

If you sponsor a spouse/partner and their child (or one you had together), the spouse/partner is the principal applicant. The child is dependent in this case.

If your child has a child of their own, you must include them as dependents in the application.

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Final Words

One of the best things about Canadian immigration is its flexibility. Many factors contribute to whether an applicant will be successful, such as the applicant’s citizenship and financial situation, and specific Canadian immigration criteria may affect those factors. However, there are many ways to improve your chances of being approved for a family visa to Canada. However, getting started with the Canadian immigration process can be a bit overwhelming. We recommend you follow the steps outlined above to begin the process. Once you are ready to apply for a family visa, you will be better prepared to navigate the Canadian immigration system.