Foreign nationals may be selected as members of the Family Class on the basis of their relationship to a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident. Canadian citizens (including those residing abroad with the intention to return to Canada to reside) and permanent residents (restricted to those residing in Canada, only), age eighteen (18) and over, may sponsor the following members of the Family Class (subject to meeting eligibility requirements):
- their spouse
- their common-law/same-sex partner
- their conjugal partner
- their dependent children under age twenty-two (22)
- their dependent children age twenty-two (22) and over (if they are full-time (15 hours per week or more) students, mentally or physically disabled and dependent on their parents)
- children adopted or to be adopted by them, or under their guardianship
- other prescribed family members (i.e. last remaining family member under humanitarian and compassionate grounds where it is warranted).
Note : For the first time, common-law partners may now be sponsored. The term “common-law partner” refers to a person, who is cohabiting in a conjugal relationship with another person, having so cohabited for a period of at least one (1) year and also encompasses same-sex relationships. An individual who is unable to cohabit with the person, due to persecution or any form of penal control, may be considered a common-law partner of that person. If the inability to cohabit is for reasons other than that of persecution or penal control, an individual, outside Canada, may be considered the conjugal partner of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident living in Canada for Immigration purposes provided that compelling reasons exist for not marrying or not living together for twelve consecutive months. Once the sponsorship application is submitted, the conjugal partner being sponsored should not enter Canada as a visitor during the processing of the application.