Family Classes

One of the objectives of Canada’s immigration program is to facilitate the reunion in Canada of Canadian citizens and permanent residents with their close relatives and family members. The Family Classes include the overseas Family Class and the inland Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada Class.

  • The Overseas Family Class
  • The Inland Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada Class

A member of either the overseas Family Class or the inland Spouse or Common-law in Canada Class must be sponsored by a sponsor who must meet certain requirements.

A foreign national is not considered a member of the Family Class or the Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada Class if he/she falls into the category of excluded relationships.

While the selection criteria for the Family Classes are established by the Federal government, Quebec may establish its own criteria for the selection of the Assisted Relative Class.

A foreign national who became a permanent resident as a member of the family class or the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class must cohabit in a conjugal relationship with their sponsor for a continuous period of two years after they became a permanent resident if, at the time the sponsor filed a sponsorship application., they had been the spouse or common-law partner or conjugal partner of the sponsor for a period of two years or less and they had no child with the sponsor. Their accompanying family member is also subject to the condition that they meet these conditions. There are some exceptions.

A foreign national will not be considered a spouse, a common-law partner, a conjugal partner or an adopted child of a person if the marriage, common-law partnership, conjugal partnership or adoption was entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or is not genuine.

1. Overseas Family Class:

To qualify as a member of the overseas family class, a foreign national must be:

  • The sponsor’s spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner
  • The sponsor’s dependent child
  • The sponsor’s father or mother
  • The sponsor’s grandfather or grandmother
  • A person whose parents have died, who is under 18 years old, who is not married or someone’s common-law partner and who is the sponsor’s brother or sister, the sponsor’s nephew or niece or the sponsor’s grandchild
  • A person under 18 year old whom the sponsor intends to adopt in Canada provided that some conditions are met
  • A relative of the sponsor, regardless of age, if the sponsor does not have a spouse, a common-law partner, a conjugal partner, a child (not including a grandchild), a father or mother, a brother or sister, a niece or nephew, a grandfather or grandmother or an uncle or aunt who is a Canadian citizen, Indian or a permanent resident or who may be otherwise sponsored to become a permanent resident.

2. Inland Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class:

To qualify as a member of the inland Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class, an applicant:

  • Is the spouse or common-law partner of a sponsor and cohabit with the sponsor in Canada
  • Has temporary resident status in Canada, but the requirement may be waived (such as having overstayed a visitor record, work permit, study permit or temporary resident permit, working/studying without a permit or having entered Canada without a visa or passport) because of the spousal policy
  • Is sponsored by the sponsor to become a permanent resident in Canada.

It should be noted that a rejected application to sponsor a spouse or common-law partner in Canada cannot be appealed to the Immigration Appeal Division.

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