Question: My question is regarding my 14 year old sister and my ability to sponsor her. I am a Canadian citizen but my sister was born abroad. We do not share the same father. I have been living in Toronto for the past several years and I would like to give her the same opportunity. Am I able to sponsor her if we share different fathers? How do I go about this process?
Answer: Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their relatives from abroad if they are included in our definition of the “family class”.
- We can sponsor our parents and our grandparents.
- We can sponsor our same-sex or opposite-sex spouses, common law partners, and conjugal partners.
- We can sponsor our children, as long as they are considered “dependent children” (i.e. under 22, or over 22 if still in school, etc). We can even sponsor a child we intend to adopt.
- We cannot, however, sponsor our brothers or sisters unless they are under 18, orphaned, unmarried, and not in a common law relationship.
I assume that one of your sister’s parents is still alive since you didn’t say that she was alone abroad. If she is not orphaned, you cannot sponsor her regardless of whether or not you share the same father.
If you adopt her the application could be refused if the reviewing officer were to conclude that the adoption was primarily intended to get her immigration status here. A humanitarian application is unlikely to be successful unless there is some unique hardship that is being suffered by you or your sister beyond that which everyone else in these circumstances might face.
Nonetheless, there may be two possible ways to become reunited with your sister here.
First, if your mom is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, then you can sponsor your mom and she can include your sister as her dependent child. This route will likely take about 33-44 months or more to complete.
Second, if your mom or your sister’s dad is a Canadian citizen or permanent citizen, either of them can sponsor her as a dependent child. This will take about 6-15 months.
I find it interesting that a man or a woman with whom I might be living with in a committed relationship for one year is considered a member of the “family” class even if we do not get married or intend to do so. Whereas, a child who is my natural brother or sister with whom I share the same blood is not considered part of the “family” class regardless of my ability and willingness to support them.
For most people, blood is considered thicker than water. For better or for worse, our immigration laws define our collective Canadian family values differently.
Guidy Mamann practices law in Toronto at Mamann & Associates and is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as an immigration specialist. Reach him confidentially at 416-862-0000 or at .