Process of sponsoring a relative to Canada


You may be able to sponsor certain relatives to immigrate to Canada if you’re at least 18 years old Canadian citizen, Permanent resident, or Person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act. In this article we will be going through the:

  1. Process of sponsoring a relative to Canada
  2. Who can sponsor
  3. Who you can sponsor
  4. How to apply
  5. What’s next After you apply

If you sponsor a relative to come to Canada as a permanent resident, you must:

  • support your relative financially when they arrive
  • be able to meet basic needs for yourself and your relative, such as:
    • food
    • shelter
    • clothing
  • make sure your relative doesn’t need social assistance

You must live in Canada to sponsor eligible relatives unless you:

  • are a Canadian citizen who lives abroad and
  • plan to return to Canada when your relatives immigrate and
  • are sponsoring your:
    • spouse or
    • common-law or conjugal partner or
    • dependent children who have no dependent children

If you live in Quebec, you must also meet Quebec’s conditions to be a sponsor after IRCC approves you as a sponsor. This includes signing an “undertaking” with the province. This is a contract that binds your sponsorship.

When you sponsor a relative to become a permanent resident of Canada, you must:

  • meet set income guidelines
  • agree in writing to give financial support to your relative and any other eligible relatives coming with them:
    • beginning on the date they become a permanent resident
    • for up to 20 years (depending on their age and how you’re related)

The person you sponsor must sign an agreement saying they will make the effort to support themselves. This includes sponsored dependent children of age 18 or older. Dependent children under 19 don’t have to sign this agreement.

Who you can sponsor

You can only sponsor relatives like a brother, sister, aunt or uncle in very specific situations. If your family member doesn’t meet this criteria, you can use our Come to Canada tool given on IRCC’s website to find out which programs they may be eligible to apply for.

Depending on your situation, there are 2 options for who you can sponsor.

Orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild

You can sponsor an orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild only if they meet all of these conditions:

  • they’re related to you by blood or adoption
  • both their mother and father passed away
  • they’re under 18 years of age
  • they’re single (not married or in a common-law or conjugal relationship)

You can’t sponsor your brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild if:

  • one of their parents is still alive
  • no one knows where their parents are
  • their parents abandoned them
  • someone else other than their parents is taking care of them while one or both their parents are alive
  • their parent is in jail or otherwise detained

Other relative

You may sponsor one relative, related by blood or adoption, of any age, if you meet all of these conditions:

  • you (the person who wants to sponsor your relative) don’t have a living relative you could sponsor instead, such as a:
    • spouse
    • common-law partner
    • conjugal partner
    • son or daughter
    • parent
    • grandparent
    • orphaned brother or sister
    • orphaned nephew or niece
    • orphaned grandchild
  • you (the potential sponsor) don’t have any relatives (aunt or uncle or any of the relatives listed above), who is a:
    • Canadian citizen
    • permanent resident
    • registered Indian under the Indian Act

If the relative you want to sponsor has a spouse, partner, or dependent children who will come with them to Canada, you must include them on the same sponsorship application.

To help you better understand who you can sponsor let’s have a look at an example from IRCC’s website:

Veronica doesn’t have a spouse or a common-law partner. She has no children, and lives in Canada as a permanent resident. Her parents and grandparents have all passed away and she doesn’t have any relatives in Canada who are Canadian citizens, permanent residents or registered Indians. Veronica would like to sponsor her aunt Betty, who she is very close with. Her aunt Betty is married and has a daughter.

Veronica meets the requirements to sponsor her aunt because she doesn’t have:

  • a close living relative she could sponsor instead (such as a spouse, partner, child, orphaned sibling, parent or grandparent) and
  • any other relative such as an aunt who is a citizen, permanent resident or registered Indian of Canada.

On the application, Betty will be designated as the principle applicant and her husband will be designated as a dependant.

Betty’s daughter can be included on the application only if she qualifies as a dependent child. If her daughter is older than the age limit or she doesn’t meet all the requirements, she can’t be added to Betty’s application and will have to immigrate to Canada on her own.

Let’s have another example of “Juliet” from IRCC:

Juliet is a Canadian citizen. The only family she had in Canada was her mother, who passed away. Juliet has always been close to her mother’s only brother and his wife. Juliet’s uncle recently passed away, and Juliet would like to sponsor his wife (her aunt by marriage) to come to Canada. Juliet does not meet the requirements to sponsor her aunt, because they’re not related by blood.

Who you can’t sponsor

You can’t sponsor someone who is inadmissible to Canada. This means they’re not allowed to come to Canada.

How to apply

There are two stages in the process for your eligible relatives to become permanent residents.

  1. You apply to sponsor your relatives.
  2. Your family members must apply for permanent residence.

You must send both your sponsorship application and the permanent residence application for your relatives at the same time

IRCC will process your application to sponsor and write to you to tell you if they approve your application.

How to apply

To apply to sponsor your eligible relatives you must:

1. Get the application package from IRCC’s website

You need to visit this link to get the application package.

2. Pay your application fees

In most cases, your fees will include:

You have to pay your fees online.

3. Submit your application

You can find how long it will take to process the application by visiting this link.

After you apply comes the application assessment process

IRCC’ll review your sponsorship application for mistakes and return incomplete applications like unpaid application fees. 

If IRCC begins to process your application, they’ll:

  • send you an acknowledgment of receipt letter with an application number,
  • assess your eligibility as a sponsor, and
  • assess if the person you are sponsoring meets the permanent residence requirements.

If you get refused by IRCC, your relative can still apply for permanent residence. Their application may not be approved.

If IRCC approves you as a sponsor

They’ll assess if the person you want to sponsor meets the permanent residence requirements. If their permanent residence application is refused, IRCC’ll let you know why the application was refused and how to appeal the decision.

Your relative can link their application to their online account

When IRCC starts processing your family member’s application, they’ll send them a letter with an application number.

After they get this letter, the principal applicant can link their application to their online account. This way, they can communicate with IRCC quickly and securely and get updates and messages about their application online.

You (the sponsor) can link their application for them if you’re handling your family member’s application and you’re designated as their representative.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch with us on our website and we will be happy to help you with your questions.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here