Who you can sponsor for Canadian immigration

Who you can sponsor for Canadian immigration

Here is an overview of how you can sponsor relatives such as your brother, sister, or other family members to immigrate to Canada.

Canada welcomes over 100,000 family class immigrants per year.

It is well known that most of these immigrants arrive through the Spouses, Partners, and Children category while a smaller share arrive under the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP).

The rules surrounding sponsoring other family members are less well known. However, it is important to remember that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) does allow you to sponsor other family members in very specific situations.

Those 18 and older who are Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and persons registered under Canada’s Indian Act are eligible to sponsor their family to obtain Canadian permanent residence.

Most sponsor their spouse, partner, or parents or grandparents. There are two other options for who you can sponsor.

Looking to sponsor your family? Get a free legal consultation!

Orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild

IRCC states you can sponsor an orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece, or grandchild if all of these conditions are met:

  • they are your relative either by blood or through adoption
  • both of their parents passed away
  • they are below the age of 18
  • they are not married or in a common-law or conjugal relationship

On the other hand, IRCC says you can not sponsor this family member if any of the following applies:

  • they have a parent that is still alive
  • the location of their parents is unknown
  • they were abandoned by their parents
  • they are being cared for by someone else while one or both of their parents are still alive
  • their parent is in jail or otherwise detained

Other relative

As another option, you can sponsor one relative that is related by blood or adoption of any age as long as all these conditions are met:

  • the sponsor (i.e., Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person registered under Canada’s Indian Act) does not have a living relative that you could sponsor instead such as a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, child, parent, grandparent, or an orphaned brother/sister/nephew/niece/grandchild
  • the sponsor does not have any relatives that is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or is registered under the Indian Act

If the relative you are sponsoring has a spouse, partner or dependent children that also want to come to Canada, you will need to include them on the same sponsorship application.

How to apply

There are two steps to the sponsorship application process. You apply to sponsor your relatives, and they apply for permanent residence. You must submit both applications to IRCC at the same time.

IRCC provides the following guidelines on how to prepare and submit your application:

  • confirm you and your relatives meet the eligibility criteria
  • read the application guides carefully
  • provide all requested documents and evidence in your application. You will need to submit evidence such as proof of income and sign legal declarations such as committing to financially support your relative upon their arrival to Canada
  • be truthful when answering all questions
  • pay applicable fees
  • ensure your relatives and their close family (if applicable) complete required health and security checks

Looking to sponsor your family? Get a free legal consultation!