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The Government of Canada recognizes that importance of family reunification and the hardships caused by family separation. In 2020, the program opened intake for 3 weeks and, due to high demand, candidates were accepted based on a lottery system. The 2020 Interest to Sponsor Application has now closed. 

For the 2021 and 2022 year, IRCC invited people from the remaining 2020 pool of potential sponsors with the goal of accepting 30,000 new applications each year. 

This has been a highly anticipated program for families currently have their loved ones abroad. If you have any questions or would like help in completing your application, please book an appointment here.

As 2020 is the last year the pool was opened, below, please find a guide to the process. Many are hopeful the pool will open once again in 2024. 

Intake Period

In 2020, the 3-week period started on October 13, 2020 at noon and ended on November 3, 2020 at noon. 

2021 did not have an intake period. Instead, applicants were selected from the remaining 2020 pool. 

2022 did not have an intake period. Instead, applicants were selected from the remaining 2020 pool. 

2023….to be determined… 

How will eligible candidates be chosen?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will randomly select potential sponsors and send them an invitation to submit an application. 

This lottery-type system will replace the old first-come, first-served system that filled out within minutes in the past. In 2019, over 100,000 people attempted to access the system while only 20,000 applications were accepted.

The intent is for the lottery system is for it to be more fair, transparent, and afford a more equal opportunity to interested applicants.

Common Sponsorship Questions

Am I an eligible candidate to sponsor?

To be eligible, you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident that is at least 18 years old and have enough money to support the person you want to sponsor.

Your primary residential address must be in Canada when you submit an application and until a decision is made on the application.

For more details, see the program's eligibility page here

Who can I sponsor under the grandparent and parent sponsorship program?

You can sponsor your parents and grandparents related by blood or adoption. Or, in the case of separation and divorce, you can also sponsor a parent or grandparent's spouse or common-law partner. 

Siblings only qualify if they are considered to be dependent children

You cannot sponsor your in-laws, but you are allowed to be a co-signer for your spouse to sponsor your in-law's application.

The people you sponsor must also be eligible and not found ineligible for health or criminal reasons. 

Can I sponsor more than one person?

Yes, as long as you meet the income requirements to sponsor all the people you want to sponsor. 

Interest to Sponsor Form

How do I apply to be considered to sponsor my parent or grandparent abroad?

The first step is to submit an interest to sponsor form. This form will be available on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. This form will indicate to IRCC that you are interested in sponsoring your parent or grandparent.

Where can I find the interest to sponsor form?

The form will be posted on the IRCC website here, once the intake period starts.

Who completes the interest to sponsor form?

The sponsor (Canadian citizen or permanent resident) should complete the form. 

How I prepare to complete the interest to sponsor form?

You will need:

  • a computer (it is not recommended that you complete the form from a mobile device);
  • an electronic copy of proof of status in Canada (for example, passport of permanent residence documents). Make sure the file size does not exceed 2MB; 
  • names and dates of birth of the people you want to sponsor (exactly as they appear in their travel documents). 

For more detailed instructions, see here

What documents are acceptable as proof of status in Canada?

  • Canadian permanent resident card (both sides)
  • record of landing (IMM 1000) (only if you didn’t get a PR Card)
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292 or IMM 5688)
  • Canadian citizenship certificate or card (both sides)
  • Canadian birth certificate
  • Passport (pages showing passport number, issue and expiry dates, photo, given name, surname, place and date of birth)
  • Secure certificate of Indian status

What if I am unable to read the online form? 

The Government of Canada offers accommodations to persons with disabilities who are unable to use the online form. You can request the interest to sponsor form in an alternative format (paper copy, Braille or large print) by contacting the IRCC Client Support Centre at 1-888-242-2100 or by email until November 3, 2020.

Invitation to Apply

What happens after I submit my interest to sponsor form? 

Once the interest to sponsor period ends on November 3, 2020, and the form has been removed from the website, IRCC will review all submissions, remove any duplicate entries and randomize the forms.

In 2020, there will be one round of invitations to apply. 

How will I find out if I have been invited to apply?

Invitations will also be sent by email. You will receive an email ONLY if you are invited to apply. To make sure you don't miss the email: 

  • Check the same email account you used on the interest to sponsor form.
  • Check your junk mail and spam folder to see if an email from us is there.

IRCC will also announce when invitations are announced on their website, Facebook page, and Twitter

How many people will be invited to submit an application? 

A maximum of 10,000 applications will be accepted for processing during the 2020 parent and grandparent intake. 

A maximum of 30,000 application will be accepted for processing during the 2021 parent and grandparent intake. 

If I am invited to submit an application, how many days will I have to submit it? 

Candidates will be given 60 days to submit their application. The exact date will be on your invitation to apply. If you are unable to obtain a document due to service disruptions caused by COVID-19, IRCC may grant a 90-day extension.

You have to make sure that the application submitted is complete and on-time. Otherwise, you may be the application returned without being processed. You will not get another invitation to apply. 

What happens if I am not invited to apply?

Your parents and grandparents may be able to apply for a Super Visa, which allows them to stay in Canada for up to 2 years at a time and they can apply to extend their stay by up to 1 year at a time. 

Unfortunately with the Super Visa, your parents or grandparents will not get all the benefits that come with permanent residence such as health coverage. 

The sponsor must still meet the financial threshold and the parents or grandparents must be able to obtain health insurance from a Canadian Insurance company for coverage of at least $100,000. 

If I am invited to submit an application but change my mind, can I transfer my invitation to apply to another sponsor?

No, invitations to apply are not transferable. 

Once my application is accepted, how long will processing take?

The current estimates are between 20-24 months, but this may change. 

How much are the government filing fees?

There is no cost to submit and interest form. If you are invited to apply, the fees are $1050. 

If I am invited to apply, how do I show that I have enough money to support the person I am sponsoring?

You will be required to submit proof of income. You will need to provide your Notice of Assessment for each of the three taxation years immediately proceeding the date of your application. 

You will be able to give permission to IRCC to get that information directly from the Canada Revenue Agency or you can send the paper copies of your Notices of Assessment. 

How long will I be financially responsible for the parent(s) or grandparent(s) I am sponsoring?

You will be financially responsible for the person(s) you are sponsoring for 20 years, starting when they become permanent residents. 

You will be responsible for repaying any provincial social assistance (money from the government) your sponsored family members get during that time. 

You are responsible for providing for the basic needs of your sponsored family members. 

Need help?

A large portion of our practice focuses on family sponsorship. We understand the importance of family and how important this application is to you. Feel free to book an appointment if you have any questions or if you would like help with your application.