Every day people are leaving their country of origin to move to Canada. The reasons for doing so are diverse and unique to each individual. Some do so to pursue a higher education or a fantastic job opportunity. Some leave in search of a better life and to escape the political and social conflicts of their homeland. Others just love what Canada represents. Whatever the reason, hundreds of thousands of people are immigrating to Canada every year and you may have been one of them.
And now, several years later as you finally feel established and on solid ground in Canada, you may be thinking it’s time to bring your parents over so they can be nearby and live a better life.
Known as a country which places great value and emphasis on the importance of family bonds, Canada encourages new immigrants to bring their families over. In order to facilitate this, the government has created a great family sponsorship program which allows you to sponsor eligible family members such as parents, grandparents, spouse, siblings etc.
Read on to find out what steps you need to take if you want to sponsor your parents to Canada.
What Is Family Sponsorship?
The wonderful thing about sponsorship is that your parents can not only come to Canada to visit but they can stay! In some ways this allows you to have the best of both worlds and leaving your homeland does not mean saying goodbye to your parents forever.
When you sponsor them, it means if approved they automatically become permanent residents and are entitled to live in Canada as such. However, as the applicant it is your responsibility to provide for your parents’ basic needs such as shelter, food, clothing, health care, etc. for a set period of time.
Qualifications in Order to Become a Sponsor
Wanting to sponsor someone does not necessarily mean you will be allowed to. For any type of family class sponsorship, a few basic qualifications have to be met:
- Need to be over eighteen years of age;
- Meet certain financial expectations, i.e. cannot be bankrupt;
- Are either a:
- Permanent resident who is not under any removal orders;
- A Canadian Citizen;
- Or registered as an Indian under the Indian Act;
- Be physically residing in Canada;
- Have a clean criminal record free of any serious offenses;
Please note, other factors can play a role in the decision making process and result in your sponsorship application getting rejected. These factors can include:
- If you have outstanding debts with the Canadian government;
- Are in receipt of welfare or social assistance (not related to a disability);
- Sponsored someone previously and failed to provide for them;
- Are in jail.
Definition of Parents
Under Canadian law, you can sponsor your parents or grandparents as long as they are related to you by blood or through adoption. The application can include any siblings you may have who are under eighteen.
Parents Sponsorship Checklist
The steps and documentation required for sponsorship can feel confusing, so make sure to go over this basic checklist to ensure you are on the right track:
- Are you eligible to sponsor someone? Look over the criteria for qualifications described above.
- Did you complete and submit all requested forms? Different types of sponsorships require different forms (remember to make a copy for your own records);
- Have you defaulted on child support, social assistance payback or spousal payments?
- Did you make photocopies of key identification documents such as passports or birth certificates?
- Do you have proof of income?
- Do you have proof of your own citizenship or permanent residency?
- Do you have pictures of your parents and any siblings you are sponsoring;
- Did you pay the required fees? For the application itself as well biometrics? Make sure to keep a receipt of all payments.
These are just some basic things to go over, your checklist will vary depending on your own situation. If all of this feels too overwhelming consider getting help from an RCIC approved consultant to navigate the technical aspects for you.
The Application Process
When applying to sponsor your parents, you must first complete and submit and interest to sponsor form. Keep in mind once a certain number of application is received, the process gets closed for the moment. If that’s the case, then consider the Super Visa option.
Once your sponsor form is received, it will be reviewed and you will be sent an invitation to submit an application. This is always done via email. At this point you can start preparing the application package, which must be submitted within sixty days. For the sake of efficiency and accuracy, completing the form online is always recommended. As you complete the form, you will need to:
- Pay an application fee;
- Pay a biometrics fee;
- Any additional fees such as for a medical exam or a police certificate;
- Have you parents complete an application for permanent residency.
Both applications will need to be submitted together. Upon receipt, an officer will review it and get in touch if anything is missing or return the application if it’s incomplete. Your parents may be asked at some point during this process to submit their biometrics and medical exams.
Once someone begins working on the application, your parents will be sent an applicant number, they can use the number to connect with their online account and keep abreast of what’s happening with the file.
In the final stages, you or your parents will be asked to submit the following things:
- Your parents passport;
- Pictures of your parents;
- Receipt for the permanent residency fee.
Once the application is complete and if approved, a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) will be sent to your parents as well as a permanent residence visa, if needed.
Some Things to Remember
If the application is not sent within the sixty days or if any fees are missing, it will be returned. Should anything change (i.e. you can no longer afford it, your parents decide they don’t want to move to Canada etc.) after you have submitted your application, you have the option of withdrawing your application and having your fees refunded if it has not yet been processed.
The COPR and permanent resident visas have an expiry date so your parents must enter the country before that date.
Please note, the province of Quebec functions a little differently so your application process may not be the same.
The Bottom Line
One of the toughest things most immigrants face is the distance from their families, parents and loved ones. This is something Canada recognizes and it’s why they’ve made it so easy to bring your parents here. So if you are a son or a daughter with parents who are still living back home and you want them next to you as you build your life here, consider learning more about how sponsorship works and what you need to do to have your parents by your side!