Parents and Grandparents
A Canadian or permanent resident of Canada may be eligible to sponsor their parent or grandparent to come and live in Canada. Unfortunately the Parent and Grandparent sponsorship program is very competitive and only a limited number of applications are allowed to be submitted per year. For example, in 2017, approximately 100,000 Expressions of Interest were submitted to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (Immigration Canada), and only 10,000 people were invited to submit applications
In order to qualify under this program, the Sponsor must meet income requirements in order to demonstrate that they are capable of supporting their parents or grandparents (and their dependents, if applicable) once they arrive in Canada. The income requirements vary depending on the size of the family unit already in Canada, plus the number of people whom are being sponsored.
When a Canadian or a permanent resident of Canada agrees to be a Sponsor, they must sign a contract called an undertaking. The undertaking is a promise to provide financial support to their parent or grandparent (and their dependents, if applicable). Basic requirements include food, clothing, shelter and other needs for everyday living. Dental care, eye care and other health needs not covered by public health services are also included. The undertaking guarantees that the foreign national and their dependents will not have to apply for social assistance. If during the undertaking period the foreign national (or their dependent) applies for and receives social assistance, the Sponsor will be responsible for reimbursing the government for the funds received.
The length of the undertaking varies depending on who is being sponsored:
- For a parent or grandparent: the undertaking starts from the day the foreign national secures permanent residence status, and lasts for 20 years
- For dependent children over the age of 22: the undertaking starts from the day the dependent child secures permanent residence status, and lasts for three years
- For dependent children under the age of 22: the undertaking starts from the day the dependent child secures permanent residence status, and lasts for ten years or until the dependent child turns 22 years of age, whichever comes first
Even if the Sponsor’s situation changes an undertaking cannot be cancelled once a foreign national (and/or the dependent children) becomes a permanent resident of Canada. Therefore even if a Sponsor becomes financially unstable, the undertaking will still remain valid, and the Sponsor is responsible for reimbursing the government if the foreign national (and/or the dependent children) receive social assistance.
The Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship and Permanent Residence application is a seven stage process:
- Expression of Interest – The Sponsor must first submit their Expression of Interest to sponsor their parent or grandparent with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (Immigration Canada). This step is completed through an online submission form
- Invitation to Apply – Immigration Canada will randomly select and invite Sponsors to submit a complete application
- Submission of Application – The Sponsor will have 90 days, from the date that the Invitation to Apply was sent out, to submit a complete application package to Immigration Canada Canada’s Case Processing Centre in Mississauga. If the application is not received within the 90 days, the application will be refused
- Assessment of Eligibility of Sponsor – Immigration Canada will complete the assessment of the eligibility of the Sponsor. During this process, Immigration Canada will confirm that the Sponsor:
- Is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada;
- Meets the minimum income requirements;
- Is not in prison;
- Has no history or record of violent crime;
- Is financially sufficient and is not an undischarged bankrupt or in receipt of social assistance for a reason other than a disability;
- Has no record of defaulting on any court-issued support order, previous sponsorship or immigration debt; and
- And the foreign national have agreed to the sponsorship, including the undertaking.
- Review of Permanent Residence Application – Once a Sponsor has been determined to be eligible to sponsor their parent or grandparent, the application is then forwarded to the appropriate visa office to assess the foreign national’s (and their dependents, if applicable) eligibility for permanent residence. During this stage of the application, an Officer will review the documents submitted in support of the application, as well as the foreign national’s (and their dependents, if applicable) own admissibility (specifically that there are no serious medical issues or criminal history)
- Issuance of Confirmation of Permanent Residence Documents – Once the Officer has completed their review and a positive decision is issued, the foreign national will be asked to pay a final government fee (if not already paid), known as the Right of Permanent Residence Fee and the foreign national will be issued a visa (if applicable) and their Confirmation of Permanent Residence documents
- Landing – After the foreign national’s visa (if applicable) and Confirmation of Permanent Residence have been issued, they will then need to attend an immigration office or port-of-entry to complete the landing process in order to obtain permanent residence