A step-by-step guide on How to Sponsor Your Parents or Grandparents to Canada
Sponsoring your parents and grandparents is not quite the same process as sponsoring a spouse.
In the first place, it has a generally rather short period during the final months of each year when you can file a preliminary application and then be chosen in a sort of lottery where the winners get the chance to then submit an application to sponsor their parents or grandparents.
In other words, there are quite a few stages to the process.
So, if you’re serious about finding out more regarding how to sponsor your parents or your grandparents, keep reading.
We’ll tell you:
- Each step you have to take in the proper sequence
- Documents and forms you have to fill out
- Taking on the role of Representative of your parents or grandparents
- Waiting times – be prepared for processing times of up to 24 months
- What to do after you’ve submitted your application including getting your parents or grandparents to authorize the IRCC to share their information with you so you can track the application
Before we get into the details and start covering the process step by step, it’s important to keep these two key definitions clear:
- Principal Applicant = the parent or grandparent who’s applying to be sponsored.
- Sponsor = the Canadian citizen or permanent resident (usually) living in Canada who is sponsoring their parents or grandparents to come to Canada.
This might seem obvious to you, but as you’ll see, there are a number of forms to be filled out, usually by both the principal applicant and the sponsor, but not necessarily in all cases.
You have to make sure that the right person is signing the right section of each form. One mistaken signature, for example, and your form will be sent back to you to be filled out again involving a delay of weeks or even months.
This is a long application process; the average time is around 18 months and you can wait up to 2 years in some cases. Don’t wait any longer than you already have to. Keep who is who clear in your head throughout the application process as you work through each form.
Parental/Grandparent Sponsorship Course Steps – Table of Contents
- Step 1: Can I Afford to Sponsor my Parents to Canada? Financial Requirements
- Step 2: Am I Eligible to Sponsor My Parents/Grandparents?
- Step 3: Whose Parents or Grandparents Can I Sponsor?
- Step 4: Do I Need a Co-Signor for the Parental Sponsorship Application?
- Step 5: Are My Parents or Grandparents Medically Admissible to Canada?
- Step 6: When Should I Sponsor My Parents? Completing and Submitting the Interest to Sponsor Form
Step 7: Online Application vs. Paper Applications
- Step 8: Completing the IMM 5771 Document Checklist for Parental Sponsorship
- Step 9: Completing the IMM 1344: Application to Sponsor a Parent or Grandparent, Sponsorship Agreement, and Undertaking
- Step 10: Completing the IMM 5768: Financial Evaluation for Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship
- Step 11: Completing the IMM 5748: Income Sources for the Sponsorship of Parents and Grandparents
- Step 12: (if applicable): Completing the IMM 5409 Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union
- Step 13: (if applicable): Completing the IMM 5476 Use of a Representative
- Step 14: (if applicable): Completing the IMM 5475 – Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual
- Step 15: Completing the IMM 0008 – General Application Form
- Step 16: Completing the IMM 5669 – Schedule A Background/Declaration
- Step 17: Completing the IMM 5465/5406 – Family Information Form
- Step 18: Completing the IMM 5562 – Supplementary Information your Travels
- Step 19: Paying your Sponsorship Applicaton Fees & Other Expenses
- Step 20: Mailing your Sponosrship Application
- Step 21: What Happens After you Apply
- Step 22: How to Track your Application
- Step 23: Super Visa for your Parents or Grandparents
- Step 24: Will my Parents or Grandparents be able to Draw a Pension in Canada?
Bringing people who are well into their adult lives and perhaps even retired to settle and live in a new country presents a few extra challenges that you might not really have when sponsoring a spouse or a dependant. Let’s go through a few questions that arise from sponsoring your parents or grandparents.
Can my parents/grandparents visit Canada while their application is being processed?
As we pointed out in our Spousal Sponsorship tutorial, getting a visitor visa to come to Canada while an application for permanent residence is being processed is a tricky proposition. Why? Because when it comes to visitor visas, IRCC officials always check for a key factor:
Will the visitor return to their country of residence after the visitor visa expires?
That leads to the concept of Dual Intent: you intend to leave Canada after your visitor visa expires, but you also intend to move to Canada permanently once you get your PR visa. Here’s what IRCC says about Dual Intent:
The possibility that an applicant for temporary residence may, at some point in the future, be approved for permanent residence does not absolve the individual from meeting the requirements of a temporary resident, specifically the requirement to leave Canada at the end of the period authorized for their stay, in accordance with section 179 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations(IRPR).
As they further say:
An officer should distinguish between a temporary residence applicant whose intention to fulfill their obligations as a temporary resident (namely, to leave at the end of their period of authorized stay as required by section R179) is bona fide and an applicant who has no intention of leaving Canada at the end of their authorized stay if their application for permanent residence is refused.
So, in the case of older adults who perhaps have medical conditions or are generally aged, this means you run the risk of having the visitor visa refused while your sponsorship application is being processed.
Here’s what IRCC says specifically about parent and grandparent sponsorships and requests for visitor visas:
If a parent or grandparent intends to become a permanent resident eventually and can satisfy an officer on a balance of probabilities that they will leave Canada at the end of the authorized period of stay, in accordance with section R179, officers will normally issue a TRV. A super visa may be issued if the applicant has provided the required documents for that type of visa
Again, you have to convince the officer that if your sponsorship application has not yet been approved when your visitor visa expires, you will leave Canada and return to your home country. However, there is also the option of Super Visas.
Moving Money to Canada – Canada’s financial rules & requirements
Canada’s banking system is world-class, secure, and transparent. However, all Canadian financial institutions have so-called know-your-customer rules where they have to ensure that the source of any finds transferred into Canada are legitimate. We suggest having the sponsoring child or grandchild talk to their local bank manager about what kinds of documents their bank requires to fulfill these requirements.
Canada’s tax rates are generally very competitive with most jurisdictions around the world though they may be a little higher than places like Singapore, for example.
Moving Money to Canada – Your Home Country’s rules & requirements
This tends to be a more complex matter and depends on what country you’re moving funds from. Here, the parent or grandparent needs to consult with your local bank officials and tax consultants to see what the most efficient way is to handle this:
- Should parents/grandparents leave most of their savings in their home country and only transfer needed amounts on a monthly basis?
- Should they instead, pay the required taxes and move their funds to Canada?
We suggest first maintaining your funds mostly in your home country and then after having settled in Canada look at your options. Sometimes, however, parents/grandparents may wish to move their funds as quickly as possible. Consult a tax lawyer or accountant in your home country in that case.
Allard Keeley has been a published writer on immigration policy since 2013. Has written for publications like The Federalist. Fluent in Spanish and English. BA Honors Economics Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.