When to apply for sponsorship and what is an Interest to Sponsor form?
Every year a certain number of sponsors (around 10,000) are invited to apply to sponsor parents or grandparents.
This involves a 2-stage process.
I. An Interest to Sponsor form is made available for a short period, usually only a few weeks.
In 2020, for example, it was available from noon EDT October 13 to noon EST November 3. Anyone interested in sponsoring their parents had to submit an Interest to Sponsor form within that time frame.
Next, a certain number of potential sponsors are selected by lottery (randomly) and then sent an Invitation to Apply.
This is a little like the process with Express Entry. However, in Express Entry once you submit your profile and are placed in a pool of candidates, you are then sent an Invitation to Apply based on your qualifications as measured by Express Entry’s point system.
But in the case of parent and grandparent sponsorship, you are selected randomly, not based on your qualifications.
II. Potential sponsors selected by lottery receive their Invitations to Apply and are given a window (usually 60 days) to submit their applications early in the year.
For example, potential sponsors who were selected by lottery after submitting Interest to Sponsor forms in October and early November of 2020, were sent their ITAs in early January of 2021, from the 4th to around the 11th. They then had 60 days to submit their applications.
This means you have to start putting together your parent or grandparent sponsorship form well before that time frame. You should have as much as possible prepared beforehand. Having said that, you have to ensure that you send the most recent forms and thus you have to wait for your application package. But you can begin to gather documents from document checklists used in previous years. (See below for more information on documents)
III. Only the following eligible Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or registered Indians can submit applications to sponsor parents and grandparents:
- You have successfully submitted an Interest to Sponsor form, AND
- You have received a confirmation number, AND
- You have received an Invitation to Apply letter.
Please note that you CANNOT transfer an Invitation to Apply to another person. Only the person to whom the ITA was sent can use that ITA to submit an application to sponsor their parents or grandparents.
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