Sibling Sponsorship in Canada - The Complete Guide

The Canadian government places a high value on family which is why Canada offers immigration programs that enable sibling sponsorship in Canada.

Canada is a country that offers a wealth of opportunities with free universal health care, quality education and an abundance of job opportunities. No wonder Canada is so appealing to foreign nationals and their families.

In this article, we explain how you can apply for the Family Class Sponsorship so you and your family members can become permanent residents of Canada. Now, let’s take a look at the Family Class Sponsorship and how this pathway works.


Family Class Sponsorship Explained

The Family Class Sponsorship is for permanent residents or citizens of Canada who are 18 years or older, and who wish to bring their family members to live and work in Canada. This is one of the most widely used streams under Canadian immigration since the program makes it so easy to bring your spouse or sibling to Canada.

Now, we’ll give you a breakdown on how you can sponsor a relative under the Family Class Sponsorship program.

Step 1: Know How The Family Class Sponsorship Works

Firstly, to sponsor a relative, you need to be 18 years or older and be registered as a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Alternatively, you can be registered under the Canadian Indian Act.

The following information is important if you’re sponsoring a relative to come to Canada:

If you’re applying for sibling sponsorship in Canada, you should be able to financially support your relatives in the event of settling in Canada. In other words, you should provide food, shelter and clothing, as well as the need for potential social assistance.

Fees and processing time

According to the Canadian government website, there's been an increase in fees for permanent residence applications from April 30, 2022. You can find out more about fees here.

How accurately you provide the information on your application and how well you comply with instructions are major contributing factors that will largely influence processing time. Note that processing times will start from the day your completed application is received.

How to check processing times

Processing time will vary from country to country. To track your processing time, you need to answer questions such as application type, who you’re sponsoring and where the relative lives. Thereafter, you can track your processing time and follow the instructions from there onward.

Step 2: Check If You’re Eligible To Sponsor a Relative

There are certain requirements for the person sponsoring their relative and there’s a set of requirements for the relative settling in Canada.

You can apply for family sponsorship if you’re 18 years or older; or registered as a Canadian citizen; or registered under the Canadian Indian Act. Alternatively, you can live and work in Canada as a permanent resident.

However, it’s possible to sponsor a family member while you’re out of Canada. If you’re a Canadian citizen who is living abroad temporarily, you should be:

  • living in Canada or planning to return so you can be there when your relative immigrates to Canada and
  • sponsoring your spouse or common law partner, or dependent child who should have no other dependent children.
You cannot sponsor a relative if:

  • you’re convicted of a violent or sexual crime and you’re in prison;
  • have not paid child support or in arrears with child support;
  • have been declared bankrupt;
  • received social assistance when you’re not disable;
  • in arrears with immigration payments or loans and
  • fail to meet the sponsorship conditions or any other offense that was not listed.

Bear in mind that different provinces may have different sponsorship conditions. Quebec, for instance, may require you to sign a contract in the form of an undertaking, binding your sponsorship.

Step 3: Check If Your Relative Is Eligible

The Family Class Sponsorship allows your brother, sister, aunt or uncle to immigrate to Canada under specific circumstances. Naturally so, there are situations where relatives don’t meet the criteria, what are your options then?

You can use the “come to Canada tool” on the Official Canadian government website. The tool helps you to find other programs that may be eligible for you. You would have to answer a few online questions relevant to your application, save the questionnaire and move on to the next set of instructions.

For now, we’ll highlight two scenarios that allow you to sponsor a relative.

  1. Family sponsorship of an orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild: The family member should be related to you by blood or adoption while both parents would have to be passed on. The relative should be under 18 years of age, single or unmarried.
  2. Other family members: You’re allowed to sponsor a blood relative or an adopted family member of any age. This is only applicable if you, the sponsor, don’t have any other relative that’s still alive who you could sponsor; or if you don’t have a relative that’s a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who you could sponsor instead.
A summary of who can you sponsor

  • Eligibility to sponsor an aunt: The sponsor may be a permanent resident in Canada with no children, parents or dependents, and would like to sponsor their aunt who is married with a child. In this case, the sponsor still meets the requirements because they’re a permanent resident of Canada who is sponsoring any other relative such as their aunt.
  • Eligibility to sponsor a cousin: The sponsor is the only child and his parents and grandparents have passed on. In this case, he immigrated to Canada as a permanent resident but wishes to sponsor his cousin. The sponsor is single with no relatives in Canada. The cousin who is being sponsored is single which makes the sponsor eligible for sponsorship since he doesn’t have a close living relative or spouse in Canada. Alternatively, he doesn’t have a relative who is a permanent resident of Canada, nor is the relative a registered Indian of Canada.
  • Eligibility for sibling sponsorship in Canada: The sponsor has a sibling related by blood or adoption while both parents are passed on. The relative should be under 18 years of age, single or unmarried. However, you can’t sponsor your brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild if the parents are still alive, have abandoned them; or if the parents can’t be found or are in jail.

In an event where your family sponsorship application is unsuccessful, don’t despair. With the right guidance, you can be informed about other programs that accommodate various circumstances and needs. Alternatively, you can find out more about how you can go from temporary residence to permanent residence in Canada.

Step 4: The Application Process

Your relatives can become permanent residents in two ways:

  1. You can apply to sponsor your relatives, or
  2. Your family members can apply for permanent residency to live and work in Canada.
Remember that you’re required to send both your sibling sponsorship application and your permanent resident application at the same time. Thereafter, your application will be processed and you’ll be informed whether or not your application has been approved.

For now, let’s look at the process to apply for the Family Class Sponsorship in three steps.

1. Get the application package of the Family Class Sponsorship

The application package is important as it will contain information such as your instruction guide, relevant forms and a document checklist. Note that the sponsor must ensure that they meet the requirements and comply with the conditions of the sponsorship before applying.

When submitting your application, make sure to:

  • attach proof of income;
  • prove that your relative can provide for themselves;
  • state in writing that you’re able to support your relatives for a certain amount of time;
  • provide all supporting documents according to the checklist, and
  • state the amount of relatives you wish to sponsor and any other potential information that could influence the status of your application.
All information provided must be truthful as things will be verified later. Your application will be rejected should you be dishonest or provide inaccurate information. In turn, the relative being sponsored must be truthful about the information they provide and should be open to criminality checks.

2. Pay your application fees

There’s been a recent increase in permanent residence fees as of April, 30, 2022. But don’t sweat it as we will give you a quick breakdown of what you’ll be paying for:

  • processing fees and the relatives you’re sponsoring;
  • Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF) which is currently $515 and
  • biometrics fees (fingerprints and photo)
Note that all applicants must pay their fees online. The Canadian government will accept credit and prepaid cards from: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB and UnionPay. Alternatively, you can also pay with your Debit MasterCard or Visa Debit cards.

3. Submit your application

Applicants would have to mail their application with supporting documents. The instructions to this process will be contained within the instruction guide of your application package. Note, even though processing times of permanent residence applications have been updated with better turnaround times, the process is still subject to different countries.

Step 5: What happens after I apply?

All applications will be evaluated to check if everything is complete and if all fees have been paid. As soon as the processing of your application starts, you will receive an acknowledgement letter to inform you of the process going forward. The eligibility on the part of you, the sponsor, and the relative you’re sponsoring, will be assessed as well.

Should your application be refused, know that there are other alternatives around this. Furthermore you’ll be informed about why your application was rejected and how you can appeal the decision.

How will the relatives be informed?

Once the processing of your relative’s application starts, they’ll receive a letter with their application number. Thereafter, their application will be linked to their online account which will enable effective communication and updates going forward.

Application status

Both the sponsor and the relative being sponsored can check their application status. Sponsors are welcome to check their application status using an online tool designed to help applicants track the progress of their application.

The sponsor can also check their relative’s application status by requesting access to do so. Alternatively, you can act as a “representative” if you wish to manage your relative’s application such as filling out forms and communicating important information. Even so, the relative would need to grant you access to do so.

Know how ArriveCAN works

Knowing how ArriveCAN works is a huge preparation factor for your arrival. ArriveCAN is a platform for immigrants to provide travel information before and after entering Canada. Applicants must ensure that they’re using the latest version of ArriveCAN and that all information has previously been uploaded successfully.

Once you arrive in Canada, you need to show your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR). In addition to this, you will also need to show your permanent resident visa to an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officer at the Port of Entry (POE).

The officer will double-check all information and ensure that everything is in place. Be prepared to answer similar questions that you’ve already answered on your application - this is done to ensure that you’re the same person who applied for the sponsorship.

At this point, you’ll be well on your way to enter Canada as a permanent resident if there’s no problems. You can expect to have your permanent resident card mailed to your Canadian address which you’ve provided on your COPR. This card will serve as proof of your status in Canada as a permanent resident in the country. This is why it’s important to provide the correct address on your COPR when applying for the sponsorship.

Applying For Sibling Sponsorship In Canada Can Be a Walk In The Park

Now that you have the complete guide on how to apply for family sponsorship, you can start your journey ahead with confidence. Understandably so, family is important which is why the Canadian government has put in place programs such as the Family Class Sponsorship that has been designed to accommodate you and your needs.

A good start would be to get in touch with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) to advise and guide you through the process.



1. Can I bring my siblings to Canada permanently?

There are many immigration pathways that allow you to bring your siblings with you to Canada. They can apply for an open work permit or under the Express Entry system as well which has programs that accommodate for various needs. Alternatively, you can apply as the sponsor to the Family Class Sponsorship which is a program that allows you to sponsor your siblings or other relatives.

2. How can I sponsor my brother to Canada?

If you’re a permanent resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen; or if you’re registered under the Canadian Indian Act, you can apply for sibling sponsorship under the Family Class program. There is a set of requirements both the sponsor and the relative being sponsored must meet. Once you’re eligible to apply for the Family Class Sponsorship, your application and supporting documents will be reviewed and a decision of whether to issue a visa will be made.

3. Can I sponsor my niece to immigrate to Canada?

You can sponsor your brother, sister, nephew, niece, or orphaned grandchild. However, these relatives must be unmarried or under 18 years of age. However, you may be eligible to sponsor a relative that falls outside of the mentioned age group depending on your needs and requirements of your sponsorship.