Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship and SuperVisas
If you are seeking to sponsor your parent or grandparent for either Permanent Residence in Canada, or want them to be able to visit you for extended stays, contact us about PR sponsorship or Supervisas. We have helped dozens of families navigate the Parent / Grandparent Sponsorship program and the Parent / Grandparent SuperVisa process.
Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship
Canadian citizens and permanent residents have the opportunity to sponsor their parent(s) or grandparent(s) for permanent residence in Canada. The Parent Sponsorship program allows family members to reunite and live together permanently in Canada.
The Intake Process
The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) has made significant changes to the parent and grandparent sponsorship application process in recent years to control the number of applications submitted and to improve the efficiency of the program.
Under the new application processing system, the IRCC has introduced an invitation system where hopeful sponsors complete an Express of Interest webform. The form requires basic personal information from both the sponsor and the applicant, such as name, address, date of birth, and more. The form also asks the sponsor to confirm that they have read and meet the sponsorship requirements, including the minimum income requirements.
This form is only available on the IRCC website during certain times of the year. When IRCC makes the form available varies and has changed every year since this intake process started. The form is usually available for a couple of weeks in the spring or fall. By submitting this form, the sponsor puts their name in the pool of potential sponsors. Once the Expression of Interest webform is submitted, the sponsor receives a confirmation number that they can later use to confirm if they have received an invitation to apply. Once the Expression of Interest webform is closed, the government invites a select number of potential sponsors to submit a completed application.
The number of invitations issued varies each year and has historically ranged anywhere from 5,000 to 30,000. Only those selected by the government will have the opportunity to apply for the parent and grandparent sponsorship category.
Also, for the 2021 and 2022 invitation rounds, the government did not open a new Expression of Interest form and instead only issued invitations to sponsors who were already in the pool from previous years. This was done to give some preference to sponsors who had already been in the pool for years without receiving an invitation to apply. So far in 2023, there has been no news about any future rounds of invitations or new intakes via the Expression of Interest webform. Also, there have been no announcements regarding the timing of when any news can be expected, exactly how the process will work and how many invitations will be issued.
Contact us to be placed on our notification list for news about the Parent Sponsorship program. We maintain a list of hopeful Parent Sponsorship sponsors so we can notify them personally when there are new intakes for this program.
Invited sponsors must submit their completed application online via a Permanent Residence application portal within 60 days of the invitation.
To be eligible to sponsor a parent or grandparent, the sponsor must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Indian Act. The sponsor must also be 18 years of age or older and living in Canada. Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents living outside Canada are not eligible. Temporary residents, including individuals with pending applications for permanent residence, are not eligible to sponsor their family members.
Sponsors must not be subject to a removal order or be incarcerated, and they cannot be in receipt of social assistance (except for reasons of disability). Sponsors must also have no outstanding sponsorship undertakings, immigration or court order debts, or undischarged bankruptcies. Individuals who have been convicted of violent offenses, offenses against a family member, or sexual offenses (inside or outside of Canada) may not be eligible to act as a sponsor depending on the specific circumstances.
Unlike spouse and common-law partner sponsorships, individuals who hope to sponsor their parents and/or grandparents must meet specific income requirements. These vary depending on the number of individuals the sponsor is financially responsible for, including their spouse and dependent children, and the family members being sponsored. Once the sponsor is invited to apply, proof of income must be provided for each of the three taxation years preceding the application through submission of CRA Notices of Assessment, or sponsors can authorize IRCC to obtain their income tax records from the CRA directly. Sponsors may have their spouse or common-law partner co-sign the sponsorship undertaking to ensure they meet the financial requirements. The co-signer must meet the same eligibility requirements as the sponsor and their proof of income must be submitted for the preceding three taxation years before the application. Siblings cannot be co-sponsors, and certain revenues, such as child tax benefits or unemployment insurance, cannot be included in the income calculations. It is also important to note that the CRA Notice of Assessment indicating line 150 or 1500 ‘TOTAL INCOME’ is the only acceptable evidence of income. IRCC will not consider other evidence of income including dividend income from self-employed individuals.
To complete the sponsorship application, sponsors (and co-signers, if applicable) are required to submit a signed undertaking and sponsorship agreement. By signing the undertaking, sponsors commit to financially supporting the sponsored individual’s basic needs for a 20-year period. Sponsors are also responsible for repaying any provincial social assistance received by the sponsored parent and/or grandparent during this time. The undertaking remains valid even if the sponsor’s situation or relationship with the applicant changes.
It is important to note that sponsors living in Quebec have different immigration sponsorship requirements. They must first be evaluated and approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and then by the province of Quebec. In addition, an undertaking must be signed with the province of Quebec.
Eligible sponsors can include parents or grandparents who are blood or adoptive relatives. Spouses of the parent or grandparent who are not related by blood or birth, as well as dependent children of the parent or grandparent, may also apply. Children are considered dependent if they are under 22 years old and don’t have a spouse or common law partner. Children over 22 years old can still qualify if they have a physical or mental condition that makes them financially dependent on a parent since before turning 22.
It is crucial to meet all eligibility requirements, including those related to medical and criminal inadmissibility, when applying for permanent residence as a member of the family class.
The Parent Sponsorship can be very difficult to get into given the low number of invitations issued versus the number of people hoping to sponsor their parents and grandparents, However it is still a great opportunity for families to reunite in Canada.
If you’re interested in sponsoring a family member to come to Canada, contact us! We can notify you when there is news of a new intake or invitation round, as well as help you prepare your Expression of Interest webform and sponsorship application.
Benefits of Permanent Residence for Parents and Grandparents
- Sponsored Parents and Grandparents can stay in Canada permanently
- Sponsored Parents and Grandparents can be covered by government health insurance programs
- Sponsored Parents and Grandparents can work or study in Canada if they wish
- Sponsored Parents and Grandparents can become Canadian Citizens once they meet the eligibility requirements for Citizenship
Parent and Grandparent Supervisa
Many Canadians and Canadian Permanent Residents have parents and grandparents living outside of the country whom they want to bring to Canada to live with them or for an extended visit. Since there are so many people who have not been lucky enough to get an invitation for the Parent Sponsorship program, the next best alternative is the Parent & Grandparent Supervisa program. The Supervisa is also a great option for any Parent or Grandparent who wishes to visit their relatives in Canada for long periods of time, but has no interest in acquiring Permanent Residence in Canada. Unlike the Parent Sponsorship PR program, Supervisas have no annual quotas and are always available, so you can apply at any time.
The Parent & Grandparent Supervisa is essentially an enhanced visitor visa with additional benefits and requirements versus a regular visitor visa application.
The biggest difference between a Supervisa and a regular visitor visa is the duration of stay that is possible. While the Supervisa is a temporary visa and not a Permanent Residence program, many families have been able to use the Supervisa to have their parent(s) or grandparent(s) live with them in Canada almost indefinitely.
Regular visas are typically issued for only 6 months at a time. Meanwhile Supervisas can be issued for up to 10 years (if the applicant has a passport that is valid for that long). It is important to understand that the Supervisa that is stamped in the applicants passport is an entry authorization document (it allows the holder to board a plane to Canada) not a status document. Therefore, it is not as simple as being issued a 10-year supervisa and then being able to stay in Canada for 10 years. The reality is slightly more complicated than that. The holder of a Supervisa can stay in Canada for up to 5 years upon their first visit. At the end of that initial 5-year stay, the visitor status in Canada can be extended in 2 year increments up to the duration of validity of the Supervisa. So it is always important to track the Supervisa holder’s status in Canada so that necessary extensions can be applied for at the appropriate times. While the reality is more complicated than having a simple 10-year visitor status in Canada, it is still far better than having to extend one’s visitor status every 6 months under a regular visa.
Note that Supervisas are also a great option for applicants from countries that do not require an entry visa to be stamped in their passport in order to visit Canada (i.e. Americans, most Europeans, etc.). For them the application process is the same, but instead of a visa stamped in their passport, they will receive a Supervisa approval letter which will allow them to be issued 5 years of visitor status upon arrival in Canada.
Another major difference between a supervisa and a regular visa is the focus of the burden of evidence in the application. In a regular visa, the Immigration officer is primarily concerned with being satisfied that the applicant has genuine temporary intent in Canada and will leave Canada at the end of their authorized stay. In order to convince an officer of their temporary intent, regular visitor visa applicants must provide extensive evidence of their ties to their home country such as evidence of home ownership, employment, financial assets and family ties that will force them to return to their home country. In many cases, this can be a difficult argument for more senior applicants who may be retired or may have sold their home to live with family members. In many cases a booked return flight home is also required to convince an officer that the applicant will depart when required. As such, the refusal rates for regular visitor visa applications – especially for older applicants – can be very high.
In a Supervisa application, the burden of evidence and the focus is very different than in a regular visa application. Because the Supervisa was designed to be a middle ground between a regular visa and the Parent & Grandparent Sponsorship program for Permanent Residence that allows for very long durations of stay in Canada, the government understands that it does not make sense to demand substantial evidence of ties to home country and genuine temporary intent when an applicant may stay in Canada for many years under the authority of their Supervisa. Therefore, supervisa applications usually do not include any evidence of employment or home ownership or other ties to the applicant’s home country. Evidence of genuine intent to return to their home country, including return flight bookings are also not required. IRCC may still consider aspects such as the applicant’s ties to home country, their finances, and even the overall economic and political stability of their home country, but in general these factors are much less of a focus.
Instead, the focus shifts almost entirely onto the child or grandchild in Canada who is inviting their parent or grandparent to stay with them in Canada. This makes supervisa applications much less burdensome on the applicants and greatly increases the likelihood of approval as long as the inviting child or grandchild meets the eligibility requirements.
To qualify for a Supervisa the Canadian child or grandchild must show that they are a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident living in Canada and that they have sufficient income to support their relative’s visit, as evidenced via documents like a recent CRA Notice of Assessment, T4 statement of remuneration, employment confirmation letter or pay statements, and bank statements. The amount of income that the inviting child or grandchild must show depends on their family size and the number of parents or grandparents they are inviting. The inviting family member must also provide a letter of invitation promising that they will financially support their relatives during their visit. Note that we try to not refer to the inviting child or grandchild as a “sponsor” because unlike a Parent Sponsorship Permanent Residence application, in a Supervisa there is no formal sponsorship in that the inviting relative does not need to sign a Sponsorship Undertaking. This also means that there is no formal option for an inviter’s spouse or common-law partner to co-sign a Supervisa application, however in our experience, IRCC officers will take the income of the inviter’s spouse or common-law partner into consideration.
The inviting relative must also purchase private travel medical insurance from a Canadian insurance company valid for at least one year with at least $100,000 in coverage. Since the supervisa is a type of temporary visa and not a type of Permanent Residence, the holder of a supervisa is not eligible for provincial health insurance in Canada and is not permitted to work or study in Canada.
The applicant is also required to complete an immigration medical examination via an IRCC-approved physicians office. The applicants cannot be inadmissible to Canada on the basis of health or security.
It is also important to note that no dependents can be included in a Supervisa application. Only parents or grandparents, together with their spouses or common-law partners, may be included on an application for the Super Visa.
The Immigration Consultants at Castlewell Canadian Immigration Services (CCIS) are dedicated exclusively to the practice of immigration law and are experts at guiding applicants through the process of applying for Parent & Grandparent sponsorship and Parent and Grandparent Supervisas. We possess extensive experience helping families to obtain Permanent Residence and Supervisas that allow parents and grandparents to reunite with their children and grandchildren in Canada. We pride ourselves in ensuring that your Parent and Grandparent sponsorship PR and / or Supervisa process is as smooth and painless as possible.