We have been waiting a long time for the 2020 parents sponsorship draw date, which was delayed several times due to the COVID pandemic. On January 5, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada finally started issuing invitations to selected sponsors for the 2020 Parent and Grandparent sponsorship program. The invitations are being issued over a period of several days, through a randomized lottery system that selects applicants who submitted an interest to sponsor form during the intake period in November 2020. Invitations are being sent via email to selected sponsors, but once all invitations have been issued, the results of the selection draw will be posted on the IRCC website. If your invitation has not arrived to your inbox yet, remember to check your junk mail folder frequently in case your invitation ends up there.
If you are invited to sponsor, the complete application for Permanent Residence needs to arrive at the IRCC processing center within 60 days. This is not a lot of time to organize documents coming from overseas, so if you have received an invitation, you need to act quickly.
Sponsoring your parents or grandparents to Canada
If you have received an email alerting you to the fact that you have been selected to sponsor for 2020, you need to act quickly to organize the sponsorship application. The sponsorship application that you submit to IRCC needs to be perfect, or it will be rejected and you will not be able to sponsor your loved ones (second chances don’t exist). Therefore, it’s imperative that you know what you are doing, and pay attention to even the smallest of details.
1. Ensure you are eligible to sponsor your parents or grandparents.
Ideally, you should have been certain that you met the criteria to sponsor your parents or grandparents at the time you submitted the interest to sponsor form in November. Note that just because you have received an invitation to sponsor, that doesn’t ensure that you are eligible to sponsor. IRCC will assess your situation when you submit the completed application package, and if you are not an eligible sponsor, the application will be refused at that time – with no refund of fees. This is a costly way to determine your eligibility. It is much better to review your situation before applying, using the IRCC eligibility guidelines.
2. Gather documents and information needed for the application.
The documents and information needed to prepare a parent or grandparent sponsorship application to Canada can be found on the IRCC website. Use the document checklist for parent sponsorship to Canada as your “recipe” and compile the contents of your application carefully. Note that you will need to save many of the forms onto your computer before you can open them properly. It’s normal to get the “Please wait…” message if you are trying to open the forms directly from the website.
You must prepare a perfect application. Every document listed must be included, every form required must be perfectly completed, every signature and every date must be present. IRCC does not work with applicants to bring their applications up to standard. If you don’t submit a perfect application, the first time – you don’t get to sponsor. It’s really that harsh.
3. Submit your parent or grandparent sponsorship application.
The parent and grandparent sponsorship process is a paper-based application. There are a number of important steps to take when submitting a paper application to IRCC, including ensuring no gaps in time on the information you provide, double-checking the validity of the forms you are using, keeping a complete copy of the application before you send it, and keeping proof that it was delivered to the proper processing office – on time.
What happens after I submit the application to sponsor my parent or grandparents to Canada?
If your application package is considered by IRCC to be perfect when received, you will be notified of your file number in an email. From that point forward, you need to monitor your email carefully as all further instructions regarding next steps on the file – like submitting biometrics, taking a medical, submitting police clearances – will come via email and will include a deadline for completion.
If your application package is not considered perfect when received by IRCC, the entire package will be returned to your address and that, unfortunately, means that your dreams are finished for now. If you are invited to sponsor again in future program draws, you may have another chance to sponsor.
How long does it take to sponsor parents to Canada?
The processing times for the 2020 Canada Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship program are anyone’s guess. Processing times for this program have been much faster in recent years, since IRCC started managing the process through the invitation only system. Straightforward applications from recent years have been processed in 6-12 months, and more complicated applications take longer, 12-24 months. In this new era of COVID, processing times will be impacted by the pandemic situation in both Canada (where the sponsor is processed) and in the home country of the parent or grandparent (where their visa is processed).
I was not invited to sponsor my parents or grandparents in 2020.
Once the invitation period has passed, if you find that you were not invited to sponsor your parents or grandparents to Canada in the 2020 program intake, there are a couple of other options to keep in mind.
1. The Parent and Grandparent sponsorship intake for 2021 will be the largest in recent years – with 30,000 sponsors invited (as opposed to the 2020 intake where 10,000 sponsors were invited). It’s possible that you could be invited to sponsor your parents or grandparents in the months ahead – as long as you submit another interest to sponsor when the 2021 program opens.
2. A Super Visa to Canada allows your parent or grandparent to be with you while you wait for the opportunity to sponsor them for permanent residence. There are some unique processes to follow while Canada’s border remains closed to most travellers during the COVID pandemic, but it is still possible for close family members of Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents to join their family members in Canada in certain instances.
3. A regular visitor visa is also possible for parents and grandparents. The requirements for this type of visa are less stringent than a Super Visa application, but it can be more difficult to gain approval – depending on where your parents or grandparents are located. It’s always a good idea to have professional advice if you are applying for a temporary visa, because refusals are frequent and once a refusal is on file, it can be more difficult to gain approval in the future.
Benefits of sponsorship your parents or grandparents to Canada
Although it’s possible to have your parents or grandparents spend time in Canada with visitor status, the benefits of being chosen to sponsor them for Permanent Residence are vast. As Permanent Residents, your parents or grandparents can work in Canada and don’t need to maintain expensive travel insurance, because they will qualify for Provincial Health care coverage. They also are not subject to additional immigration processes to extend or renew temporary status on an ongoing basis, and can eventually become Canada Citizens if they want to. Sponsorship, when it’s possible, is definitely the way to go!
Being invited to sponsor your parents or grandparents to live permanently in Canada is akin to winning the lottery – potentially a once in a lifetime opportunity. The Way Immigration is here to help you make the most of this incredible moment. Set up an appointment with one of our experts today to ensure that your parent sponsorship application is perfect, and will ultimately be successful.