September 1, 2023

Can I sponsor my brother or sister to immigrate to Canada?

Posted by Alexandra Goncharova - Bellissimo Law Group PC

You can sponsor your brothers and sisters to Canada, but the eligibility criteria is very specific.

You can sponsor your orphaned brother or sister if they are: related to you by blood or adoption, under 18 years of age, and single (not married or in common-law relationship). Note that orphaned means that your brother or sister does not have a parent that is still alive. You cannot sponsor your brother or sister if: they have at least one parent alive, or no one knows where their parents are, or their parents abandoned them, or their parent is detained or in jail, or someone else is taking care of them while one or both parents are alive.

Aside from orphaned brother or sister meeting the above criteria, you generally cannot sponsor your brother or sister, as for immigration purposes, they are not considered to be a family member under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. However, you can sponsor one blood-related or adopted relative of any age, provided you don’t have any eligible living relatives you could sponsor instead, such as a spouse or common-law partner, child, parent, grandparent, or certain orphaned family members. Note that if you have any of the above-listed relatives, or aunts or uncles, who are Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or registered under the Indian Act, you will not be eligible to sponsor your brother or sister under this category.

To sponsor an eligible relative, you must be over the age of 18, living in Canada*, and a Canadian citizen or person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or a Canadian permanent resident. Additionally, you must meet set income guidelines and agree in writing to provide financial support to your relative (and any other eligible relatives coming with them) beginning on the date they become a permanent resident and/or for up to 20 years (depending on their age and how you’re related).

Notably, you cannot be a sponsor if you are in prison, have not paid your alimony or child support payments, have declared bankruptcy and haven’t been released from it yet, got social assistance for reasons other than being disabled, didn’t pay back an immigration loan, sponsored another relative in the past and didn’t meet the terms of the sponsorship agreement, and/or made late payments or missed payments. Additionally, you cannot be a sponsor if you were convicted of a violent crime, any offence against a relative or any sexual offence, depending on details of the case, such as the type of offence, how long ago it was, and whether a record suspension (formerly pardon) was issued.

*You must live in Canada to sponsor eligible relatives unless you:

  • are a Canadian citizen who lives abroad and
  • plan to return to Canada when your relatives immigrate and
  • are sponsoring your:
    • spouse or
    • common-law or conjugal partner or
    • dependent children who have no dependent children

It’s worth noting that there could be other factors not mentioned in this list that might affect the sponsorship process, so it’s crucial to thoroughly understand the eligibility and admissibility criteria before proceeding with the sponsorship process. Book a consultation with our office today for further information.