Sponsor your relatives: Who you can sponsor

Depending on your situation, there are 2 options for who you can sponsor.

Orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild

You can sponsor an orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild only if they meet all of these conditions:

  • they’re related to you by blood or adoption
  • both their mother and father passed away
  • they’re under 18 years of age
  • they’re single (not married or in a common-law or conjugal relationship)

You can’t sponsor your brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild if:

  • one of their parents is still alive
  • no one knows where their parents are
  • their parents abandoned them
  • someone else other than their parents is taking care of them while one or both their parents are alive
  • their parent is in jail or otherwise detained

Other relative

You may sponsor one relative, related by blood or adoption, of any age, if you meet all of these conditions:

  • you (the person who wants to sponsor your relative) don't have a living relative you could sponsor instead, such as a:
    • spouse
    • common-law partner
    • conjugal partner
    • son or daughter
    • parent
    • grandparent
    • orphaned brother or sister
    • orphaned nephew or niece
    • orphaned grandchild
  • you (the potential sponsor) don’t have any relatives (aunt or uncle or any of the relatives listed above), who is a:
    • Canadian citizen
    • permanent resident
    • registered Indian under the Indian Act

If the relative you want to sponsor has a spouse, partner, or dependent children who will come with them to Canada, you must include them on the same sponsorship application.

Examples of who you can sponsor

See the examples below to better understand who you can sponsor.

Example 1: Eligible to sponsor an aunt

Veronica doesn’t have a spouse or a common-law partner. She has no children, and lives in Canada as a permanent resident. Her parents and grandparents have all passed away and she doesn’t have any relatives in Canada who are Canadian citizens, permanent residents or registered Indians. Veronica would like to sponsor her aunt Betty, who she is very close with. Her aunt Betty is married and has a daughter.

Veronica meets the requirements to sponsor her aunt because she doesn’t have:

  • a close living relative she could sponsor instead (such as a spouse, partner, child, orphaned sibling, parent or grandparent) and
  • any other relative such as an aunt who is a citizen, permanent resident or registered Indian of Canada.

On the application, Betty will be designated as the principle applicant and her husband will be designated as a dependant.

Betty’s daughter can be included on the application only if she qualifies as a dependent child. If her daughter is older than the age limit or she doesn’t meet all the requirements, she can’t be added to Betty’s application and will have to immigrate to Canada on her own.

Example 2: Eligible to sponsor a cousin

Sam is an only child. His parents and grandparents have passed away. He was raised in the United States by his only cousin.  He immigrated to Canada as a permanent resident. He’s single (doesn’t have a spouse or a common-law partner). Sam doesn’t have any relatives in Canada who are Canadian citizens, permanent residents or registered Indians. Sam wants to sponsor his American cousin. His cousin is single (doesn’t have a spouse or a common-law partner).

Sam meets the requirements to sponsor his cousin to come to Canada because he doesn’t have:

  • a close living relative he could sponsor instead (such as a spouse, partner, child, sibling, parent or grandparent) and
  • any other relative who is a citizen, permanent resident or registered Indian of Canada.

Example 3: Not eligible to sponsor an aunt by marriage

Aba is a Canadian citizen. The only family she had in Canada was her mother, who passed away. Aba has always been close to her mother’s only brother and his wife. Aba’s uncle recently passed away, and Aba would like to sponsor his wife (her aunt by marriage) to come to Canada. Aba does not meet the requirements to sponsor her aunt, because they’re not related by blood.

Who you can’t sponsor

You can’t sponsor someone who is inadmissible to Canada. This means they’re not allowed to come to Canada.

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