Community Sponsors: How to apply

Before you apply, read the application package to make sure that you qualify to be a Community Sponsor. Also read the Guide to the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program for information you will need when you apply.

Community Sponsors may only sponsor applicants who are recognized as refugees by either the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or a foreign state.

You must include with the refugee sponsorship application a document proving refugee status recognition that the UNHCR or a foreign state has issued. We will accept a photocopy of the original document.

Quebec has its own process for sponsoring refugees. For sponsors in Quebec, visit refugee sponsorship in Quebec.

There are 3 steps to applying to become a Community Sponsor:

Decide if you want to sponsor a specific refugee or a refugee referred by a visa office

In some cases, a Community Sponsor may want to sponsor a specific refugee or refugee family abroad, such as a:

  • friend
  • member of a family in the community
  • a refugee identified by an overseas contact

This is known as “sponsor-referred refugee.”

Sponsor-referred refugees must qualify under Canada’s refugee and humanitarian resettlement program. Both you and the refugee must fill out an application. After you apply, an officer abroad will assess the application to decide whether the person you want to sponsor qualifies.

In other cases, you may ask for a “visa office-referred refugee.” These refugees have already been determined to be eligible and have already been chosen by an officer abroad. They just need a private sponsor before they can come to Canada.

You can sponsor a visa office-referred refugee through either the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) program, or the visa office-referred (VOR) program.

Blended Visa Office-Referred Program

Identifying a refugee to sponsor

  1. IRCC officers do an initial review of the refugee files provided by the United Nations Refugee Agency. This review identifies potential cases for sponsorship under the BVOR program.
  2. Case information is provided to the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) in Canada to be shared with potential sponsors.

    To get refugee profiles, you can contact the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) at info@rtsp.ca.

  3. The RSTP will give you information about the refugee and their family. This will help you decide whether to proceed with a sponsorship. If no sponsor shows interest within 14 calendar days, the case will be processed under the Government-Assisted Refugees Program.
  4. If you are interested in a refugee case, tell the RSTP. They will reserve the case for you within the 14 calendar days.
  5. You have 30 calendar days to submit a sponsorship application.

If you choose a refugee through the BVOR program, we will share the costs of the sponsorship with you. We will provide up to 6 months of income support to help you sponsor a refugee through the BVOR program.

If a profile shows the refugee has family or friends in Canada, it is best that only sponsoring groups in that community sponsor the case. Other things to look for in a profile are:

  • Are other members of the refugee(s) ethnocultural background already living in your community?
  • Is there fairly priced housing that will fit with the family size?
  • Does your community have the support services needed such as:
    • medical facilities,
    • trauma counseling,
    • language training, etc.
  • Are there jobs in your community?

Other Visa Office-Referred Program

In addition to the BVOR program, we also administer Visa Office Referred Program (VOR program). This program is similar to the BVOR program however requires that sponsors take on the full costs of the sponsorship. We will not provide any income support.

To ask for a profile for a refugee referred by an IRCC office abroad, e-mail a Request for a Refugee Profile (IMM 5438) (PDF, 572.45 KB) to IRCC’s Resettlement Operations Centre in Ottawa (ROC-O).

If there are no cases available to match your Request for a Refugee Profile (IMM 5438), the ROC-O will tell you that there may be a waiting period until a case is available. They will discuss the option of sponsoring a case through the BVOR Program.

We are currently focusing our efforts on the BVOR Program. We may not be able to find a VOR case outside of that program. Also, VOR match requests must be in cities where Canada is resettling government-assisted refugees.

You should review profiles carefully to make sure your sponsoring group and community will be able to meet the needs of the refugee(s). If a profile shows that there are existing family or friends in Canada, it is recommended that only sponsoring groups in that community sponsor the case. Some other things to look for in a profile are:

  • Are other members of the refugee(s) ethnocultural background already living in your community?
  • Is there reasonably priced housing that will fit with the family size?
  • Does your community have the support services needed such as:
    • medical facilities,
    • trauma counseling,
    • language training, etc.
  • Are there jobs in your community?
  • If your group decides to sponsor a regular VOR refugee, let IRCC’s ROC-O and the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program know. The ROC-O will give you the information you need to fill out the Sponsorship Application.

If your group decides not to sponsor the refugee, the case will be referred back to the IRCC office abroad for further processing.

More information for both options is available in the Guide to the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.

Get the application package

The package includes the application guide and all of the forms you need to fill out.

Download and print the application kit.

  • Before you start, read the Guide for Community Sponsors to privately sponsor refugees [IMM 2201] carefully. It has all the information you need to know about your application before you send it to us. It also has instructions on how to fill out the forms.
  • Gather all of the necessary documents. They are listed in the document checklist in the application guide.
  • Fill in the forms carefully and completely. Complete the forms on your computer. Print the forms after you fill them out. Do not fill out the forms by hand. Sign and date your forms.
  • Keep a copy for your records of all the forms you submit.
  • Complete these forms:
    • Sponsorship Undertaking and Settlement Plan – Community Sponsor (CS) [IMM 5663].
    • Sponsor Assessment [IMM 5492]
    • Financial Profile [IMM 5373B]

      Optional:

    • Use of a Representative (IMM 5476) (PDF, 648.31 KB) – You must complete this form if you want to
      • help refugees you are sponsoring apply; or
      • authorize a third-party representative to do business for you with IRCC and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and to give you advice or guidance during the application process. Using a representative is a personal choice.
    • Appointment of Representative(s) in Expected Community of Settlement [IMM 5956] – Use this form if you do not currently meet the residency requirements and would like to appoint a representative in the refugee’s expected community of settlement.
  • The refugees you are applying to sponsor must complete the Application for Convention Refugees Abroad and Humanitarian-Protected Persons Abroad (IMM 6000), unless you are asking for a refugee profile.
  • Enclose proof of refugee status recognition for the principal refugee applicant. We will accept a photocopy of the original document.

Submit your application

Use the document checklist to make sure that you have included everything you need. Sign and date your forms. We will not process your application if it is incomplete. We will return it to the person or group that submitted it.

Mail all of the required documents to:

Resettlement Operations Centre in Ottawa (ROC-O)
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1

Make sure you provide your complete return mailing address.

It is up to you to keep your application up-to-date.

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