Who you may sponsor to Canada in parental sponsorship

sponsor your parents to CanadaZhang Wei and Wang Fang are married Canadian citizens of Chinese descent. As two successful immigrants, they have called Canada home for the past nine years. However, they miss their parents, and they intend to sponsor them in Canada. Since Zhang Wei’s parents have a minor child, they wonder if they could sponsor her under the parental sponsorship program. 

Let’s say you meet the requirements to sponsor your parents or grandparents. However, you wonder who you may sponsor to Canada under the PGP (Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship Program). In this situation, continue reading this article.

The principal applicant in a parental sponsorship application in Canada

Under the PGP, you must choose a principal applicant (PA). Of course, you could choose only one person from this list:

  • Your biological mother or father
  • A person who legally adopted you
  • Your biological grandfather or grandmother
  • A person who is legally your grandfather or grandmother via the adoption process

Let’s say your parents are divorced. In this situation, you can only sponsor one of them in an application. However, you may open two separate applications and, in each application, make one of them the principal applicant. Alternatively, your parents may still be married to each other. Thus, one of them will be the PA, and the other one becomes a family member in this application.

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Family members of the principal applicant

In a parental sponsorship program in Canada, you may include the principal applicant’s accompanying family members (PA). However, you may pick from this list only:

  • The spouse or common-law partner of the PA;
  • the dependent children of the PA or the spouse or common-law of the PA; or
  • the dependent children of the dependent children of the PA or the spouse or common-law of the PA.

Of course, you may learn more about these terms by reading the following article:

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Multiple applications under the Canada parental sponsorship program

Considering the previous scenarios, you may end up opening multiple applications to sponsor your parents or grandparents. However, you normally may open those applications simultaneously. Here are some examples:

My wife and I want to sponsor our parents. They don’t have dependent children, though.

You become the sponsor of your parents, and your wife becomes the sponsor of her parents. However, if you do not meet the income requirements, each of you becomes the cosigner of the other application. Consequently, if you do not have any children, then for income calculations, you must add both of your incomes to cover a family of six (i.e. you, your spouse, your parents and her parents). Nonetheless, you are dealing with two applications, not one.

I am sponsoring my parents, but they are divorced and re-married.

In this scenario, you need to open two concurrent applications. Of course, the current spouses of your parents become the accompanying family members in each application. Therefore, your income must cover four of them. Assuming you are single and do not have dependent children, your income must cover five people.

To learn more about income requirements for parental sponsorship, read my article on this subject.

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Requirements for applicants in a parental sponsorship application in Canada

Other than being a valid family member, applicants must be admissible to Canada. Read the following articles for more information:

If your parents or their family members are inadmissible, then you must resolve the underlying issue. However, you could also apply under the H&C program or consider filing for a TRP. The following articles help you with understanding these concepts:

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Am I obliged to sponsor everyone?

Let’s assume your parents are divorced. Are you obliged to sponsor both of them in two different applications? The simple answer is NO. Of course, you may choose only one of them for several reasons, including but not limited to:

Sometimes the family members won’t accompany the applicant. I personally have dealt with complex cases due to such arrangments. Make sure to consult with a professional if you are dealing with complicated issues.

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If you have questions about your family situation, you could book a consultation session with me. Alternatively, if you intend to hire my team and me to help you with parental sponsorship in Canada, please fill out the following form. Of course, we will get back to you as soon as we can to exchange more information.

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    Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    Al Parsai

    Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in Toronto, Canada. He also teaches immigration courses at Ashton College in Vancouver, Canada. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of ICCRC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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