The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) allows various family sponsorships. A Canadian citizen or permanent resident can easily sponsor a spouse or child to immigrate to Canada. Sponsored loved ones can also potentially settle permanently.

However, sponsoring a sibling for Canadian permanent residence is much more restricted. You may only sponsor your sibling if your circumstances qualify for an exception to the general rule. The general rule is you can’t sponsor a sibling for permanent residence.

If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements for the exception, you can pursue other options to help your sibling immigrate to Canada. Here’s what you need to know about sponsoring a sibling for Canadian permanent residence and other possible avenues:

Who Can Sponsor a Loved One For Canadian Permanent Residence?

The IRCC has set forth specific requirements for those who can act as sponsors for Canadian permanent residence. You must meet the following requirements for you to be considered an eligible sponsor for your loved one:

  • Minimum Age: You must be at least 18 years old
  • Citizenship: Only a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada can become a sponsor. You can also sponsor a loved one if you are an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
  • Residence: You must reside in Canada to become a sponsor unless you’re a Canadian citizen. As a citizen, you don’t have to be physically present in Canada to sponsor a loved one. However, you must demonstrate your intention to live in Canada when your sponsored family member arrives in the country
  • Needs Provision: As a sponsor, you must agree to provide for the basic needs of your sponsored loved one for the entire period they’ll be in Canada.
  • Financial Proof: You must prove that you have sufficient income to support your sponsored loved one for the length of their stay in the country.

Under What Circumstances Can I Sponsor My Sibling For Canadian PR?

You generally cannot sponsor a sibling for Canadian permanent residence. However, the IRCC has one exception to this rule, known as the ‘lonely Canadian rule.’ This exception allows you to sponsor your orphaned brother or sister if they meet four main conditions:

  1. Are related to you by blood or legal adoption
  2. Both their mother and father have passed away
  3. Are under 18 years of age
  4. Are single, meaning not married or in common law or conjugal relationships

Meeting these four conditions doesn’t automatically qualify your siblings for sponsorship. The IRCC will examine many other immigrant requirements before accepting applications for such family sponsorships.

Note that this exception is only available to siblings who are total orphans. You cannot sponsor your sibling if one parent is alive or if no one knows their whereabouts. The exception also doesn’t apply if a parent is in jail.

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