Sat | Aug 8, 2020

Immigration Corner | Sponsoring a half-sister to Canada

Published:Tuesday | December 3, 2019 | 12:31 AM
Deidre S. Powell
Deidre S. Powell

Dear Miss Powell,

I am 28 years old and living in Canada. I have a half-sister who is five years old and living with friends in Jamaica. Her mother died last year, and I’ve been sending money to help her. Can I sponsor her even though she is a half-sister? She is my father’s child, but my dad also died a few year ago and I’m very worried about her and I would like to take her here with me. How can I get my baby sister to live with me? What documents would I need? How much would it cost? Is this an expensive process? Thank you in advance for your help.


Dear AY

Under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor an orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild if you are able to satisfy the requirements. This applies to half-sisters as well.

The most important requirements in this case are proof of age and relationship, that is, you will be required to provide evidence that you are related by blood. To do this, you should be prepared to submit the birth certificates of your sister and yourself, which must record your father’s name. If this is not available, you may present affidavits from relatives and community leaders, as well as DNA test results from one of the authorised laboratories. You will also need to provide a copy of your sister’s parents’ death certificates.

Who can sponsor?

It is important to provide the required proof that you are eligible to sponsor an individual. You may not be able to sponsor a relative if you have previously sponsored another relative and did not meet the terms of the sponsorship, if you were convicted of a crime and not pardoned, if you are bankrupt and if you got social assistance for reason other than being disabled. These are just some of the possible reasons why your application could be rejected. Therefore, I would recommend that you meet with an immigration lawyer to guide you, based on the details of your case.


There are a few costs associated with the application. There is the obvious application fee and the long-term cost. The sponsorship application is a two- step process and IRCC fees are based on this fact. First, you as the sponsor, will be evaluated to ensure that you satisfy the requirements to sponsor. You must be eligible and able to afford to sponsor your sister. You will be required to undertake to take care of her basic needs and not allow her to become a ward of the state. This means that you will need to provide proof that you are gainfully employed, have paid your taxes and not required social assistance. You must meet the set income guidelines based on the number of persons in your household. Most importantly, you must sign an undertaking to provide financial support to your sister for up to as much as 20 years. At the end of the evaluation, IRCC will advise you of the length of your undertaking and your responsibilities to your sister and to the Government of Canada.

There is a sponsorship application fee of CAD$75 which must be submitted with the application. This fee is required to conduct the initial assessment. You will be assessed against the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) and other eligibility criteria and then advised on whether or not your application will make it to part two, which is the processing of the permanent residence application for your sister.

The second stage is the evaluation of your sister as the principal applicant. Since your sister is under 19 years old, the fee is CAD$75. Therefore, your current application fee would be CAD$150. IRCC set the fees for the sponsorship of children based on their age and status at the time of a completed application. I recommend that you pay both fees at the outset as this could save on the processing time.

There are other documents and steps that you may need to take to complete the application so I recommend that you consult with an immigration lawyer to guide you with the process.

Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, commercial and administration of estates. She is on the roster of mediators for Ottawa, Toronto, and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Email: Subject line: Immigration Telephone 613.695.8777/ 876-922-4092