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As of January 3rd 2017, the Parental Sponsorship program has begun to accept expressions of interest from Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents seeking to sponsor their parents or grandparents.  Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has introduced significant changes to the application process for parental sponsorship. Potential sponsors now have from today, January 3rd 2017 until February 2nd 2017 to submit an online expression of interest. The online expression of interest form asks for the sponsor’s name, date of birth, address, and contact information. After February 2nd, IRCC will randomly select 10,000 people to be invited to apply for parental sponsorship. Applicants who receive invitations will then have 90 days in which to submit a completed application for parental sponsorship. Applicants not selected will have to wait until the 2018 program opens and submit a new expression of interest.

IRCC has made submitting an expression of interest to the program a simple and speedy process. However, potential sponsors should be aware that the expression of interest form does not assess whether or not they are eligible for the program. Before submitting an expression of interest, potential sponsors should review the eligibility requirements for sponsorship of a parent or grandparent and ensure that both they and their parents/grandparents qualify. Common reasons for the refusal of a parental sponsorship application include the sponsor’s failure to meet the required minimum income level over the previous three years, or the parent/grandparent being found medically inadmissible. While the new system makes entering the lottery easier, it also makes it possible for a high number of invitations to be issued to ineligible applicants. Additionally, some applicants who receive invitations may decline to submit an application, or may fail to do so within the required 90 day period. While 10,000 invitations will be issued, it is likely that the number of applications eventually approved by IRCC will be much smaller.