Groups of five – Sponsoring refugees

A Group of five (G5) is five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have arranged to sponsor a refugee living abroad to come to Canada. All of the group members must be at least 18 years of age and live or have representatives in the area where the refugee will settle.

The group must agree to give emotional and financial support to the refugee(s) for the full sponsorship period-usually one year.

Effective October 19, 2012, a G5 may only sponsor applicants who are recognized as refugees by either the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or a foreign state, unless you are applying to sponsor a Syrian or Iraqi refugee.

For Syrian and Iraqi refugees - As of September 19, 2015, the Government of Canada has temporarily exempted Syrians and Iraqis fleeing the current conflict from the requirement to provide proof of refugee status in order to be sponsored. This means that a Group of Five or Community Sponsor can submit an application without a document proving recognized refugee status.

The principal applicant MUST already have refugee status. Having refugee status means that an authorized body has determined that an individual meets its refugee definition. This authorized body can either be the UNHCR or the government of the country (i.e., foreign state) where the asylum seeker is currently living.

A document proving recognized refugee status that has been issued by the UNHCR or a foreign state must accompany the refugee sponsorship application submitted to the Centralized Processing Office in Winnipeg.

Principal applicants without refugee status recognized by the UNHCR or a foreign state can only be sponsored by a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH).

Determine your eligibility

Find out if you are eligible to sponsor a refugee as a Group of five.


Follow the steps to apply to sponsor a refugee as a Group of five.

Check processing times

Find out how long it will take CIC to process your application.

After you apply: get next steps

Find out what you should do after you apply to sponsor a refugee.

Are you in Quebec?

Quebec has its own process to sponsor refugees. Find more about refugee sponsorship in Quebec.

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