Groups of five – Sponsoring refugees

The temporary public policy for Groups of Five and Community Sponsors interested in sponsoring a Syrian or Iraqi refugee in 2017 is closed. Learn more.

Information bulletins

Resettlement in Canada for privately sponsored refugees

This bulletin provides information about the next steps in the application process, and gives you more information about Canada. (Available in 11 languages)

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.

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).

For more information, see the Guide to the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.

A note for privately sponsored refugees

Being a privately sponsored refugee means that a group of people in Canada have volunteered to help you adjust to life in Canada. Your sponsorship group has made a commitment to support you for one year after you arrive or until you become financially independent, whichever comes first. Your sponsor is responsible for providing you with this support. You do not need to pay your sponsor for the costs of helping you settle in Canada.

Determine your eligibility

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


There are three steps to apply to become a G5 sponsor:

  1. Get the application package
  2. Decide if you want to request a refugee profile
  3. Submit your application

Find out more about the steps to apply to sponsor a refugee as a Group of five.

Check processing times

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

After you apply: get next steps

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

If your address or telephone number changes after you submit your application, you must notify us. Use this Web form.

Are you in Quebec?

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

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