WRITING THE APPLICATION
STEP FOUR:

THE REST OF THE
DOCUMENTS

What's involved

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. You’re well over the hump of the halfway point, past the tough stage of writing the life story and the core applicationand putting together the supporting documents. Much of the work from this point forward is mostly clerical. So yes: if you’ve ever taken a weird, nerdy pleasure from using Photoshop or office equipment like printers and scanners, you’ve come to the right place!

That said, an application can be rejected for missing a single simple document. So stay alert!

The pieces of the puzzle

As we’ll see in the next and final post in this series – ‘finalizing and sending‘ – a complete application comes in seven parts. These are…

  • IMM0008 Signature Page – this is the back page of ‘Generic’

  • IMM0008– this is “Generic’

  • Schedules – these are Schedule A and Schedule 2 combined

  • Supporting Documentation – these are mostly IDs and translations

  • Refugee Photo – see below on how this should look

  • Sponsor Documents – these are the files relating to the sponsors and settlement team\

  • Proof of funds – this shows where the money is stored and how you got it

Since we’ve already tackled the first four bullet points, let’s go onto the next…

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. You’re well over the hump of the halfway point, past the tough stage of writing the life story and the core applicationand putting together the supporting documents. Much of the work from this point forward is mostly clerical. So yes: if you’ve ever taken a weird, nerdy pleasure from using Photoshop or office equipment like printers and scanners, you’ve come to the right place!

That said, an application can be rejected for missing a single simple document. So stay alert!

Refugee photo

You will need a passport-style picture for everyone on the application, even the children. Here are the specs.

If you're mailing the package, the images must be stamped, signed and dated by the photo studio.

Of course it's not always possible to get a professional headshot. (Like when you're living in refugee jail, for example). In that case we usually ask the person to take a picture against a white wall, and use Photoshop to crop it to the right size, make the background properly white, and get rid of any extra shadows. (This only works for emailed applications.)

Then use Photoshop to put the image on a white or off-white background on a PDF that measures 8.5 x 11" in size. Add the person's name - centred - and their date of birth below their image.

Sponsor documents - the settlement plan

One of the biggest things that Canadian immigration wants to know when assessing an application, is the legitimacy and capability of the settlement team. The point is to make sure that the refugees will be properly cared for when they arrive in Canada, and for the first year after that. The sponsor documents required to establish this are:

Note that in recent months, Group of Five applications are getting approved faster than CS submissions. Even though the G5 route requires more upfront paperwork, it may be the better way to go.

The settlement plan and undertaking really involve a lot of careful thought. You're probably smart to look at a successful settlement plan / undertaking that someone else has written, and use that as your inspiration.

For the financials section of the settlement plan, use this handy RSTP costs table to get the basic numbers right.

The rest of the settlement plan is there to help you prove that you have your s*** together when it comes to helping the newcomer get settled. That includes stating who on your team is taking on which settlement responsibilities, and which local organizations you will use if needed.

Section D, Question 3 (on the G5 settlement plan): As sponsors, you must plan and make arrangements for any additional needs of the refugee(s)....

This question is important! One very important - and often overlooked - thing you should add here: briefly list the members of your settlement team, what they do in life ('retired teacher') and how they are uniquely suited for taking on settlement duties ('strong experience in accounting and the banking sector').

Also how you know the refugee, and how you involved the refugee in the settlement planning. "Person X has indicated they prefer to live in this neighbourhood, since it is close to a cultural centre for his community / soccer pitch / settlement services.

The immigration officer reading your file wants to know that you have a real connection to the person you're sponsoring - and have the capacity to settle them.

Bonus tip: You are more than welcome to use settlement and career services to help the person you're sponsoring. You are not expected to do it all yourself!

Sponsor documents - for the individual co-sponsors

As part of the sponsor package, there are the documents that the individual team members need to fill out. These are the standard docs:

  • The sponsor assessment: A simple form listing your name and a checklist establishing that you aren't a murderer. Make sure you type this out (rather than using handwriting), sign it and scan it.

  • Passport or PR card: Yes, you can sponsor someone with just a PR card - no passport needed - as long as you're not in the first year of your own sponsorship to Canada. Aim for a clear scan on a white background.

  • Police check: These are fairly easy to order and pay for. In Toronto they look like this- and note that you just need 'level one'. Starting in the COVID-19 era, they began mailing these out instead of asking you to pick them up at the local police station.

Bonus tip: If you're filling out a Use of Representative form to submit the application on behalf of someone else's sponsor team, also include a copy of your passport or PR card. This is a requirement as of March 2021!

If you're going with a Group of Five sponsorship, you'll need one of these identifying documents - sponsor assessment, ID, police check - for each member of the settlement team. With a CS application, just the head of the organization and two co-sponsors need to submit the documents.

With an SAH, it can vary, depending on what the organization prefers. There's a range!

Proof of Funds

The objective here is to establish where the money for your sponsorship came from. The main worries that Canadian immigration has is that the refugee is paying for their own application (which would be buying their way into the system) or that they are being funded by nefarious sources.

A typical 'proof of funds' section, therefore, includes:

  • A letter of explanation of where the money came from. "The money for Person X was transferred on Y date from ...

  • Within the letter or separate from it, you can include snippet or screen grab of the money transfer in the bank account. You can also include a scan of the cheque, if the money was delivered that way.

  • If the money was raised through crowdfunding, include the URL as well as a spreadsheet of every donor and every gift - even the dates if you have it. Yes, it's a lot of work but it's required these days.

  • Because Immigration is now looking closely at crowdfunding campaigns, make sure you keep yours online, even when it's completed. And record every gift on the GoFundMe - including the offline gifts - as a handy way for you to keep track. You will need to list the names of all your donors and how much they contributed on the 'funds explanation letter'.

If it’s a G5 or CS application, you’ll also need:

  • A bank letter – written by the bank itself – stating that the money is being held in a secure account.


The letter should have the following details:

    • the name of the Canadian financial institution

    • the names of the account holders (minimum of two)

    • the account number

    • the current account balance

    • must be signed and stamped by an employee of the institution


You should also provide all the account statements since the account was opened, signed and stamped by an employee of the financial institution. The statement must indicate the account number, account holders’ names and branch information.


Search "Proof of Funds" on this Immigration website to find out more.

Bonus tip: Many banks do not know how to set up one of these accounts, which are ‘joint personal deposit account as an informal trust”‘ – that is, not business accounts. So bring a copy of this letter to give them an idea.

When you set up the account, ask them to put a lock on it, so you don't accidentally withdraw or deposit extra funds into it. You shouldn't touch the account (and certainly don't withdraw even a penny from it!) until your sponsored people arrive.

If it’s a G5 and one of the five members donated to the campaign, you’ll have to submit a financial profile and a tax assessment or T4 for that person.

If it’s a CS or SAH application, you’ll also need:

  • The audited financials of the sponsoring organization.

Asleep yet? Take a rest before moving on to our next post. Thankfully, the last one.