So You’ve Decided to Sponsor a Refugee – What’s Next?

  1. How do I find someone to sponsor?

There are several paths to identifying refugees in need of sponsorship.  There are government lists, family or friend referrals, and direct online requests from refugees.  There are many things to consider when choosing the right person or family to sponsor and this is an area where the CUC can help in your search, so please email for information.

  1. How much will it cost?

We have calculated a simple formula that we believe is a realistic calculation for 1 year of required sponsorship support.  Please check Financial guidelines for the most up to date estimates.

  1. What is the overall time commitment to sponsor a refugee?

It can take between 3 months and 2 years to sponsor a refugee.  When sponsoring from a government list, visa-office referred, things may happen very quickly since much of the overseas processing is already approved.

Sponsor-referred cases can take longer, although they are currently being processed within 90 days of receipt. The second stage, overseas processing, is estimated at 4-8 months but may take longer, leading to wait times of up to 2 years. However, with the Canadian government’s commitment to bring 25,000 refugees to Canada, guidelines are constantly changing. Please check back to the CUC’s Refugee Sponsorship page frequently for updates.

  1. Once a refugee arrives…?

Once a refugee arrives in Canada, our commitment to them is for 1 year of support.  Some examples of support required include assistance with medical appointments, banking and legal documents, language support, school registration, as well as being a source of information and support for newcomers.  You will find support from local Settlement Agencies to assist your group with these challenges.

  1. Are other UUs doing this?

As of December 1, 2015, more than 23 UU congregations are in the process of sponsoring refugees!  There are also collaborative efforts among UU congregations and outside Sponsorship Groups that you may be interested in joining.

  1. What is the CUC’s role?

The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH).  This is one of the many ways we represent our member congregations at a national level.  This Agreement allows the CUC to authorize our congregations to sponsor refugees under its agreement.  For more information please see our Refugee Sponsorship page.

If you want to begin looking at the refugee sponsorship application process, you can find the Application Guide on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.  The application process is quite lengthy, so be sure to contact the CUC’s Social Justice Coordinator at for support as you begin your journey towards bringing a refugee or a refugee family to Canada.