Bankruptcy, Sponsorship and Citizenship in Canada

Sponsorship, Bankruptcy, and Citizenship: A Comprehensive Guide for Canadians


The intertwining paths of bankruptcy and immigration laws often create intricate scenarios for many Canadians. Understanding how these two domains intersect is crucial, especially for those intending to sponsor an individual’s immigration to Canada. This article aims to shed light on such complexities.

Understanding Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy, a legal status usually initiated by an individual unable to pay off their debts, has specific implications in the Canadian legal context. The bankruptcy process serves as a means to resolve insolvency issues, providing relief to debtors and ensuring fair treatment to creditors.

Bankruptcy and Sponsorship

A crucial point to note is that an undischarged bankrupt cannot sponsor someone to immigrate to Canada. This restriction applies only until the individual receives a discharge from their bankruptcy. Post-discharge, the individual is eligible to submit a sponsorship application.

Exploring Debt Resolution Options

Debtors have a few options at their disposal to clear their debts and proceed with a sponsorship application:


  • Filing for bankruptcy: This should be the first step, followed by the sponsorship application post-discharge. A first-time bankrupt in Canada can potentially receive a discharge from personal bankruptcy in just nine months. However, this period might extend to 21 months if ‘surplus income’ payments are necessary.
  • Filing a consumer proposal: A consumer proposal is an alternative to bankruptcy that allows you to negotiate a settlement with your creditors. It has no impact on a sponsorship application and helps you avoid declaring bankruptcy. Thus, you can submit your sponsorship application even while the proposal is in effect.
  • Sponsoring first, filing bankruptcy later: Some might choose to sponsor their loved one first and then file for bankruptcy post-completion of the sponsorship application. However, this could mean fending off creditors for an extended period.


Filing a Consumer Proposal Post-Bankruptcy

If you’ve already filed for bankruptcy, you have the option of submitting a consumer proposal. A successful proposal annuls your bankruptcy filing, freeing you to submit a sponsorship application. However, ensure you can financially support the proposal before opting for this route.

Bankruptcy’s Impact on Citizenship Applications

Bankruptcy has no effect on citizenship applications. Whether you have filed for bankruptcy in the past, are currently bankrupt, or are contemplating bankruptcy, you remain eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship.

Bankruptcy and Travel

While bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily restrict your ability to travel, it’s essential to keep your trustee informed about your whereabouts and contact information.

Contacting Authorities

It’s always wise to consult Citizenship & Immigration Canada for the most recent rule updates. Discuss your debt options with a trustee before making any decisions.

Seeking Professional Help

Consider seeking help from a licensed trustee to understand how these laws apply to your specific situations. They can guide you through the options and provide advice on handling debts without jeopardizing citizenship or sponsorship opportunities.


The intersection of bankruptcy and immigration laws can seem daunting, but with the right guidance, you can navigate through it successfully. Remember, you do not have to struggle with debts alone. Seek help, explore your options, and make informed decisions.

Find Your Personal Debt Relief Solution

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are here to help. Get a free assessment of your options.

Discuss options to get out of debt with a trained & licensed debt relief professional.