Canada: Change to Definition of Dependent Child

Effective October 24, 2017, the maximum age of a dependent child has increased from less than 19 years of age to less than 22 years of age for all immigration applications.

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Oct 25, 2017
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The situation
Maximum age of a dependent child increased

A closer look
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has implemented a new definition of a dependent child on October 24, 2017, which increases the age of dependents from age 19 to under 22 for children who are not married or in a common-law relationship. 

  • Immigration applications affected. The new definition applies to children included on all Canadian immigration applications, including work permit applications and applications for permanent residence through the economic, family and refugee/humanitarian programs.
  • Children considered dependents.   Children of applicants who are 22 or older, and who have depended substantially on the financial support of a parent since before attaining the age of 22 and who are unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition are also included in the new definition of a dependent child. 
  • Children not considered dependents. Children under the age of 22 who are married or in a common-law relationship are excluded from the definition of a dependent child.  
  • Benefits. Foreign nationals can now include their eligible dependents in the main applicant's visa application, which eliminates the need for the dependent to file an independent application for temporary or permanent resident status in Canada.  
  • Background. In August 2014, the definition of a dependent child was limited to children under the age of 19 at the time of filing an immigration application. Today's change marks a return to a broader definition of a dependent child, which includes children who are less than 22 years of age and unmarried at the time of filing. This is a long-awaited return to a more expansive definition of family.

The government has confirmed that this change is effective today, as opposed to a previous announcement stating otherwise.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to canada@fragomen.com

© 2017 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

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