Change to age of dependants – find out if your application is affected

Canada’s definition of a dependent child, for the purposes of Immigration, has changed. As of August 1, 2014, only children under 19 years of age are eligible as dependants. The former definition allowed children under 22 years of age to be eligible as dependants.

The new definition applies to immigration applications received on or after August 1, 2014.

Full-time students, 19 years of age or older, are no longer considered dependants.

Applicants 19 years of age or older can apply to come to Canada as foreign students or through other immigration programs.

Children are considered dependants, regardless of age, if they:

  • have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 19, and
  • are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition.

Multiple-step immigration programs

Some immigration programs are completed in multiple steps. The new definition may not apply to applicants of those programs if they completed the first step of their program before August 1, 2014.

For multi-step programs, a child’s age is locked in as follows:

  • Applications received before August 1, 2014 (with some exceptions)
    • Your child’s age is locked in when CIC receives your application for permanent residence.
    • To be eligible for processing as a dependant, your child must meet the terms of the former definition at the time CIC receives your application for permanent residence.
  • Applications received on or after August 1, 2014
    • Your child’s age is locked in at the first step of the immigration process (as described in each program).

Will your application be affected?

Select your immigration program from the list below to find out if you are affected by this change.

Note: You need to know if your application has been received to use this tool. Visit How can I check if my application has been received and Check your application status for more information. Additional details are included under each program.

This web tool is only a guide. A Citizenship and Immigration Canada officer will review your case and application in detail. Final decisions about dependent children will rest with the CIC officer.

The new definition does not apply if Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) received your complete application for permanent residence before August 1, 2014. CIC will process your application for permanent residence under the former definition for dependent children. Your child’s age was locked in on the date CIC received your permanent residence application. To be eligible for processing as a dependant, your child must meet the former definition at the time CIC received your application for permanent residence.

Note: Not sure if your application has been received? Visit How can I check if my application has been received and Check your application status for more information.

Individuals who are not eligible as dependent children may qualify to apply for permanent residence on their own.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition applies if Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) receives your complete application on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or older are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives your permanent residence application.

Note: Not sure if your application has been received? Visit How can I check if my application has been received and Check your application status for more information.

Individuals who are not eligible as dependent children may qualify to apply for permanent residence on their own.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition does not apply if Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) received your referral for refugee resettlement before August 1, 2014. CIC will process your application for permanent residence under the former definition for dependent children. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives your permanent residence application. To be eligible for processing as a dependant, your child must meet the former definition at the time CIC receives your application for permanent residence.

Note: Not sure if your application has been received? Contact your refugee referral organization for details about your referral.

If your child is not with you when you come to Canada, he or she has one year to apply for permanent residence. This program is called the One-Year Window Program (under 141(1)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations). In this case:

  • The new definition does not apply if CIC received your original referral for resettlement before August 1, 2014. CIC will process the application for permanent residence under the former definition for dependent children. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives your application for permanent residence.
  • The new definition applies if CIC receives your original referral for resettlement on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or over are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives your referral.

Individuals who do not qualify as dependent children can still apply for resettlement as a refugee on their own. CIC will assess their eligibility as a refugee, and if approved, will resettle the person with their family.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition applies if Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) receives your referral for refugee resettlement on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or over are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives the referral.

Note: Not sure if your application has been received? Contact your refugee referral organization for details about your referral.

If your child is not with you when you come to Canada, he or she has one year to apply for permanent residence. This program is called the One-Year Window Program (under 141(1)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations). In this case:

  • The new definition applies if CIC receives your original referral for resettlement on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or over are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives your referral.

Individuals who do not qualify as dependent children can still apply for resettlement as a refugee on their own. CIC will assess their eligibility as a refugee and, if approved, will resettle the person with their family.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition does not apply if Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) approved your first application for a live-in caregiver work permit before August 1, 2014. CIC will process your application for permanent residence under the former definition for dependent children. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives your permanent residence application. To be eligible for processing as a dependant, your child must meet the former definition at the time CIC receives your application for permanent residence.

Individuals who are not eligible as dependent children may qualify to apply for permanent residence on their own.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition applies if CIC receives your first application for a live-in caregiver work permit on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or over are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives your application for a live-in caregiver work permit.

Individuals who are not eligible as dependent children may qualify to apply for permanent residence on their own.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition does not apply if Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) received the parent or grandparent sponsorship application before August 1, 2014. Your child’s age was locked in on the date CIC received the sponsorship application. To be eligible for processing as a dependant, your child must meet the former definition at the time CIC receives a sponsorship application on your behalf.

Note: Not sure if your application has been received? Visit How can I check if my application has been received and Check your application status for more information.

Individuals who are not eligible as dependent children may qualify to apply for permanent residence on their own.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition applies if Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) receives the parent or grandparent sponsorship application on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or over are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives the application for permanent residence.

Note: Not sure if your application has been received? Visit How can I check if my application has been received and Check your application status for more information.

Individuals who are not eligible as dependent children may qualify to apply for permanent residence on their own.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition does not apply if Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) received the complete application (sponsorship and permanent residence applications) from your group or community sponsor before August 1, 2014. CIC will process your application for permanent residence under the former definition for dependent children. Your child’s age was locked in on the date CIC received your complete application. To be eligible for processing as a dependant, your child must meet the former definition at the time CIC receives your application for permanent residence.

Note: Not sure if your application has been received? Visit How can I check if my application has been received and Check your application status for more information.

If your child is not with you when you come to Canada, he or she has one year to apply for permanent residence. This program is called the One-Year Window Program (under 141(1)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations). In that case:

  • The new definition does not apply if CIC received the original complete application before August 1, 2014. CIC will process the application for permanent residence under the former definition for dependent children. Your child’s age was locked in on the date CIC received your complete application.
  • The new definition applies if CIC receives the original complete application on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or over are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives the complete application.

Individuals who do not qualify as dependent children can still be sponsored and apply for resettlement as a refugee on their own. CIC will assess the child’s eligibility as a refugee and, if approved, will resettle the person with their family.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition applies if Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) receives the complete application from your group or community sponsor on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or over are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives the complete application.

Note: Not sure if your application has been received? Visit How can I check if my application has been received and Check your application status for more information.

If your child was not with you when you came to Canada, he or she has one year to apply for permanent residence. This program is called the One-Year Window Program (under 141(1)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations). In this case:

  • The new definition applies if CIC receives the original complete application on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or over are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives the complete application.

Individuals who do not qualify as dependent children can still be sponsored and apply for resettlement as a refugee on their own. CIC will assess the child’s eligibility as a refugee and, if approved, will resettle the person with their family.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition does not apply if the province or territory received your nomination application before August 1, 2014. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will process your application for permanent residence under the former definition for dependent children. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives your permanent residence application. To be eligible for processing as a dependant, your child must meet the former definition at the time CIC receives your application for permanent residence.

Note: Contact your province or territory, or refer to your provincial nomination certificate, to find out when your application for nomination was received.

Individuals who are not eligible as dependent children may qualify to apply for permanent residence on their own.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition applies if the province or territory receives your nomination application on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or over are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date the province or territory receives the nomination application.

Note: Contact your province or territory, or refer to your provincial nomination certificate, to find out when your application for nomination was received.

Individuals who are not eligible as dependent children may qualify to apply for permanent residence on their own.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition does not apply if your situation was examined by the minister before August 1, 2014. Applications are examined under a public policy for persons in a refugee-like situation (under 25.2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act). Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will process your application for permanent residence under the former definition for dependent children. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives your application for permanent residence unless otherwise specified in the public policy. To be eligible for processing as a dependant, your child must meet the former definition at the time CIC receives your application for permanent residence.

Note: Not sure if your application has been received? Visit How can I check if my application has been received and Check your application status for more information.

Individuals who are not eligible as dependent children may qualify to apply for permanent residence on their own.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition applies if your situation was examined by the minister on or after August 1, 2014. Applications are examined under a public policy for persons in a refugee-like situation (under 25.2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act). Children 19 years of age or over are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives the application for permanent residence, unless otherwise specified in the public policy.

Note: Not sure if your application has been received? Visit How can I check if my application has been received and Check your application status for more information.

Individuals who are not eligible as dependent children may qualify to apply for permanent residence on their own.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition does not apply if the province of Quebec received the sponsorship undertaking application before August 1, 2014. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will process your application for permanent residence under the former definition for dependent children. Your child's age is locked in on the date the province of Quebec receives the sponsorship undertaking. To be eligible for processing as a dependant, your child must meet the former definition at the time CIC receives your application for permanent residence.

If your child is not with you when you come to Canada, he or she has one year to apply for permanent residence. This program is called the One-Year Window Program (under 141(1)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations). In that case:

  • The new definition does not apply if the province of Quebec received the sponsorship undertaking before August 1, 2014. CIC will process your application for permanent residence under the former definition for dependent children. Your child's age is locked in on the date Quebec receives the sponsorship undertaking.
  • The new definition applies if the province of Quebec receives the sponsorship undertaking on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or over are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child's age is locked in on the date the province of Quebec receives the sponsorship undertaking.

Note: If your undertaking sponsorship is accepted, the province of Quebec will send a copy back to your sponsor, with the date the application was received. For more questions or to make sure the application was received, call the Client contact centre at:

  • Montréal area: 514-864-9191
  • Elsewhere in Quebec (toll-free): 1-877-864-9191
  • Outside Quebec: 1-514-864-9191

Individuals who do not qualify as dependent children can still be sponsored and apply for resettlement as a refugee on their own. CIC will assess the child’s eligibility as a refugee, and if approved, will resettle the person with their family.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition applies if the province of Quebec receives your sponsorship undertaking application on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or over are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date the province of Quebec receives your sponsorship undertaking.

If your child is not with you when you come to Canada, he or she has one year to apply for permanent residence. This program is called the One-Year Window Program (under 141(1)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations). In this case:

  • The new definition applies if the province of Quebec receives your sponsorship undertaking on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or over are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date the province of Quebec receives your sponsorship undertaking.

Note: If your undertaking sponsorship is accepted, the province of Quebec will send a copy back to your sponsor, with the date the application was received. For more questions or to make sure the application was received, call the Client contact centre at:

  • Montréal area: 514-864-9191
  • Elsewhere in Quebec (toll-free): 1-877-864-9191
  • Outside Quebec: 1-514-864-9191

Individuals who do not qualify as dependent children can still be sponsored and apply for resettlement as a refugee on their own. CIC will assess the child’s eligibility as a refugee, and if approved, will resettle the person with their family.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition does not apply if the province of Quebec received your application for a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) before August 1, 2014. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will process your application for permanent residence under the former definition for dependent children. Your child’s age was locked in on the date the province of Quebec received your application for a CSQ.

Note: Not sure if your applications for a CSQ was received? Call the Client contact centre at one of the following numbers:

  • Montréal area: 514-864-9191
  • Elsewhere in Quebec (toll-free): 1-877-864-9191
  • Outside Quebec: 1-514-864-9191

Individuals who are not eligible as dependent children may qualify to apply for permanent residence on their own.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition applies if the province of Quebec receives your application for a Certificat de sélection du Québec on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or over will not be eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date the province of Quebec receives your application for a CSQ.

Note: Not sure if your applications for a CSQ was received? Call the Client contact centre at one of the following numbers:

  • Montréal area: 514-864-9191
  • Elsewhere in Quebec (toll-free): 1-877-864-9191
  • Outside Quebec: 1-514-864-9191

Individuals who are not eligible as dependent children may qualify to apply for permanent residence on their own.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition does not apply if Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) or the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) received your claim for refugee protection in Canada before August 1, 2014. CIC will process your application for permanent residence under the former definition for dependent children. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives your application for permanent residence. To be eligible for processing as a dependant, your child must meet the former definition at the time CIC receives your application for permanent residence.

Note: This information applies if you become a protected person and apply for permanent residence if:

  • your refugee claim is heard and approved by the Immigration and Refugee Board, or
  • your refugee claim is not approved, but you apply for a Pre-removal risk assessment, and it is approved.

Individuals who are not eligible as dependent children may qualify to apply for permanent residence on their own.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application for permanent residence. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

The new definition applies if Citizenship and Immigration Canada or the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) receives your claim for refugee protection in Canada on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or over are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC or the CBSA receives your claim for refugee protection.

Note: This information applies if you become a protected person and apply for permanent residence if:

  • your refugee claim is heard and approved by the Immigration Refugee Board, or
  • you apply for a Pre-removal risk assessment, and it is approved.

Protected persons who never made a refugee claim:

The new definition does not apply if CIC received your application for permanent residence as a protected person before August 1, 2014. CIC will process your application for permanent residence under the former definition for dependent children. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives your application for permanent residence. To be eligible for processing as a dependant, your child must meet the former definition at the time CIC receives your application for permanent residence.

The new definition applies if CIC receives your application for permanent residence as a protected person on or after August 1, 2014. Children 19 years of age or over are not eligible as dependants unless they depend on a parent financially because of a physical or mental condition. Your child’s age is locked in on the date CIC receives your application for permanent residence.

Individuals who are not eligible as dependent children may qualify to apply for permanent residence on their own.

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt letter once CIC receives your application for permanent residence. This letter does not confirm your child’s eligibility as a dependant. Refer to the application package for your immigration program for details about your child’s eligibility. Processing fees for ineligible dependants will not be refunded.

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