Guide to the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program

2. Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program

2.10 What is a non-accompanying family member and the One Year Window of Opportunity?

Non-accompanying family members are spouses and dependent children of the principal applicant who have been separated from the family unit and will not be travelling with the rest of the family. De facto dependants (see definition below) cannot be identified as non-accompanying family members.

If separated family members submit an application for permanent residence to a visa office within one year of the principal applicant’s arrival in Canada, they will be processed on an expedited basis as part of the same application. In order to qualify, the principal applicant must identify the non-accompanying family member on the IMM 0008 application before departing for Canada. If the application is submitted after the one-year period has expired, the family member will not benefit from the provisions of the One Year Window of Opportunity.

Sponsoring groups should include separated family members on the undertaking and should also ensure that the principal applicant identifies them on the IMM 0008 application as non-accompanying family members. Family members who are not identified on the IMM 0008 application will not be eligible for the One Year Window of Opportunity or for sponsorship under the Family Class at a later date.

When a non-accompanying family member is located, the sponsor or family member in Canada should notify the CPO-W, so that it may inform the visa office. To expedite processing, the family member in Canada can send the IMM 6000 application to the family members abroad and advise them to complete the application forms and gather supporting documents. They need to indicate on their application (by checking the appropriate box at the top of page 1 of Schedule 2) that they are applying under the “One Year Window” program.

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