Child sponsorship is possible where a parent is in Canada and has custody of a child residing abroad but is limited to those dependent children under the age of twenty-two (22).
Age and level of dependency
As of October 24, 2017, to meet paragraph (b) of the definition of “dependent child” under section R2, a child must be in one of the following situations:
- under 22 years of age and not a spouse or common-law partner
- 22 years of age or older, have depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 22 and be unable to support themselves financially due to a physical or mental condition (it is the financial dependency that must have been ongoing since before the age of 22. It is not necessary for the physical or mental condition to have existed before the age of 22.)
Dependent children who do not have a physical or mental condition must remain unmarried and not in a commonlaw relationship for the duration of processing, up until the point of becoming a permanent resident.
In regards to civil status, a dependent who is single, divorced or widowed, whose marriage has been annulled or who is no longer in a common-law relationship at the time of the initial receipt of the application is considered to meet the definition of a dependent child and must continue to meet the definition of a dependent child for the duration of processing.
Relationship between a parent and a dependent child
A dependent child is either a biological child or an adopted child of a parent [R2(a)]. The term “biological child” has been interpreted to include children in any one of the following situations:
- was born to the parent making the application
- is not genetically related to the parent making the application, but was born to the person who, at the time of the birth of the child, was that parent's spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner
- was born through the application of assisted human reproduction technologies
Acceptable proof of a biological relationship between a child and a parent is a birth certificate or baptismal certificate.
Lock-in age of dependent children for immigration applications
The age of a dependent child, accompanying or non-accompanying, is locked in on the application’s received date. For family class applications, the age of a dependent child is locked in on the date of receipt of the principal applicant’s complete permanent residence application. A child who is less than 22 years of age and not a spouse or common-law partner at the time of “age lock-in” continues to be a dependent child even if they turn 22 during the processing of the application, as long as they are still unmarried and not in a common-law relationship when permanent residence is confirmed. A child who is 22 or over and dependent on their parent(s) due to a physical or mental condition is eligible to be processed as a dependent. However, they must continue to be dependent when a final decision is made on the application and when permanent residence in Canada is confirmed.
Custody issues: dependent children
Applicants who have included in their application children who are subject to custody orders must provide proof that they are allowed to remove the children from the area of jurisdiction of the court. The parent or legal guardian overseas must provide written consent for the child to travel to Canada for the purposes of becoming a permanent resident. A court order is acceptable in cases where that person is unwilling to provide consent.
Non-accompanying parents or guardians and former spouses or common-law partners must complete and submit a Declaration from Non-Accompanying Parent/Guardian for Minors Immigrating to Canada form [IMM 5604] (PDF, 609.23KB) for each applicable child. The applicant is expected to make every reasonable effort to contact and obtain written consent from the other parent.
Custodial matters can be complicated, as family law varies from country to country, and should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. As a rule, where no consent is provided by the other parent, the onus is on the applicant to provide evidence that they have sole custody of a dependent and to verify that the non-accompanying parent does not have custody of the child or any objection to the removal of the child from the country of origin.
If the parents share custody of the child, IRCC must usually obtain written confirmation from the other parent that they have no objection to the child being processed for permanent residence in Canada. Where parents share custody of a child pursuant to a written agreement stating that the child is not able to travel to Canada permanently, it is necessary for the original agreement to be amended or replaced with a new agreement allowing the child to come to Canada and live with the parent who is seeking to move here.