Assessment of applications for overseas dependants
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
Applicants must declare all family members, whether accompanying or not, on their application for permanent residence. All family members who are in Canada or abroad must be examined as required by the Act. Failure of the principal applicant to declare all family members on the application for permanent residence may result in the applicant not being able to sponsor these family members in the future. The PA could be reported under A44(1), and may be refused for “Misrepresentation”.
Note: Assessments for non-accompanying overseas family members of in Canada H&C applicants are initiated and completed in Canada
On this page
- Verifying the relationship of the overseas family members
- Medical examinations
- Criminal and security check requirements
- A44(1) reports
- Inadmissible family member
- Learn more
Verifying the relationship of the overseas family members
The CPC or in Canada IRCC must assess the principle applicant and the overseas dependent in order to confirm their identity and verify the relationship between the in-Canada applicant and overseas family members and determine if they meet the program eligibility requirements. Verifying the relationship between the in-Canada applicant and overseas family members is a shared responsibility between the in-Canada office (CPC and in Canada IRCC) and the overseas migration office. For most applications the PA will include documentation such as a birth certificate, baptismal certificate or a marriage certificate as proof of relationship. If there is no documentary proof of relationship or the processing office has concerns regarding the documentation submitted, the officer should contact the applicant and request additional documentation to satisfy proof of relationship. If the officer is not satisfied they should request assistance from the overseas migration office. Often, the required documents are overseas with the family members, making it more expedient for the overseas migration office to assist in verifying the relationships.
The CPC or in Canada IRCC may request assistance in verifying the legitimacy of the documents or, if a temporary resident visa has been issued, seek information regarding details provided on the temporary resident visa application form or during an interview at the overseas migration office.
When the CPC or in Canada IRCC has assessed and approved the PA against the program eligibility requirements but is not satisfied of the relationship with the overseas dependents it may refer the application to the overseas migration office with a request to verify the relationship of the overseas family members by creating a verification activity in GCMS and assigning it to the responsible overseas migration office. Confirmation of the relationship, or any concerns the overseas office may have, must be communicated to the CPC or the in Canada IRCC office processing the application by completing the inter-office verification in GCMS.
Note: in reviewing the eligibility and admissibility of overseas family members of in-Canada refugee applicants, migration offices may wish to review the principal applicant’s Basis of Claim form (BOC) (in GCMS).
Spouse or common-law partner and dependent children
All applicants must list their spouse or common-law partner and dependent children on the application and indicate if they are applying for permanent residence and will join the applicant in Canada if permanent resident status is granted.
Accompanying spouse, common-law partner or dependent children are those listed on the application who are applying for permanent residence and: reside in Canada; or reside outside Canada but will join the applicant if permanent resident status is granted. The spouse or common-law partner and all dependent children must be examined for admissibility (i.e., medical, security and criminality), whether or not they are accompanying.
Ineligible family members
Should an officer determine that a claimed family member is ineligible (e.g., a child over 22 years of age or the child is under 22 but is married or in a common-law relationship) the in-Canada applicant must be informed of the findings and must be advised that they have an opportunity to provide more information (procedural fairness), or to apply for a refund of the right of permanent residence fee for the ineligible applicant, if it has already been paid. If the officer still believes that the spouse or dependent child is ineligible by the deadline, the officer should remove the ineligible spouse or dependent child and continue to assess the admissibility of the remaining family members. The officer must send a removal letter to the PA and the dependent explaining why the ineligible family member can no longer be included in the application and cannot be issued travel documents. Ineligible applicants are not required to be examined for admissibility.
Removal of a family member from the application
Protected persons may request to remove a family member from the application. The PA may choose to sponsor the family member at a later date as a member of the family class provided they still meet the definition of dependent.
If protected persons wish to remove a family member from their application, they may do so at any time up to the point of visa issuance. Because permanent separation may result, the CPC or the in Canada IRCC must ask the PA to sign a statutory declaration acknowledging this possibility. The PA will be asked to sign if, for instance, the family member cannot be located and therefore cannot be examined. Once protected persons become permanent residents, they may apply to sponsor their family members (in the family class) who were declared but not included in their application for permanent residence—provided that the family members still meet the definition of member of the family class. The eligibility of a family member, particularly a child of the protected person, to be sponsored as a member of the family class will depend on the statutory and regulatory requirements in force when that sponsorship occurs.
With the exception of protected persons the PA cannot request that dependents be removed from their application. They may change the family member from accompanying to non-accompanying however that family member must still be examined and meet all admissibility requirements.
Adding a family member to the application
During processing, a principal applicant can add a new family member as a dependant, such as a newborn child or, they may request that a family member originally declared as non-accompanying be included as accompanying. The processing office should ensure:
- the dependant is added to the sponsorship application if the PA is being sponsored;
- the applicable processing fee for the dependant is collected;
- issue instructions for the medical examination to the additional dependant.
Do not approve the principal applicant and any accompanying dependants on the original application for permanent residence until all applicants have met the necessary requirements, and any applicable additional fees have been paid and if there is a sponsorship application it has been confirmed that the sponsor is still eligible.
All applicants and family members (whether accompanying or not) must complete an immigration medical examination (IME). The CPC is responsible for sending medical instructions to all applicants and overseas family members including medical procedural fairness letters and decision making. Failure to undergo or pass a medical examination may result in the refusal of the application. The medical inadmissibility of a family member may render the principal applicant in Canada inadmissible.
Spouse or common-law partner class
The principal applicant and dependent children of in-Canada spouse or common-law partner class applicants are not inadmissible on the grounds of excessive demand on health or social services. The CPC or in Canada IRCC is responsible for informing the principal applicant if a dependent child does not pass medical examinations on other grounds.
Live-in Caregiver Class
Foreign nationals who have applied for permanent resident status and are members of the live-in caregiver class are exempt from the requirement to submit to a medical examination unless there is reason to believe that the live-in caregiver has a health condition that may endanger public health or safety [R30(1)(a)(iv)].
However family members in Canada or overseas must complete and pass a medical examination as part of a live-in caregiver’s application for permanent residence.
Family members of protected persons are required to undergo a medical examination. The medical examination is both for the purpose of determining whether the family members are medically inadmissible pursuant to and for the purpose of identifying medical conditions that may be covered by A38(1)(c), so that treatment can occur. Protected persons, and their family members in Canada and abroad, can be granted permanent residence even if they have a medical condition within the scope of A38(1)(c). Protected persons and their family members may not be granted permanent resident status if they are found to be medically inadmissible under A38(1)(a) or A38(1)(b) because of a medical condition which renders them a danger to public health or safety. The application with respect to a family member is to be refused. If a family member does not pass the medical examination, this information must be communicated to the CPC, which is responsible for informing the principal applicant. Conditions may be imposed in some instances.
Criminal and security check requirements
Except in a few limited situations, an inadmissible family member, whether accompanying or not, inside or outside of Canada, renders the principal applicant inadmissible as per A42. Overseas family members are required to undergo background and criminal checks as a prerequisite to approving the principal applicant for permanent residence in Canada
Applicants and dependent children 18 years of age or over may be requested to provide police certificates for every country they have lived in for six months in a row since the age of 18. Applications will be refused by the IRCC office processing the application if the applicant or any spouse or common-law partner or any dependent child is inadmissible for criminality/security reasons. The overseas migration office should inform the responsible in Canada IRCC of any information which would render them inadmissible for criminality for family members being processed abroad. This will be done via case notes, which the in-Canada office will be triggered to review once the inter-office verification activity is closed.
Police certificates, clearances, or records of non-conviction are required for all applicants 18 years of age and over for both the country
- of residence before coming to Canada (unless this was the country of persecution), if the applicant has resided there for 6 months or more
- where the applicant has spent most of their adult life since the age of 18 (unless this was the country of persecution)
For additional information on police certificates for protected persons consult the Program Delivery Instructions for protected persons – admissibility.
If an officer, either in Canada or at an overseas migration office, uncovers information that could lead to an A44(1) report, the officer should contact the CPC or the in Canada IRCC office processing the application. Staff there will transfer the application to an in Canada IRCC for investigation. The in Canada IRCC should keep the CPC and the overseas migration office informed of developments on the A44(1) report and make every effort to have a decision on the report rendered as soon as possible.
Inadmissible family member
General to IRCC’s immigration programs, the PA and other family members would be deemed inadmissible if any family member is found inadmissible due to security or criminality. However, protected persons are exempt from being found inadmissible on grounds that a family member is determined to be inadmissible. DR2s who are inadmissible may be refused despite the granting of permanent resident status to the principal applicant in Canada. The inadmissible family member does not have to be “removed” from the application of the protected person in Canada. The protected person is not inadmissible by reason of an inadmissible included family member. R176(3) stipulates that the applicable grounds for inadmissibility for family members of protected persons are those cited in A21(2), i.e., A34 or A35, A36(1) or A37 or A38). Misrepresentation, A40 cannot be used as a basis for the refusal of DR2 family members of protected persons. A40 is not included in the grounds for inadmissibility of family members of protected persons cited in A21(2), as per R176(3). Where material misrepresentation occurs and concerns a non bona fide relationship or the identity of the family member (e.g., marriage of convenience, adoption of convenience, misrepresentation of marriage records or of a child’s birth records, etc.), then the family member should be refused not as per A40, but as per R176(1) and R176(3). If a family member for whom permanent residence is sought is inadmissible under A21(2), the visa office must ensure that procedural fairness is respected and inform the family member of the concerns so as to permit the family member to respond (whether in person at an interview or in writing). If no additional information is submitted, or if the new information submitted does not change the inadmissibility assessment, then the family member should be refused and removed from the application at the visa office. Processing of the remaining eligible and admissible family members can continue.
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