Program objectives

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Foreign nationals applying for permanent residence while in Canada and falling under the following categories may have their overseas family members processed concurrently:

The purpose of processing family members abroad is to facilitate the reunion in Canada of Canadian permanent residents, Canadian citizens and various in-Canada class applicants with their family members. The processing of family members residing abroad can be done concurrently with applications for permanent residence in Canada in most cases. If the principal applicant (PA) has chosen not to have family members processed concurrently, they can be sponsored as members of the family class after the PA has obtained permanent residence. However, all family members must be listed on the PA’s original application, whether accompanying or not, and must be assessed for eligibility and admissibility.

Note: Family members of a foreign national in Canada who submit an application for humanitarian and compassionate considerations whose family members are outside Canada cannot be processed for permanent resident visas concurrently with the principal applicant in Canada.

Applications for permanent residence made in Canada cannot be converted into applications for a permanent resident visa made outside Canada.

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Family members of the spouse and common-law partner in Canada class

Concurrent processing applies to this class. The spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (SCLP) allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their spouses or common-law partners who live with them in Canada, without the need for them to leave Canada. Sponsored spouses or common-law partners may include their dependent children in the application. Dependent children may be living in Canada or may still be overseas. Spouses or common-law partners in Canada and their sponsors submit a joint application to the Case Processing Centre (CPC), which includes the Application to Sponsor and Undertaking [IMM 1344] and the Application for Permanent Residence.

The CPC is responsible for processing and assessing the Application to Sponsor and Undertaking, the In-Canada Application for Permanent Resident Status for the PA and non-complex permanent resident applications for the overseas dependent. Applications that require an interview or additional processing are processed at an in Canada Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office. The CPC or in Canada IRCC may request that the overseas migration office process the application of the overseas dependents if the case is complex, if specialized knowledge is required or there are concerns regarding fraud, misrepresentation, criminality or security.

Family members of the live-in caregiver class

Persons who come to Canada under the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP) may qualify to apply for permanent residence from within Canada and concurrent processing of family members overseas once they have completed all the requirements to be a member of the class. These requirements include proof of having worked full time as a live-in caregiver for a cumulative period of two years within the first 4 years of arriving in Canada under the program.

Live-in caregivers must submit their application for permanent residence, including all supporting documents and the appropriate fees, to the CPC. The CPC processes the applications for family members in Canada. Some LCP applications are processed at in Canada IRCC offices. However, when there is a great deal of complexity surrounding overseas family members, their files are transferred to the Manila visa office for processing. Applications for dependents of Live-in Caregiver Program Class are referred to as LC2. See Permanent residence applications from live-in caregivers: Application process and who may apply for additional information.

Additional information on permanent residence applications from live-in caregivers and their dependents: Making a positive final decision and granting of permanent residence can be found in the Program Delivery Instruction (PDIs) for Live-in caregivers.

Family members of protected persons

The granting of permanent resident status to protected persons helps fulfill Canada's international legal obligations. Concurrent processing applies to this class. Foreign nationals who have been granted protected person status in Canada are taking the next natural step, which is applying for permanent resident status for themselves and their family members. Once it is determined that a protected person is eligible to apply for permanent residence, their spouse or common-law partner and dependent children in Canada and abroad are also eligible provided that they meet the definition of a “family member.”

Protected persons in Canada submit complete applications for themselves and all their dependent family members (both in Canada and overseas) at the same time through the Permanent Residence Portal or on paper. Once eligibility of the PA is assessed, the primary office will e-transfer the applications in GCMS for overseas dependants to the appropriate overseas migration office, so that the migration office can commence with processing or request applications for permanent residence if they have not yet been submitted. Family members of protected persons living outside Canada listed as accompanying are processed concurrently as DR2s. The PA should provide as much information as possible to enable the overseas migration office to communicate with the dependents. The PA should also encourage the dependents to comply and respond promptly to request for documentation from the overseas migration office.

In keeping with the priority accorded to reuniting immediate family members, IRCC offices should endeavour to complete DR2 case processing within the same time frames as the principal applicant is processed in Canada. Note: The PA in Canada may be granted permanent residence prior to completion of the processing of overseas family members due to the inadmissibility exemption for protected persons under A42 and R23. The PA in Canada may include any or all family members, and only those family members who have been included in the application must be examined. Additional information on the application intake for protected persons submitting an application for permanent residence is available in the Protected Persons PDIs.

Family members of protected temporary residents

This section refers to family members of protected persons who have been issued a temporary resident permit (TRP) to proceed to Canada on an emergency basis because they are at risk. Persons issued a TRP to proceed to Canada as protected temporary residents are then processed in Canada in the protected temporary residents class (PTRC) and coded PTR by the CPC. Under R140, non-accompanying family members of a PTRC class applicant are automatically processed in the same refugee class as the principal applicant under the One-Year Window Provision (OYW) R141(1). The one-year period commences once refugee protection is conferred on the PA [R141(1)(b)]. Overseas migration office GCMS coding should be PTR, as in Canada, unless the visa office had already opened a file for the protected person and their family members in another existing category before the principal applicant proceeded to Canada on a TRP. Note: Protected temporary residents are not the same as members of the permit holder class.

Family members of humanitarian & compassionate applicants in Canada

Applications can be made to remain in Canada based on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds under R66. H&C consideration, under A25(1) and A25.1 of the IRPA, provides the flexibility to grant permanent residence status or a permanent resident visa to certain foreign nationals who would otherwise not qualify in any class, in cases in which there are compelling H&C grounds. Applicants may make submissions on any facts affecting their personal circumstances that they believe are relevant to their request for H&C consideration. All H&C applications are sent to the Humanitarian Migration (HM) Office in Vancouver.

Family members who are already in Canada may have their permanent residence applications processed concurrently with the PA in Canada. The policy intent is to limit exceptional provisions to foreign nationals and their family members who are in Canada. Family members who are outside Canada cannot be processed for permanent resident visas concurrently with the principal applicant in Canada, but can be processed as members of the family class supported by a sponsorship once the applicant becomes a permanent resident.

Family members of Temporary Residents Permit holders

There is no provision to allow members of the permit holder class to include family members on their applications for permanent residence. Overseas migration offices are therefore not involved in the processing of such family members. At the time of their original entry into Canada, members of the permit holder class are inadmissible under any of the grounds for inadmissibility described in A33 to A43, except A34, A35, A36(1) and A37(1); therefore, their family members are also inadmissible on grounds of being an accompanying family member of a foreign national who is inadmissible or having an accompanying family member who is inadmissible. Consequently, accompanying family members would require their own permit to enter Canada. In order to be considered for permanent residence, such individuals would need to submit their own applications under the permit holder class as principal applicants. Family members living abroad who are eligible for membership in the family class may be sponsored, once a member of the permit holder class has attained permanent resident status.

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