Protected persons: Processing applications for permanent residence – family members overseas

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

Processing the application and issuing visas

Protected persons must list all family members living inside and outside Canada on their application for permanent residence. They may, however, choose which family members they want to include in their application as accompanying.

Note: Protected persons may submit applications for permanent residence for their family members (both in Canada and abroad) either online or on paper to the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga (CPC-M) along with documents to establish their identity and family relationship. Protected persons in Canada are encouraged to submit the following forms for family members overseas:

  • the Generic Application Form for Canada [IMM 0008]
    • for online applications, this is a digital form and includes the questions from paper form IMM 0008DEP (Additional Dependants/Declaration).
  • the Schedule A - Background / Declaration form [IMM 5669 (PDF, 1.52 MB)]
    • For online applications, this is a digital form.
  • the Additional Family Information form [IMM 5406 (PDF, 2.23 MB)]
    • For online applications, this is a digital form.
  • if applicable, the Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual form [IMM 5475] or the Use of a Representative form [IMM 5476]

The following documentation is also required for all accompanying family members:

  • 1 passport-sized photograph
  • photocopies of the applicant's passport, travel document or identity documents
  • documents that prove the relationship between the principal applicant and the family members

The CPC-M assigns the applications for permanent residence for overseas dependants to the appropriate visa office.

On receiving the application for permanent residence from the family members abroad, the visa office may commence with processing the applications and requesting that family members undergo the necessary medical examinations and security clearances.

Visas must not be issued to family members abroad until the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office in Canada confirms that the principal applicant has been granted permanent residence.

Protected temporary residents class (PTRC)

Officers at the CPC-M are not required to contact the visa office for the concurrent processing of all family members of a member of the PTRC class. 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). If they fail to meet the criteria of the principal applicant’s in-Canada protected person application for permanent residence, they can be assessed in their own right by the visa office as either a member of the Convention refugee from abroad class or the humanitarian-protected person abroad classes. Visas may therefore be issued to family members outside Canada before the IRCC office in Canada confirms that the principal applicant has been granted permanent residence.

Family members whose whereabouts are unknown

Family members whose whereabouts are unknown may apply for permanent residence under the one-year time limit [see subsection R176(2)].

When a family member cannot be located,

  • the visa officer will advise the CPC by email; and
  • the CPC will contact the protected person to request current contact information.

Should the family member remain untraceable, or if the principal applicant has proactively informed CPC-M that the whereabouts of a family member are unknown, the CPC will inform the protected person that their family member’s application may still be processed if they apply within 1 year of the protected person becoming a permanent resident. In such circumstances, granting permanent residence to the principal applicant will not be delayed. A protected person may be granted permanent residence even if family members abroad for whom permanent residence is sought do not meet all the requirements of subsection A21(2).

Application of the one-year time limit

The officer at the CPC will have informed the visa office of the inclusion of a family member abroad. If the permanent resident locates the family member within the one-year time limit, they may advise the CPC in writing. The CPC will notify the appropriate visa office, confirming that the family member was included in the initial application, and ask the visa office to have the family member

  • complete the IMM 0008 and IMM 5669 forms; and
  • undergo the necessary medical examinations and security clearances.

While the visa office will act on such requests as quickly as possible, it is incumbent on the family member to make an application within one year after the day on which the protected person in Canada became a permanent resident.

Protected persons’ minor children who are at risk

When both parents are protected persons in Canada, or if only one parent is in Canada and the other parent is deceased or their whereabouts are unknown, officers must be aware of the risks to which these children may be exposed if there are delays in finalizing the application in Canada for permanent residence. The situation may be particularly acute if the children are residing without the care and protection of an adult guardian, such as an older sibling, aunt, uncle or grandparent, in an area where a civil or international armed conflict is occurring.

Officers should arrange for the expedited medical examination of children (under the age of 18 years) when the particular circumstances increase the risk to their physical safety. Once the medical examination is completed, or where rapid medical clearance is not feasible and the child is at risk, visa officers should consider the option of early admission to Canada through the use of a temporary resident permit.

Removing a family member from the application

Protected persons may remove a family member from their application any time up to the point of being granted permanent residence. The individual who is removed from the application will not be granted permanent residence or issued a visa as a result of the application. The processing fee for that person will not be refunded once processing of the application has commenced.

Since the removal of a family member from the application will not change the fact that the family member has been listed in compliance with R10(2)(a), that family member may be sponsored in the future, provided that the individual remains otherwise eligible for inclusion in the family class at the time that the sponsorship application is submitted.

Because permanent separation may result, principal applicants must be asked to sign a declaration acknowledging this possibility before removing the family member from the application.

Dependent children, spouses or common-law partners who are determined to be protected persons and have applied for permanent residence may have their applications severed from the principal applicant’s application and be granted permanent residence apart from the principal applicant, provided they meet statutory requirements.

In cases where an accompanying family member was never determined to be a protected person and wishes to be severed from the principal applicant’s application (for example, the principal applicant has left Canada), they should be instructed to apply for permanent residence under humanitarian and compassionate considerations. Accompanying family members who are not protected persons are subordinate applicants, and the validity of their application is entirely dependent on the granting of permanent resident status to an eligible protected person (principal applicant).

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