Program delivery update: Regulation change for dependent children – October 24, 2017

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


As of October 24, 2017, regulations have changed to raise the age of dependent children from “under 19” to “under 22”.

These instructions are specific to new applications received by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on or after October 24, 2017.

To enhance family unity and reunification, and in recognition that many young adults remain with their parents longer , the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) have been amended to introduce a new definition of “dependent child”.

The only change in this new definition is that the maximum age of a dependent child has increased from 18 to 21. The definition retains the requirement for a dependent child to be unmarried and not in a common-law relationship and for overage children with a physical or mental condition to have been continually unable to financially support themselves since before turning 22.

The new definition applies to applications received on or after October 24, 2017. Applications received between August 1, 2014, and October 23, 2017, will be processed based on the previous definitions.

Previous definition: From August 1, 2014, to October 23, 2017, a dependent child was defined as a child under 19 who was not a spouse or common-law partner or a child 19 or older who was dependent on a parent due to a physical or mental condition.

Lock-in dates: The regulatory amendments related to the new definition of dependent child do not include any changes to regulations regarding when the age of a child of the principal applicant is locked in.

Transitional provisions: In addition, an amendment has been made to correct an inadvertent omission in the transitional provisions for the August 1, 2014, amendment, to include a dependent child who made an application as a principal applicant as a member of the family class on or before July 31, 2014.

The transitional provisions allowed the applications of certain children whose ages were locked in before August 1, 2014, to be processed based on the pre-amendment definition. It is important to note that for some permanent resident programs, IRCC will continue to receive some applications, which include those of children who are 22 or older, who are full-time students and who qualify as dependants based on the 2014 transitional provisions because their ages were locked in before August 1, 2014. These transitional provisions may apply regardless of the date IRCC receives the permanent residence application.

The transitional provision relating to overage full-time students will become obsolete in the future as older cases are finalized. For more information on the transitional provisions of the August 1, 2014, amendment, consult OB 588, “Change in the definition of a dependent child”, to determine if a child is eligible for their application to be processed for permanent residence based on a transitional provision.

Fees: The new definition of a dependent child has not resulted in any changes to the fee structure. The range of permanent resident fees for dependent children that apply on and after October 24, 2017, are based on the dependant type.

The only temporary resident fees that are affected by the new definition of a dependent child are the family rates for an application for a temporary resident visa and the accompanying biometric fee.

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