Who you can include as a dependent child on an immigration application

If you want to apply to come to Canada as a permanent immigrant, or to work, study or visit, you may be able to include dependent children on your application.

Children qualify as dependants if they

  • are under 22 years old and
  • don’t have a spouse or partner

Dependants over the age limit

Children 22 or older qualify as dependants if they

  • have depended on their parents for financial support since before they were 22 and
  • can’t financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition

See the previous definitions of dependent children (from before October 24, 2017).

Find out if your child qualifies as a dependant – permanent immigration

Follow these steps to find out if your child qualifies as a dependant.

1. Find the age lock-in date

On the “age lock-in” date, we freeze information in an application so it doesn’t change over time, no matter how long it takes to process it. We lock in the age of dependent children so they won’t become ineligible before we can process their application.

Age lock-in dates vary by immigration program or category. Whether your child is eligible as a dependant depends on how old they are on that date.

  • For most programs, your child’s age lock-in date is the date we get your complete application for permanent residence.
  • Some programs have several steps, so your child’s age is locked in before you submit your complete application for permanent residence.

Age lock-in dates by immigration program or category

Results for Federal skilled worker program, Federal skilled trades program, Canadian Experience Class, Start-up business, Self-employed (outside Québec), Spouse, partner or dependent child (in or outside Canada), Adopted child, Orphaned relative or other relative, Humanitarian and compassionate, Privately-sponsored refugee, Home childcare provider pilot and home support worker pilot

The lock-in date is the date we get your complete application for permanent residence.

Result for Parents and grandparents sponsorship program

The lock-in date is the date we get your complete application for permanent residence, together with the sponsorship application.

Note: If you applied before November 5, 2011, the lock-in date is the date we got your complete sponsorship application.

Result for Atlantic Immigration Pilot

The lock-in date is the date the province gets your complete endorsement application.

Result for Provincial Nominee Program

The lock-in date is the date the province or territory gets your complete application for provincial nomination.

Result for Québec skilled worker, Québec immigrant investor, Québec entrepreneur, Québec self-employed, Québec Distressful Situations

The lock-in date is the date Quebec gets your complete application for a Certificat de sélection du Québec (Quebec Selection Certificate).

Result for Live-in caregiver program

The lock-in date is the date we got your complete initial Live-in Caregiver Program work permit application.

Result for Refugee selected abroad

The lock-in date is the date we get your referral from the refugee referral organization.

Result for Family member who does not accompany a protected person (“One Year Window”)

The lock-in date is the date we get a complete application for permanent residence from the principal applicant accepted as a refugee abroad. (Must be within one year of the date the principal applicant was granted Protected Person status.)

Result for Protected persons (in-Canada refugee claimants)

The lock-in date is the date we or the Canada Border Services Agency get your complete refugee claim.

Results for Québec Collective Refugee Sponsorships

The lock-in date is the date Quebec gets your (the sponsor’s) complete undertaking application.


2. Make sure your child meets the requirements before you apply

Children qualify as dependants if they:

  • are under 22 years old, and
  • don’t have a spouse or common-law partner.

Children 22 years old or older (also known as an overage dependent children) qualify as dependants if they:

  • have depended on their parents for financial support since before they were 22, and
  • can’t financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition.

Remember, during processing

  • we only use the age of your child on the lock-in date to assess if your child is eligible, even if they pass the age limit
  • your child must still not be a spouse or common-law partner.

You can answer a few questions in our online tool to check if your child qualifies as a dependant.

Find out if your child is a dependant

The examples below can help show how to find out if your child qualifies as a dependant using the

Example 1

Lise applied to sponsor her partner, Juan, and his son Mateo under the spousal sponsorship program. We got both the sponsorship application and the application for permanent residence on November 1, 2018. On that date, Mateo was 19 and single (not married or in a common-law relationship).

In this case

  • Lock-in date for Mateo’s age is November 1, 2018. For spousal sponsorship, the lock-in date is when we get the complete application for permanent residence.
  • On lock-in date
    • Mateo is 19 – this is the age we’ll use to find if he’s eligible
  • On the date we got the application for permanent residence, the definition of a dependent child was the one from on or after October 24, 2017, which includes an age limit of “under 22 years”

Mateo qualifies as a dependant because

  • his age (19) on the lock-in date (November 1, 2018), is within the age limit for dependent a child, and
  • he meets the other requirement (he’s not married or in a common-law relationship)

If Mateo’s marital status changes while we’re processing his application, he would become ineligible to immigrate to Canada with his father.

Example 2

Tobogo wants to immigrate to Alberta with his daughter Lailah under the Provincial Nominee Program. The province of Alberta got Tobogo’s complete application for provincial nomination on May 17, 2019. On that date, Lailah was 21. After getting a provincial nomination certificate in September 2019, Tobogo applies to IRCC for permanent residence on October 10, 2019.

Based on this scenario:

  • Lock-in date for Lailah’s age is May 17, 2019. For the Provincial Nominee Program, we use the date when the province or territory gets the complete application for provincial nomination as the lock-in date.
  • On the lock-in date, Lailah is 21. This is the age we’ll use to find if she’s eligible, even if her age changes during processing.
  • The age limit in place when we got Tobogo’s application for permanent residence was “under 22”.

Lailah qualifies as a dependant because:

  • Her age (21) on the lock-in date (May 17, 2019) was within the age limit of “under 22” in place as of October 24, 2017.
  • Lailah meets the other requirement (she’s not married or in a common-law relationship).

If Lailah’s marital status changes while we’re processing the application, she would no longer be eligible to immigrate to Canada with her father.

Find out if your child qualifies as a dependant – applications to work, study, or visit

Your dependant must meet the age limit and requirements in place when we get your visitor visa, study permit or work permit application.

The requirements are different depending on when we get your application.

Your dependent children must apply for their own visitor visa, or study or work permit.

You and your dependent children may:

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