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Everything you need to know about sponsoring your child for immigration to Canada

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Published on June 12, 2023 at 9 a.m. EDT


Family Class Sponsorship enables family members living in different countries to reunite and live together in Canada. The program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to bring their children from abroad to Canada to become permanent residents.

Sponsor your family for Canadian immigration

Dependent childrenwhether biological or adopted, can be sponsored to come live in Canada with their parents.

To sponsor your child to come to Canada, you must:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, intending to return to Canada, or a person registered under Canada’s Indian Act
  • Be able to meet the dependent child’s basic needs
  • Be able to prove your relationship with your child
  • Not have a criminal record, be in jail, charged with a felony, or be bankrupt
  • Not be in default with a previous sponsorship commitment or be under immigration investigation
  • Not receiving income support, except due to disability

To be eligible for sponsorship, the child must be considered a dependent, which means they are:

  • The biological or adopted child of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Are not married or in a common-law relationship
  • Is under 22 years of age

A child over the age of 22 can qualify as a dependent provided they meet two requirements:

  • They suffer from a mental or physical condition that makes them unable to support themselves
  • They have been dependent on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22

Eligible children must remain unmarried and not in a common-law relationship for the duration of the treatment, until they become permanent residents. In addition, a dependent child who is divorced, widowed, or whose marriage has been annulled or is no longer in a common-law relationship at the time of initial receipt of the application is considered to meet the definition of a dependent child.

The relationship between parent and child

A dependent child can be either a biological child or an adopted child of a parent. “Biological” children include children:

  • Who was born to the parent who made the application
  • Who is not genetically related to the parent making the application, but is born to the person who, at the time of the child’s birth, was that parent’s spouse, common-law partner or marriage partner
  • Who were born through the application of assisted human reproductive technology

A birth certificate or baptismal certificate can serve as proof of a biological relationship.

In the case of human reproductive technologies, documents suitable for establishing a parent-child relationship are birth certificates but also authorized evidence showing that the person claiming to be the parent is the mother’s birth mother or the spouse/partner of the mother at the time. of birth. Parents must also demonstrate that they used assisted human reproductive technology.

If the child was born from a surrogacy agreement in a foreign country and the child is the legal child of the sponsor or his or her spouse or partner in that country, the child may be a “biological child”, if there is also a genetic parent. child relationship.

Lock-up age for dependent children

The age of a dependent child is locked on the date of receipt of the main applicant’s complete application for permanent residence. A complete application for permanent residence includes all items in the document checklist for the specific category, which includes proof of payment of the processing fees.

This means that a child who is under the age of 22 and is not a spouse or common-law partner at the time of the “age lock” will continue to be a dependent child even if they turn 22 during the processing of the application, as long as they continue to be unmarried and not in a customary law relationship when permanent residence is established.

Custody issues

Applicants who wish to sponsor a child who is the subject of a custody order must prove that they are allowed to remove the children from a foreign country in which they currently reside.

The overseas parent or guardian must give written consent for the child to travel to Canada for the purpose of becoming a permanent resident. If the parent or guardian is not willing to give consent, a court order may be accepted.

If no consent is provided by the other parent or guardian, the applicant is usually required to prove that they have sole custody of a relative and to verify that the other parent or guardian does not have custody of the child or any objection to the removal of the child from the foreign country .

If the parents share custody of the child, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) must obtain written confirmation from the other parent that they have no objection to the child being processed for permanent residence in Canada.

These requirements ensure that sponsorships do not violate any terms of the detention or foreign laws. In Canada, the best interests of the child are the only consideration in custody arrangements. Therefore, an IRCC officer must consider all the circumstances of the case and exercise good judgment when deciding whether to process an application to sponsor a dependent child where there is no written confirmation of no objection from the other parent.

Sponsor your family for Canadian immigration

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