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Listing and including family members in the application

On an application for permanent resident status, applicants must list:

  • their spouse or common law partner and
  • any dependent children.

The applicant can then choose whether or not to include them in the application. These family members must be listed, even if they are not being included in the application for permanent residence. Applicants who do not list these family members will not have the right to sponsor them to come to Canada later.

If the successful refugee claimant has chosen to include family members in an application, their applications for permanent residence can be processed at the same time, even if they are outside Canada. Even if their whereabouts is unknown, they can still be processed as part of a refugee’s application as long as:

  • The family members were listed in the application and
  • They go to a Canadian visa office within one year of the day the refugee becomes a permanent resident.

Who is a spouse, common-law partner or dependent child?

A spouse is someone to whom the applicant is legally married.

A common-law partner is someone with whom the applicant has a conjugal (marriage-like) relationship. The couple must have lived together for at least one year. Or, they must have been in the relationship for at least one year but could not live together because of persecution or legal restrictions. This would apply, for example, to a couple living in a country where there are laws against same-sex or common-law relationships.

Children: This includes biological children, step-children, and adopted children, no matter where they are or in whose custody.

A dependent child is someone who is dependent on their parents because they are either:

  • under the age of 22 and not married or in a common-law relationship, or
  • age 22 or older and financially dependent on their parents since before the age of 22 because of a physical or mental condition that prevents them from supporting themselves.


Last updated: Nov 2, 2017

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