Age of dependants 2014

Since 1 August 2014, new more restrictive regulations on age of dependants have been in effect. The new rules include the concept of a "lock in date", which is to the advantage of refugees and others in two-step immigration procedures. 


Multi-step immigration category

Lock in date

Made refugee claim (and accepted)

Date refugee claim made

Privately sponsored refugee

Date undertaking received (with competed PR application)

Government Assisted Refugee and Blended Visa Office Referred Refugees (BVOR)

Date UNHCR made the referral

Live-in Care Giver (this program has been closed but there are still applications in process)

Date of initial work permit application 

Provincial nominee

Date province or territory receives provincial nomination

Quebec economic immigrant

Date Quebec receives application for a Certificat de sélection du Québec


If the above lock in date occurred BEFORE 1 August 2014:

  • The definition of dependant child existing before 1 August 2014 continues to apply (under 22 years, older also possible if full-time students).
  • The new rules about lock-in dates for 2 step processes do not apply.


Woman makes a refugee claim in May 2014. The “old” definition of age of dependants applies to her (assuming she is accepted as a refugee). This means that she can bring her children under the age of 22.  However, they must be under the age of 22 at the date she makes her permanent residence application. 


If the above lock in date occurs ON OR AFTER 1 August 2014:

  • The new definition of dependant child applies (under 19 years, no exemption for full-time students)
  • This is the lock-in date for the age of dependants.


Man makes a refugee claim in August 2014. He has a daughter who is going to turn 19 in September 2014. Assuming he is accepted as a refugee, he will be able to bring his daughter, even if it takes several years before he is accepted and submits his permanent residence application. However, if she marries or enters a common law relationship at any point before her visa is issued, she is no longer considered a family member and cannot come.

IRCC tool to calculate which rules apply


Humanitarian and compassionate applications and dependants overseas

Children overseas of people who are accepted on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds go through a two-step immigration process, but unfortunately the lock-in date in these cases is NOT the date of the original application by the parent. It is instead the date at which the completed application for the child under the Family Class is submitted.


Parents in Canada applied for permanent residence on H&C grounds in August 2012. They have a child overseas who will turn 19 in September 2014. In January 2014 the parents were accepted in principle and they started the medical and security checks. Their child overseas had to do the admissiblity screening too, as a dependant, even though she is not part of the application.  In August 2014 the parents receive permanent residence. They must submit the Family Class sponsorship for their child overseas before she turns 19 in September or she will no longer qualify as a dependant. 

What is the date of an application?

  • The application date is the date the application is received by CIC (or the province, as appropriate).

When is an application received by CIC?

  • As long as it meets completeness requirements, an application submitted on paper is considered to be received on the date it is date-stamped by the CIC office designated to intake applications for the applicable program or category.
  • Applications are date stamped the day they are received in the mailroom (whether sent by Canada Post or courier). 

Note that it is the date CIC receives the application that is significant, not the post mark date when the applicant mailed the application.

CIC notice re. the changes:

In that notice they refer to applications "in CIC inventories". All applications for permanent residence that will have been received by CIC before August 1, 2014, will be considered to be in CIC inventories.

See also the IRCC tool to calculate which rules apply:


On 1 August 2014, new more restrictive regulations on age of dependants came into effect. (notably under 19 years, rather than under 22 as previously) The new rules include the concept of a "lock in date", which is quite complicated.