Sponsoring a dependent child or children

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Part of Canada’s immigration objective is to see that families are reunited in Canada. Biological and adopted children can be reunited with their parent(s) through sponsorship as a member of the Family Class. 

To be a sponsor

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must be a Canadian citizen, or a permanent resident living in Canada
  • Be able to prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability
  • can provide for the basic needs of any person you are sponsoring 

Note: There is no low income cut-off (LICO) for dependent child sponsorships, unless a dependent child also has one or more dependent children of their own.


There are certain situations in which you cannot become a sponsor. Contact us to find out more. 

Definition of a Dependent Child

Your child or the child of your spouse or common-law partner can be considered a dependent child. Children qualify as dependents if they are under 22 years old, and they do not 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 the age of 22, and they are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition.


Dependent children who do not have a physical or mental condition must remain unmarried and not in a common-law relationship for the duration of processing, up until the point of becoming a permanent resident.

Nature of Parent Child Relationship

A dependent child, in respect of a parent, means a child who is the biological child of the parent, if the child has not been adopted by a person other than the spouse or common-law partner of the parent, or is the adopted child of the parent.

It is important to declare all children regardless of who has custody of the child

If the person you are sponsoring (or their child) has one or more children in the sole custody of their other parent, you must still declare the child in the application. Even if there is a written agreement or court order to show that the sponsored person does not have custody or responsibility, you must list the child on the application and this child must do a medical exam. Doing this gives the sponsored person the possibility to sponsor their child as a member of the family class in the future, when there may be changes to the custody or living arrangements. If a permanent resident does not declare all their family members on their application, they could risk losing their permanent resident status.