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Foreign nationals reuniting with family

Flights from India and Pakistan suspended

Read the news release.

In most circumstances, your family member must be a Canadian citizen, a person registered under the Indian Act, a permanent resident of Canada or a temporary resident in order to enter Canada for the purpose of reuniting.

What is your relationship with the person you want to reunite with?

  • you’re the spouse or common law partner of the person
  • you’re the dependent child of the person, or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner
  • you’re dependent child of a dependent child (grandchild) of the person
  • you’re the parent or step-parent of the person, or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner
  • you’re the guardian or tutor of the person
  • none of the above (for example, a child who is no longer dependent, brother, aunt, someone in an exclusive dating relationship, etc.)

Definitions of these relationships

Note: These are not legal definitions.

Exclusive dating relationship

An exclusive dating relationship means you’re in a romantic relationship with a Canadian citizen, person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or permanent resident, and:

  • you’re both 18 years of age or older
  • have been in the relationship for at least 1 year, and
  • have spent time in the physical presence of that person at some point during the relationship.

Examples of an exclusive dating relationship include:

  • fiancé(e)s
  • committed romantic partners for at least 1 year who have lived together but don’t meet the definition of common-law
  • boyfriends, girlfriends or any other couple in an intimate, loving relationship

This includes couples in different-sex or same-sex relationships.

Common-law partner

Related term:
Common-law spouse

A person who has been living with another person in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. The term refers to opposite-sex and same-sex relationships.

See the legal definition of common-law partner.

Dependent child

A child who is under the maximum age and is not married or in a common law relationship. Generally, to qualify as dependants, children must:

  • be under 22 years old
  • not have a spouse or common-law partner

Note: a child’s age is usually “locked in” when we get a complete application.

Use our online tool to check if your child qualifies as a dependant.

Exception: Children who are at the age limit or older can qualify as “over-age” dependants if they

  • have depended on their parents for financial support since before they reached the age limit and
  • can’t financially support themselves due to a mental or physical condition

Previous age limits:

The age limit has changed in recent years. If your application has been in process for a while, one of the older definitions of dependent child may apply. Generally, we use the rules in place when we get your complete application. Previous age limits for a dependent child:

  • From August 1, 2014 to October 23, 2017: under 19 years old
  • On or before July 31, 2014: under 22 years old

Note: The rules for over-age dependants are different for applications that were submitted on or before July 31, 2014.

Guardian or tutor
A guardian or tutor cares for a foreign national minor child who lives apart from a parent, for example, to attend a secondary school in Canada. The guardian or tutor must be able to prove that they normally live at the same address as the minor child.

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