Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced that effective August 1, 2014, the cutoff age for qualification as a ‘dependent’ under Canadian immigration law will be reduced to age 18.

Dependents are those family members allowed to accompany a principal applicant who is approved to reside in Canada permanently or temporarily. Under the previous law, an unmarried child of the principal applicant who is under 22 years old was considered a dependent.

Under the new law, generally children age 19 and over will no longer qualify as dependents; however, children of any age with a physical or mental condition who are unable to support themselves will qualify as dependents.

As of August 1, 2014, a principal applicant for temporary or permanent status in Canada may only be accompanied by a spouse/common law partner and children under 18 years of age. In cases where the child is over 18 years old, in order to reside in Canada the child must be eligible for temporary or permanent status in Canada on his or her own merits.

Applications that are currently in process and those filed before August 1, 2014, will be adjudicated under the previous version of the law. Applicants who are eligible to pursue permanent residency may wish to begin the application process now in order to avoid children of ages 19, 20, and 21 aging out of dependent eligibility when the new law becomes effective on August 1st.