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IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS

Accompanying and following family member

Accompanying family member: A spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child who intends to immigrate to Canada with the principal applicant. The visas will be issued at the same time.

Following family member: A spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child who has been separated from the family and is listed on the principal applicant’s application form as a family member. This family member could not processed at the same time as the principal applicant, but if included on the original application, can be processed as part of the same application, within one year of the date the principal applicant arrived in Canada (see family reunification).

De facto dependants

De facto dependants include people who may or may not be blood relatives but who cannot apply as family members as defined below. To be considered a de facto dependant, a person must be dependent on the family in which membership is claimed. The dependency must be emotional or financial and will often be a combination of both factors. Such people would normally, but not exclusively, live with the principal applicant as members of the same household. De facto dependants must complete their own application forms. An officer at the visa office will determine if a person can be considered as a de facto dependant.

Family members

Family members include spouse or common-law partner and dependent children:

Common-law partner: This term refers to a person who is living in a conjugal relationship with another person either of the opposite sex or same sex, and has done so for a period of at least one year. A conjugal relationship exists when there is a significant degree of commitment between two people. Common-law partners must attach any documents that show they are in a committed and genuine relationship, for example evidence that they share the same home, that they support each other financially and emotionally, that they have had children together, or that they present themselves in public as a couple.

Common-law partners who are unable to live together or appear in public together because of legal or cultural restrictions in their home country may still qualify and should be included on the application. Common-law partners that meet the conditions outlined above but who have been separated for reasons beyond their control (for example, civil war or armed conflict) should also be included on the application. Separated family members may be reunited in Canada if they apply within one year of the date the principal applicant arrived in Canada (see family reunification and following family member).

Dependent children: Dependent children may be your own children or those of your spouse or common-law partner. To be considered dependent, the child must:

• be under the age of 22 and not have a spouse or common-law partner; or

• depend substantially on the financial support of a parent and have been continuously enrolled and in attendance as full-time students in a government-accredited post secondary institution since before the age of 22 (or since marrying or entering into a common-law relationship, if this happened before the age of 22); or

• depend substantially on the financial support of a parent since before the age of 22 and unable to provide for themselves due to a medical condition.

In addition, the child must meet the definition of "dependent children" both at the time the application is made and at the time the visa is issued. If your child meets the definition of the first bullet, he or she can be older than 22 when the visa is issued, as long as they were under 22 at the time of application.

Spouse: This is a person of the opposite sex to whom the applicant is legally married.

Family reunification (One-year window of opportunity)

Canada recognizes that some family members may become separated from the family unit due to circumstances they cannot control. In cases where a family member has been separated from the family unit and the family is accepted for resettlement and travels to Canada, the separated family members can be processed on the same application as long as:

• the principal applicant has identified the separated family members on his or her application prior to departure to Canada; and

• the separated family members submit an application at the visa office within one year of the date the principal applicant arrived in Canada.

Principal applicant

The term refers to the person applying to immigrate to Canada for himself or herself and her or his family members.

Self-supporting refugees

Applicants accepted as either Convention Refugees Abroad or members of the Country of Asylum or Source Country Classes who are able to establish, to our satisfaction, that they have sufficient financial resources to provide for their lodging, care and maintenance in Canada.

Seriously and personally affected

These terms relate to applicants to the Country of Asylum and Source Country Classes.

Personally affected means that the applicant has been and continues to be affected on a personal level as a result of civil or armed conflict or violations of human rights.

Seriously affected means the applicant has been subject to sustained, effective denial of a basic human right. Basic human rights include: right to life; freedom from torture; freedom from enslavement or servitude; protection from imprisonment for debt; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; freedom from retroactive penal laws; right to recognition as a person before the law.

Visa office

A visa office is a Canadian immigration office outside Canada. These are usually located at a Canadian Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate.

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