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Sponsorship of an Undeclared Dependent Child

Michael Golden Law Corporation  May 15, 2024

The sponsorship of an undeclared dependent child represents one of the most challenging scenarios families can face.  

At Michael Golden Law Corporation, we provide individuals and families with unparalleled legal support in immigration law, serving clients in Vancouver and throughout Burnaby, Surrey, and Coquitlam, BC, since 1985.  

We offer the information in this guide as an educational tool for those looking to sponsor an undeclared dependent child, clarifying definitions, implications, eligibility requirements, necessary documentation, and the step-by-step process involved.  

Legal Definition of an Undeclared Dependent Child

An undeclared dependent child refers to a child who wasn't examined by Canadian immigration officials when their parent(s) applied for and received their own status in Canada. This scenario often presents complex legal challenges due to the nature of the omission, whether intentional or accidental.  

The implications of sponsoring an undeclared dependent child are significant, primarily as they touch upon the credibility of the applicant's original immigration application. It's essential to approach this topic with transparency and an understanding of the legal framework governing such cases.    

The decision to sponsor an undeclared dependent child to Canada is often driven by a desire for family reunification, a fundamental aspect of Canadian immigration policy. This process is governed by specific immigration laws and regulations designed to safeguard the interests of both the sponsors and the dependents.  

Understanding why someone might find themselves in this situation, potential consequences, eligibility criteria, and the navigation process is essential for a successful sponsorship application.  

Reasons for Sponsoring an Undeclared Dependent Child

  • Initial unawareness: At the time of the sponsor’s original application, they may not have been aware of the child’s existence due to various personal circumstances.  

  • Change in family circumstances: Changes such as divorce, remarriage, or adoption can lead to situations where a dependent child wasn't previously declared. 

  • Concerns over application rejection: Some applicants fear that including dependents may adversely affect their own immigration process.  

  • Incomplete or misguided initial application: Lack of proper guidance or misunderstanding of immigration requirements may result in the accidental omission of a dependent child from the application.  

Immigration Laws and Consequences of Non-Declaration

Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) outlines strict regulations concerning the declaration of family members during the immigration process. Failure to declare all family members can result in the sponsor being deemed inadmissible for misrepresentation, facing potential penalties including a five-year prohibition on sponsoring any family member to Canada.  

However, provisions exist under the IRPA allowing for the sponsorship of previously undeclared family members under certain conditions, emphasizing the importance of transparency and honesty in addressing the omission.  

Eligibility and Requirements

To be eligible to sponsor an undeclared dependent child, you must fulfill several key criteria: 

  • Legal status: You must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident currently living in Canada. 

  • Financial stability: You must demonstrate the financial capability to support the dependent child once they arrive in Canada. This includes providing basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. 

  • Agreement to sponsor: You’ll need to sign an agreement with the Canadian government, committing to support the child's needs for a specified duration. This period typically extends until the child becomes a Canadian citizen or for up to 10 years, whichever comes first. 

Navigating the Sponsorship Process

  1. Gather documentation: Start by gathering all necessary documents and completing the required forms. Essential documents include proof of the sponsor's status in Canada, the dependent's birth certificate, or adoption papers, and financial records to demonstrate income levels.  

  1. Explanation letter: Craft a detailed letter explaining the circumstances leading to the initial failure to declare the dependent child. This letter should be honest and provide a clear context.  

  1. Complete necessary forms: Carefully fill out the required forms such as IMM 1344 (Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement, and Undertaking) and IMM 0008 (Generic Application Form for Canada).  

  1. Submission and processing: Submit the completed application package to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and prepare for a processing period, which may include requests for additional information or interviews.  

  1. Decision: Upon approval, the child will be issued a visa to travel to Canada. In cases of refusal, understanding the reasons is crucial for any future actions.    

FAQs on Sponsoring an Undeclared Dependent Child to Canada

The process of sponsoring an undeclared dependent child for immigration to Canada requires a thorough understanding of the eligibility criteria, application procedures, and legal requirements involved. Below, we address some of the most frequently asked questions related to this challenging yet rewarding process. 

What are the relevant legal and regulatory requirements?

Sponsoring an undeclared dependent child is governed by specific legal and regulatory requirements: 

  • Compliance: You must comply with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its regulations. 

  • Undeclared family members regulation: Under certain conditions, previously undeclared family members may be sponsored yet require a comprehensive explanation to overcome potential inadmissibility on grounds of misrepresentation. 

What documentation needs to be filed with the authorities?

The documentation required includes, but isn't limited to: 

  • Identity and status documents: For both the sponsor and the dependent child, including passports, birth certificates, and Canadian citizenship or permanent resident cards. 

  • Financial records: Evidence of your financial stability, such as employment letters, bank statements, and tax returns. 

  • Relationship proof: Documents proving your relationship with the dependent child, such as birth certificates or adoption papers. 

  • Explanation letter: A letter detailing the reasons behind the non-disclosure of the dependent child during the initial application process. 

Are there any additional steps that need to be taken after filing the application?

After filing the application, be prepared for the following steps: 

  • Processing time: Anticipate a processing period, which can vary based on the complexity of your case and the workload of the immigration office. 

  • Further documentation or interviews: You may be requested to provide additional documentation or attend interviews. 

  • Medical exams: The dependent child will likely be required to undergo a medical examination by a doctor approved by the Canadian government. 

  • Decision: Await the decision on your application. If approved, the child will be issued a visa to enter Canada. If denied, seek to understand the reasons for refusal, which may guide your next steps. 

What are the potential challenges or issues in sponsoring an undeclared dependent child?

The most significant challenge in sponsoring an undeclared dependent child lies in overcoming the initial non-disclosure. It's important to tackle this with honesty and a thorough explanation. Other challenges include meeting the extensive documentation requirements and enduring the lengthy processing times. 

The Importance of Legal Support in the Sponsorship Process

Sponsoring an undeclared dependent child to Canada is a difficult process that demands a meticulous approach. It embodies the principles of family reunification yet underscores the importance of compliance with immigration policies. While this guide provides a foundational understanding, each case has its unique nuances.  

For those considering this path, it's strongly recommended to consult with a legal representative practicing Canadian immigration law. At Michael Golden Law Corporation, our knowledge can provide personalized guidance, assisting you in your application to not only meet the legal standards but position it for a successful outcome.

With the right preparation and professional advice, you can journey through this process with confidence and integrity. 

Resources and Further Assistance 

  • Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC): The IRCC website offers comprehensive guides, forms, and the latest policy updates.  

  • Legal advisors and immigration consultants: Professional guidance can significantly improve the likelihood of successful sponsorship by ensuring compliance with all requirements and providing strategies to effectively address any complications.  

  • Community support organizations: Many community organizations offer support and resources to individuals navigating the sponsorship process.  

With proper preparation, understanding of the process, and possibly professional assistance, families can overcome the challenges and successfully sponsor their dependent children to live in Canada.   

Reach Out for Legal Support

At Michael Golden Law Corporation, our proficiency isn't limited to our 35 years in practice but is enriched by a profound understanding of the nuances involved in immigration proceedings. With fluency in Vietnamese, English, and Spanish within our firm, we prioritize making our services accessible to the communities that we serve.  

Selecting us to support you in the sponsorship of an undeclared dependent child means choosing a firm that not only brings decades of legal experience and a history of successful cases but also prioritizes a bespoke service tailored to each client's unique circumstances. We understand the stakes involved in these cases and leverage our comprehensive knowledge to guide families through the sponsorship process with empathy, understanding, and strategic acumen.  

For families in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, or Coquitlam, British Columbia, facing the daunting task of sponsoring an undeclared dependent child, we invite you to take the first step toward securing your family's future in Canada, supported by a team that stands unmatched in its commitment to excellence, empathy, and successful outcomes.

Reach out today to schedule your initial consultation with us.