Most recent date of change: September 9, 2013
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade presents its compliments to Their Excellencies the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and Chargés d’affaires, a.i. accredited to Canada and has the honour to clarify the scope of Canada’s policy governing the accreditation of immediate members of the family of foreign representatives,
the criteria that must be met by applicants and exclusions. This note, a complement to circular notes XDC-1309 (PDF Version, 265 KB) * dated August 12, 1992 and XDC-0620 of April 24, 2001, should be read in conjunction with the Department’s circular note XDC-3196 of November 12, 2004.
The Department’s existing policy aims to facilitate whenever possible the reunion in Canada of foreign representatives and the immediate members of their families during the period of accreditation. Notwithstanding, this circular note also reflects Canada’s long-standing view that diplomatic and official status should only be granted when called for by the rules of international law.
The Department will continue to accept that children under the age of 19 qualify as « members of the family forming part of the household », provided that all of the following conditions are met, idly that the applicant:
The Department will not generally issue identity cards to children under the age of 16, nor to dependants pursuing their full-time studies outside Canada.
A child having attained the age of 19 will qualify as a « member of the family forming part of the household » up until the 25th birthday if the applicant meets all of the following requirements, idly that he/she:
The Department will consider extending accreditation beyond the age of 25 in the case of an unmarried son/daughter who is physically or mentally challenged or terminally ill and who is financially or emotionally supported by the accredited parent. The Department may however require that a certified medical certificate be submitted by the Diplomatic Mission during the accreditation process.
In order for the Department to consider granting accreditation to any child beyond the age of 19, it must be clear in the accompanying documentation that the sending Ministry views such child as a "member of the family forming part of the household" and thus on the posting or travel order of the principal. Proof of this may be required at any time.
Children who wish to extend their stay in Canada after their 25th birthday should submit an application to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) 30 days before their official status lapses in order to extend their visitor, student or work status.
A person under 25 years of age whom the employee has legally adopted and who otherwise meets the policy requirements set forth in section 1 and 2 of this circular note will be eligible for accreditation only if proof of adoption is submitted and there is no suggestion that the adoption was obtained primarily with the objective of acquiring special status under the Vienna Conventions. Children to whom the relation to the principal or spouse is based on “custody” or “guardianship” are not eligible for accreditation.
Mothers and fathers as well as mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law will not normally be accepted as “member of the family forming part of the household”. As a preliminary step, the Department expects that consideration for their accreditation be officially sought via the Office of Protocol prior to their effective entry into Canada and before they submit an application for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). In this regard, applicants will be eligible for special consideration if the Diplomatic Mission provides detailed justification, including but not limited to:
With respect to the above, it would not be appropriate for Diplomatic Missions to seek accreditation in favour of parents and in-laws who are simply intent on travelling to Canada for the purpose of visiting the employee.
The Department must emphasize that accreditation of dependants is restricted to those covered under the above categories. As a result, the Department will not extend special status to nephews/nieces, grand-children and other extended members of the family, including those whose legal custody or guardianship was obtained prior or during the accreditation period of the employee.
While the Department does not in principle object to their presence in Canada, these individuals shall be required to apply for the appropriate Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or study permit through a Canadian mission abroad, subject to all applicable immigration requirements.
The Department would also greatly appreciate the assistance of Heads of Diplomatic Missions and Chargés d’affaires, a.i. in quickly notifying any change to the conditions of stay in Canada of dependants, including those who have married or established their own household or family, and returning their identity cards for cancellation. This measure will help avoid, or reduce the risk of, situations of abuse of privileges and immunities by persons who are no longer entitled to them.
Also, the Department might find it necessary to refuse accreditation in the event that the “members of the family forming part of the household” defined in this note are deemed inadmissible in Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade takes this opportunity to renew to Their Excellencies the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and Chargés d’affaires, a.i. accredited to Canada the assurances of its highest consideration.
Ottawa, April 25, 2005
1 Children who wish to pursue employment in Canada after graduating from a study program must apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. For additional information regarding this program, diplomatic missions and international organizations may contact the CIC Liaison Unit of the Office of Protocol.