Minors Studying in Canada & Custodianship

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While most international students studying at the post-secondary level in Canada are no longer minors, it can sometimes be the case that a first-year (or even a second-year) student is below what we call the Age of Majority in Canada. If you are below the Age of Majority, you are legally considered a minor and if in addition you are under the age of 17, you must have a custodian if you will be studying in Canada.

Let’s go through the details.

Unfortunately, Age of Majority is not identical across Canada because it depends on the province/territory where your Designated Learning Institution (DLI) is located. This means that you may be considered a minor in one province but not in another. Here’s a table showing the Age of Majority by Province and Territory:

Province or Territory Age of Majority Minor Minor with optional custodianship
Alberta 18 years 17 years and under 17 years old
British Columbia 19 years 18 years and under 18 and 17 years old
Manitoba 18 years 17 years and under 17 years old
New Brunswick 19 years 18 years and under 18 and 17 years old
Newfoundland & Labrador 19 years 18 years and under 18 and 17 years old
Northwest Territories 19 years 18 years and under 18 and 17 years old
Nova Scotia 19 years 18 years and under 18 and 17 years old
Nunavut 19 years 18 years and under 18 and 17 years old
Ontario 18 years 17 years and under 17 years old
Prince Edward Island 18 years 17 years and under 17 years old
Quebec 18 years 17 years and under 17 years old
Saskatchewan 18 years 17 years and under 17 years old

So, you’re legally considered a minor if your age is below the Age of Majority in that province or territory. Furthermore, if you are a minor but are 17 or 18 years old (depending on the province/territory you’ll be studying in) then you do not normally need a custodian to study as an international student in Canada.

  • However, there may be situations when an IRCC official decides that you need a custodian even if you are 17 or 18 years old. This will depend on the specific circumstances of each case but is NOT a general rule.

If you are under the age of 17, no matter what province/territory you’ll be studying in, you will need a custodian.

  • A custodian is an adult Canadian citizen or permanent resident who takes on the responsibility to care for and support the minor student while they study in Canada.

To appoint a custodian, you are going to have to complete form IMM 5646E Custodianship Declaration. Let’s go through the steps in completing IMM 5646E.

The form asks for basic personal information on the student, the parents/guardians, and the custodian.

There are two similar pages where the same information is asked for. However, the first page is signed and notarized by the custodian IN CANADA. The second page is signed and notarized by the parents/guardians IN THEIR HOME COUNTRY.

In other words, you have to fill in the same Student, Parent/Guardian, and Custodian information twice, but each part is signed by different people. The custodian signs the first page, while the parents/guardians sign the second page. Both must also be notarized in their respective countries.

Finally, please note that all this is in additions to applying for a study permit, which a minor international student studying at the post-secondary level must have.

Do-it-yourself Study Permit Course

Study Permit – Paid Support from Immigroup

Have someone from our team call you back and answer all your questions.

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