You've arrived in Canada - now you'd like to bring your parents or grandparents to the country. Our Ottawa and Orleans immigration physicians explain what's involved in helping family immigrate to Canada.
Many people who immigrate to Canada would like to sponsor parents or grandparents to do the same. The federal government's Super Visa program may be a useful avenue to help you do this.
Super Visa Program: Eligibility & Application Process
To be eligible for the Super Visa program, sponsors and sponsored individuals must meet the following requirements.
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (PR)
- Reside in Canada at the time of application and when parents/grandparents are expected to arrive
- Be in good financial standing
Sponsored individuals coming to Canada must:
- Apply for a super visa from outside Canada
- Be the parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or PR
- Be admissible to Canada (including not being criminally or medically inadmissible)
- Have a letter of invitation from the sponsoring child or grandchild residing in Canada
- Have medical insurance from a Canadian insurance company that's valid for at least 1 year from the date of entry, has at least $100,000 in emergency coverage and proves that the medical insurance has been paid in full
- Have documents proving the child or grandchild meets the Low-Income Cut-Off (LICO) minimum
- Have proof of parental relationship with child or grandchild, such as a birth certificate that names the sponsored individual as the parent
- Have their visa printed outside Canada (wait for visa office instructions)
- Take an immigration medical exam
- Have a signed letter from your child or grandchild who invites you to Canada that contains the following three things:
A. A promise of financial support for the length of your visit
B. The list and number of people in this person's household
C. A copy of this person's Canadian citizenship or permanent resident document
How to Immigrate to Canada by Applying for a Super Visa
To apply for a super visa, take the following steps:
- Prepare your documents
- Apply online via Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's (IRCC) portal
You'll first need to create an account with IRCC and sign in before completing the online form and answering all questions. You'll receive a document checklist before paying the application fee.
Note: Candidates unable to apply due to disability or because they are "traveling with an identity or travel document that was issued to a refugee, a stateless person or a non-citizen can access paper applications.
Benefits of the Super Visa
The length of the Super Visa's validity is a benefit to those applying for sponsorship.
This temporary resident visa (TRV) allows sponsored parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or PRs to visit their Canadian family members for up to 5 years at a time without requiring a visa renewal.
In addition, sponsored individuals with an existing Super Visa can apply for a visa extension, which enables them to stay in Canada as a visitor for up to 7 years. Finally, with visa extensions, the Super Visa also grants parents and grandparents the ability to enter Canada multiple times for up to 10 years.
The timelines specified above came into effect on July 4, 2022. Before that date, sponsored individuals were only allowed entry to Canada for up to 2 years.
Here are more timeline details:
Any Super Visa applicant who entered Canada with a valid visa before July 4 will not see an increase in their valid length of stay unless they leave Canada before and re-enter the country after this date. This would raise the potential for a border services officer to grant the individual an increased length of stay (up to 5 years).
Another option for applicants who are already in Canada is to apply for a Super Visa extension for up to 2 additional years.
Applicants who fall under the categories below will be able to benefit from the increased length of stay (up to 5 years at a time):
- Individuals who applied for the Super Visa on or after July 4, 2022
- Individuals who had their applications approved after July 4, 2022
- Individuals who had their applications approved before July 4, 2022, presuming they entered Canada after this date
Other benefits of Canada's Super Visa program include:
- Year-round visa availability
- Sponsored individuals have the ability to travel freely between their country of residence and Canada without needing to worry about re-applying for a temporary resident visa (for those in countries that require a TRV for entry to Canada)
- Receipt of a letter authorizing their entry to Canada for up to 2 years (for those in countries that do not require TRVs for Canadian entry).