On June 7, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced that some changes are coming to the Super Visa program later this summer. Canada issues approximately 17,000 super visas a year, making the super visa a popular option for family reunification in Canada.

What is a Super Visa?

The super visa is a visa for parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. It works differently than a standard visitor visa, as visitor visas only entitle the holder to stay in Canada for a maximum of six months before the holder needs to renew their status. Currently, the super visa allows the holder to remain in Canada for up to two years before the holder needs to reapply. As a result of the extended period in which the holder is permitted to stay in Canada when compared with a regular visitor visa, the super visa is an effective option for parents or grandparents who wish to join their children or grandchildren for a prolonged stay in Canada.

Super Visa Eligibility

There are a number of conditions that must be met in order for an applicant to qualify for a super visa. Applicants must satisfy the following minimum requirements in order to qualify:

  • The Applicant must be the parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada;
  • The Applicant’s child or grandchild who is a resident in Canada must provide a letter including:
    • a promise that the applicant will have adequate financial support for the duration of their visit;
    • a list of people in the household of the person providing the letter; and
    • a copy of their Canadian citizenship or permanent resident document.
  • The Applicant must have fully paid and approved medical insurance from a Canadian insurance company that:
    • is valid for at least 1 year from the date of entry; 
    • provides at least $100,000 of coverage; and
    • proof that medical insurance has been paid (quotes are not acceptable).

The above requirements must be provided accurately, or extensive delays, or even rejection of an applicant can occur. Super visas also must be applied for from outside of Canada. Further, Applicants need to be otherwise admissible to Canada, which means the applicant cannot have a poor health record or criminal record that would make them inadmissible to Canada. Applicants must also take an immigration medical exam in order to apply for a super visa.

For the financial support requirement, the government accepts certain forms from the applicant’s child or grandchild as proof of the minimum necessary income required in order to make a super visa application. Some of the documents that can be used as proof are Notice of Assessment (NOA) or T4/T1 for the most recent tax year, employment Insurance stubs, employment letter including salary and date of hiring, pay stubs, or bank statements.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada also takes a few more factors into consideration when considering an application. They want to ensure that the applicant is a genuine visitor who will leave Canada by choice at the end of their visit. The factors that are taken into consideration are the Applicant’s ties to their home country, the purpose of their visit, their family and finances, and the overall economic and political stability of the Applicant’s home country. The factors are considered with the requirements set out above by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in making a decision on an application. 

Upcoming Super Visa Changes

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced some changes to the super visa program that it is referring to as enhancements. The changes will come into force on July 4, 2022 and should make it even easier for Canadians to reunite with their parents and grandparents in Canada. 

On July 4, super visa holders will have the option to increase their length of stay to five years per entry into Canada. People who have a super visa will have the option to request to extend their stay by up to two years at a time while in Canada. These changes will allow holders of the visa to remain in Canada longer under a single visa when, as the length of stay has been increased from two years to five years.

Another change set to take place on July 4, is a change to make it easier for applicants to obtain approved medical insurance for their application. After July 4, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship will be able to designate international medical insurance companies that can provide coverage for super visa applicants. Currently, applicants can only obtain insurance through Canadian insurance companies, so expanding the number of ways by which applicants can obtain medical insurance should make the application process easier. Allowing applicants to obtain insurances from medical insurance companies outside Canada could also provide opportunities for applicants to save money on their policy, increasing the number of options available for applicants.

Overall, the changes being made should make the super visa program more attractive to potential applicants, and will make the application process easier for those potential applicants. The changes will benefit Canadians by allowing for more family reunifications and allowing those family members who take advantage of the program to remain in Canada for a longer period of time. Based on the changes, there will likely be an uptick in the number of applications for super visas. 

Thinking of Applying for a Super Visa? Garson Immigration Law in Toronto Can Help

Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. We successfully guide clients through the immigration process and regularly work with clients looking to obtain a Canadian super visa. We will work to find an effective solution for your individual immigration needs and ensure you are positioned for success with respect to your application. 

If you have any questions about whether you will be able to travel or about the circumstances of an immigration application during these uncertain times, do not hesitate to reach out to us online or by calling us at 416-321-2860.

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