Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents intending to obtain temporary residence to visit their close relatives may apply for extended visitors’ visas known as Super Visas. The maximum validity date for the multiple entries Super Visa is ten years, or one month prior to the applicant’s passport’s expiry, whichever is earlier. Within that time, Super Visa holders can remain in Canada for periods of up to 2-years. In comparison, a regular visitor visa is usually valid for a maximum period of 6-months.
For individuals who are citizens of visa-exempt countries, the Super Visa program can still be useful. Persons from visa-exempt countries are ordinarily permitted to enter Canada for 6-months without obtaining a visitor visa. Under the new program, a parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident from a visa-exempt country can apply, from outside of Canada, for a Letter of Introduction, which they can then present to a border official upon arrival to Canada. When presented with a Letter of Introduction, the Canadian border official will normally allow the individual to enter Canada for a period of 2-years.
Another advantage of Parents and Grandparents Super Visa is its relatively short processing time of approximately 8-weeks.
The application for this visa is made to a visa office outside of Canada. The applicant for a Parents and Grandparents Super Visa must meet certain criteria.
Firstly, the applicant must me eligible for a regular visitor visa. This means that besides being in good health and having a valid travel document, the applicant must satisfy a Canadian immigration official that they will willingly leave the country at the end of their authorized stay, that they have sufficient ties to their home country such as a job, family or property, and that they have sufficient funds available to support themselves for the length of their stay.
Additionally, the individual applicant must:
- Show that they are the parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
- Obtain medical insurance from a Canadian insurance company that is valid for at least one year, providing a minimum coverage of $100,000 for health care, hospitalization, and repatriation;
- Undergo a medical examination.
Finally, the applicant’s family member in Canada must:
- Demonstrate that they are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
- Provide the applicant with a letter of invitation. This is a letter that provides information about the applicant’s planned visit, about the child or grandchild’s occupation and economic situation in Canada. Most importantly, this letter must include a written and signed promise of financial support for the applicant for the duration of their visit;
- Demonstrate their income is above a predetermined minimum level:
|Size of Family Unit||Minimum necessary gross income|
|1 person (your child or grandchild)||$24,949|
|More than 7 persons, for each additional person, add||$6,723|
It should be noted that holders of a Parent and Grandparent Super Visa have the rights and restrictions of a regular tourist visa holder, and as such cannot work or study while they are in Canada.
It should also be noted that it is possible to obtain a Super Visa even while an application for permanent residency is pending.