The number of immigrants in Canada is at an all time high, and sustained immigration efforts mean that this number will only continue to grow. In fact, data from the most recent census shows that about 1 in every 5 Canadian residents were born outside of Canada.
With so many foreign-born residents, it is no surprise that family-based immigration programs are incredibly popular. Many immigrants are eager to find new ways to bring their loved ones to live with them in Canada. While Family Class Sponsorship is available for spouses/common law partners and children, there is currently a moratorium on applications to sponsor parents or grandparents.
Fortunately, in December 2011 a new program was created to help parents and grandparents of Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents come to Canada. This program, called the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa, has seen great success - in its first 6 months of operation alone, over 3,500 visas were issued to qualified applicants.
What is a Super Visa?
The Super Visa program is a path for applicants to gain long-term visitor status in Canada. Under normal circumstances, visitors are admitted to Canada for only six month stays.
The Super Visa provides an alternative. It is “super” because it allows parents/grandparents of Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents to stay in Canada for up to 2 years at a time without the need to renew. When the time comes, they may renew their visa for up to 10 years, with multiple entries allowed during the entire time period.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has committed to minimizing processing times for this visa. Their stated goal is to issue a decision within 8 weeks of receiving an application. Those who apply have a strong chance of success, as the program has had an 83% application approval rate.
Who Does the Super Visa Benefit?
The Super Visa can benefit any foreign parent/grandparent of a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident. It is particularly useful for parents/grandparents who are nationals of a country that requires a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada. By obtaining a Super Visa, they will be able to travel freely between Canada and their country of residence without the worry and hassle of regularly re-applying for a TRV.
Individuals from TRV-exempt countries such as the US and UK can also benefit from this program. In place of a visa, they can receive an official letter from the Canadian government which authorizes their stay for a period of 2 years at a time.
The Super Visa Application
The Super Visa application process is very straightforward. In terms of forms and required documents, it is similar to that of a TRV application. However, a few additional items are required to demonstrate that the applicant will be supported while in Canada. These include:
- A letter of invitation from the child or grandchild residing in Canada
- Documents that the child or grandchild meets the Canadian Low Income Cut-off minimum
- Proof of relationship to the child/grandchild, such as a birth certificate that names the parent
- Proof of medical insurance for 1 year with a Canadian insurance company
Medical insurance is required because, as visitors, individuals sponsored through this program are not eligible to receive Canadian healthcare.
The Super Visa’s Reception in Canada
Given its many benefits, it is no surprise that the Super Visa has become extremely popular. According to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, the program is reflective of Canada’s value system, which cherishes family connections.
“Our government is committed to reunification,” Kenney stated. “I’m happy to see that the program is growing and that more and more eligible parents and grandparents are getting the opportunity to spend longer periods of time with their loved ones in Canada.”
Attorney David Cohen has witnessed firsthand the growing popularity of the Super Visa.
“As word spreads among Canadian immigrant communities, more and more people have been contacting me looking to bring their parents and grandparents to Canada,” he says. “It is incredibly gratifying to see people apply, and only a few short months later be welcoming their family members to Canada.”
To learn more about the Super Visa program, please contact us today.