How can I bring my parents to Canada?
You can apply to bring your parents to Canada as visitors or sponsor them for permanent residence. The wait times for parental sponsorships are lengthy, so many people will bring their parents to Canada as visitors while they wait for the sponsorship application to be processed.
The Super Visa and Bringing your Parents to Canada as Visitors
There is a special visitor category for parents and grandparents called the super visa. Some super visa requirements are the same as a visitor visa, including ties to the home country and purpose of the visit; however, there are extra factors that are a little different with a super visa.
First, parents and grandparents who apply need to have a child or grandchild who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. If you are a temporary resident of Canada, your parents will need to apply under the general visitor visa category. Also, the super visa is only for parents and grandparents. Your siblings, even if they are dependent on your parents in your home country, cannot be included in the application.
Secondly, proof of financial ability to support the relative’s stay is required. The child or grandchild in Canada needs to demonstrate that they meet a minimum income threshold and provide a statement indicating that they can support their parents stay. The Canadian government defines how much income someone needs, based on their family size, and they publish it on their website. The requirements are updated each year so it is important to double check before you apply.
Your parents will also need to undergo an immigration medical examination and have valid Canadian medical insurance coverage for at least one year. There are many Canadian insurance providers who supply coverage at different price points. Before you purchase any insurance, make sure you double check that the insurance policy will cover everything that is needed specifically for the super visa.
What is the difference between a super visa and a visitor visa?
On top of the requirements above, there are two main differences that will help you decide whether you want to apply for a super visa, or whether a visitor visa might work for your family.
The super visa is multiple-entry (letting parents and grandparents leave and re-enter Canada) for up to 10 years total. This means that parents with a super visa will not need to get a new one for 10 years. Also, they can stay in Canada for up to two years at a time. On a visitor visa, the maximum stay is six months at a time before the visa holder needs to exit and re-enter Canada or apply to extend their stay.
The super visa might work for some families who want to bring their parents to Canada for visits but not completely relocate. If you want your parents or grandparents to be able to move to Canada permanently, you can sponsor them for permanent residence.
The parent and grandparent sponsorship program recently switched from a first-come, first-served application process to an invitation and random selection process. This means that Canadian children and grandchildren looking to sponsor their parents or grandparents need to first fill out a form telling Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) that they are interested in sponsoring. From there, IRCC will randomly select 10,000 applications each year and will invite families to apply. Once an invitation is received, a complete application package has to be submitted within three months.
To be eligible to sponsor, you need to show that you meet minimum income requirements (like we discussed for the super visa above) and will need to agree to support your relative for a period of three to 20 years, depending on the specifics of your situation. Your sponsored relatives will need to provide personal information for their application and will need to pass medical, criminality and security checks.
Earlier, we mentioned that any family members dependent on your parents or grandparents cannot be included in the super visa application. These dependent family members can be included in the sponsorship application.
The processing time for sponsorship applications submitted can be lengthy. As of the end of 2017, IRCC is working on applications that were submitted four years ago. The change in the invitation-based processing system is expected to cut down on the processing time, but we will have to wait to see how that plays out over the next couple of years as the government gets through its current backlog of applications.
The process for expressing your interest in sponsoring your parents or grandparents is closed for 2017, but it will reopen in 2018. If you are interested, make sure you are ready to submit your form when it reopens. If you are not selected in 2018, you can try again in 2019.
Since there are no guarantees how long it may take to sponsor your parents or grandparents given the current processing time and the invitation-based system, the super visa can be a great option to bring your family members to Canada while for them to obtain permanent residence.