Immigrating to a new country almost invariably involves leaving family and friends behind. However difficult this might be for anyone going through that process, there are now options for newcomers to Canada to spend more time with loved ones. As a matter of fact, in 2011, Canada introduced the super visa program to allow Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor their parents and grandparents for an extended stay of up to two years.

To assess if the super visa is the best solution for you when visiting your family in Canada, it is important to look at the following three variables:

1- Validity of the visa

Unlike a regular visitors’ visa or the 10-year multiple entry visa which is valid for up to six months, super visa applicants can get an extended visitors’ visa. The super visa allows multiple entries for stays of up to two consecutive years per visit for a maximum validity period of up to 10 years. On a regular visa, the visitor will need to apply for an extension and pay a fee to prolong their stay in the country.

2- Eligibility

Although almost every tourist who fulfills the basic requirements can be granted a regular visitors’ visa or a Temporary Resident Visa, the same does not apply for the super visa. Only parents or grandparents of Canadian citizen or permanent resident are eligible for this special visa. However, there are certain additional aspects that will be assessed in the application for the super visa such as:
– Purpose of the visit;
– Political situation and economic stability of the home country;
– Ties to the home country (e.g.: assets, family ties, real estate, retirement pension, etc.);
– Finances of the applicant;
– Proper travel insurance coverage by a Canadian insurer;
– Health status based on a medical examination.

3- Processing time

Sponsoring a parent or grandparent who is applying for a Permanent Resident Visa can take well over four years at the minimum. While waiting for the permanent residency application to be processed, parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents can apply for the super visa which normally takes 8-10 weeks to be processed. Note that applying for the super visa does not affect the process of sponsoring a parent for permanent residency. In fact, having the super visa will allow for extended stays in Canada while the application for permanent residency is still in progress.

Since the launch of the super visa program, 89 000 visitors have been granted the super visa to visit children and grandchildren in Canada . Before jumping on a plane to reunite with your family, you must meet a few requirements in order to qualify for the super visa. In addition to the actual visa application form, here is a checklist of all necessary documents to submit with your application:

Proof of family ties
In the application, you will have to provide proof, such as a birth certificate, that you are the parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Travel document
Every visitor, regardless of the visa status, must present a valid travel document such as a passport in order to enter Canada. Since the visa is valid for up to 10 years or up to the validity of the passport, it is recommended to apply with a new passport to take advantage of the full validity of the super visa.

Letter of invitation
Your child or grandchild must produce a letter of invitation indicating:
• The purpose of the applicant’s visit;
• The occupation and economic situation of the child or grandchild in Canada hosting the applicant substantiated by additional documents such as a Certificate of employment, the latest income tax statements and property titles (if any);
• A document to certify the minimum income threshold of the child or grandchild to demonstrate that the income is above the Low Income Cut-Off. This information can be included in a Letter of Financial Support attesting that the host (child or grandchild) will provide financial support to the applicant for the entire duration of their stay.
The Government of Canada website offers a more thorough description of what is required in the Letter of invitation. Keep in mind that it is possible that some visa offices ask for a notary public to notarize the Letter of Invitation.

source : https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/application/application-forms-guides/guide-5256-applying-visitor-visa-temporary-resident-visa.html#appendixA

Travel Insurance
Contrary to other visa types, applicants to the super visa must show proof of a comprehensive travel insurance coverage by a Canadian Insurer. The plan must provide for a medical coverage of $100,000 minimum (for health care, hospitalization and repatriation) and it must cover for at least one year. Super visa applicants, just like regular tourists, are not eligible for provincial health care plans, hence the need to purchase private health insurance from a Canadian travel insurance provider.

Medical Examination
Applicants for the super visa must perform an upfront medical examination from a doctor appointed by the visa office of the government of Canada (see the list of appointed physicians). A copy of the Upfront Medical Report form must be submitted with the application in order to be eligible for the super visa.

It is a very precious gift to be able to spend quality time with children and grandchildren after they have immigrated to a new country. Take the first step towards a successful application for the super visa by reaching out to a travel insurance representative and subscribing to a travel insurance now.