The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced changes to the way applicants applying for a Super Visa can pay for their medical insurance coverage.
The applicant must have private medical insurance that meets all the following criteria to qualify for the Super Visa:
- It covers medical care, hospitalization, and repatriation;
- It provides at least $100,000 in emergency coverage
- The document is valid for a minimum of one year from the date of entry into Canada and can be reviewed by a border services officer upon re-entry.
IRCC announced in August that it would require annual upfront payments instead of monthly installments. For a 65-year-old, these payments average $1,500 and can be higher. In response to this change in policy, many people felt it was unfair to require payment upfront for a whole year, as they felt it would be financially burdensome. Furthermore, fewer Super Visas were granted to deserving families because they felt that it was punitive towards families that were seeking their reunitement but were unable to afford to pay for medical insurance upfront.
IRCC announced in December that it would be reversing its policy and that applicant would once again be able to pay for their insurance in monthly instalments. According to an IRCC spokesperson, the new rule was reversed in recognition of Canada’s strong emphasis on reuniting families.
There is a special visa that allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to bring their foreign parents and grandparents to Canada for up to five consecutive years without having to renew their visitor status. Super Visa holders are allowed to enter Canada multiple times for a period of up to ten years.
A Super Visa is an alternative to the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP), which grants permanent residence to applicants. Although the PGP is a very popular program, there are limited numbers of spots available. Additionally, IRCC holds a lottery in order to determine who will be able to apply for the program.
Compared to the PGP, the Super Visa has no lottery system, which gives greater certainty to people who want to sponsor their parents or grandparents to come to Canada. Additionally, the Super Visa processing usually takes a few months, while processing for the PGP may take years.
Super Visa Eligibility
- To qualify for the Super Visa, you must:
- Be the parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
- Have a signed letter from your child or grandchild inviting you to Canada;
- Provide documents that can prove the child or grandchild meets the Low-Income Cut-Off (LICO) minimum;
- Have proof of parental relationship with child and grandchild, such as a birth certificate; and
- Have proof of medical insurance coverage.
If a candidate is inadmissible to Canada due to criminality or health issues, they may not be eligible.
Super Visa Application
The application is processed at the Canadian visa office in the applicant’s country of residence outside Canada. Some visa offices may require additional documentation.
An application is then assessed based on several factors, including the purpose of the trip and the family member’s ties to home.