The government of Canada has been working on an “Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification” and as the first step have introduced the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa. Using this visa, the parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents can stay in Canada for up to 24 months. They will not be required to renew their status during this period.
The visa procedures under the Family Class at present have the parents and grandparents waiting for around eight years or more for visas to be granted. The processing time for the Super Visa is expected to be only eight weeks.
As of December 01, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has begun accepting applications for the Super Visa. Per the CIC, a person has to meet the following eligibility requirements in order to be able to file an application:
- Be a parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
- Provide a written commitment of financial support from their child or grandchild in Canada, including proof that the child or grandchild meets the minimum necessary income (Low Income Cut-Off);
- Undergo the Immigration Medical Examination;
- Submit proof that they have purchased comprehensive Canadian medical insurance, valid for at least one year; and
- Satisfy the visa officer that they meet all other standard admissibility criteria.
The Super Visa is a multi-entry visa and, on each entry, the visa holder can stay in Canada for up to 2 years. Current visas allow visitors to stay in Canada for six months at a time only. They are expected to renew their visa every six months by filing an application and paying a fee. The Super Visa does away with the necessity for a parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to apply for renewals and pay multiple fees. In fact, the applicants can opt for a single-entry or a multi-entry Super Visa per their choice.
The only drawback may be that dependents of the parents or grandparents are not eligible for the Super Visa. Only the spouse or common-law partner is allowed to accompany the Super Visa holder. Other dependents may apply for the regular visitor visas.
Eligible parents and grandparents who are already in Canada may apply for an extension for a period of two years by filing an application at the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta. Applications are reviewed on a case by case basis.