December 1, 2011 marked the availability of a new option for temporary residency – the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa. The Super Visa grants qualifying parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents a 10 year visitor visa valid for entry into Canada as temporary residents for periods of up to two-years at a time. Spouses or common law partners can accompany the visa holder, however dependent children may not. Dependents must apply for a visa separately. The Super Visa is different from a common multiple-entry visa, which is usually granted for a shorter validity period and requires holders to renew their temporary resident status every six months if they wish to continue their visit.
The Super Visa was announced on November 5th, the same day Citizenship and Immigration Canada commenced what could be as long as a 24-month pause on the processing of new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents, as part of an initiative to ease the backlog of these applications. This means that citizens and permanent residents of Canada may not apply as a sponsor for their parents or grandparents until the government resumes this option.
A visa officer at a Canadian Embassy or Consulate generally considers Super Visa applications. The applicant must be admissible to Canada and show that their true intention is to visit. Factors such as the reason for visiting, connections to the home country, as well as the economic and political stability of the home country can factor into the visa officer’s decision.
Parents and grandparents from countries whose citizens do not require a visa to enter Canada, but wish to have the option of temporary resident status for two-year periods, may also apply for the Super Visa. Those already in Canada on a six-month visit can apply within Canada to extend their stay for up to two years if they meet the same conditions required for the Super Visa.
The Super Visa application requires, among other things, documentation to prove that the child or grandchild who is extending the invitation meets the Low Income Cut-Off guidelines, the relationship between the applicant and their child or grandchild, that the visitor has purchased at least one year of medical insurance and has completed an Immigration Medical Examination. The expected time-frame for processing a Super Visa application is eight weeks.