Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced changes to the way Super Visa applicants pay for their medical insurance.
To be eligible for a Super Visa, the applicant must have private medical insurance that meets all of the following criteria:
- It covers the applicant for health care, hospitalization and repatriation;
- It offers a minimum of $100,000 of emergency coverage; And
- It is valid for at least 1 year from the date of entry into Canada and is available for review by a Border Services Officer upon request upon re-entry into Canada.
While applicants were previously allowed to pay for insurance in monthly installments, the IRCC announced in August that it would require annual upfront payments. These payments average $1,500 for a 65-year-old and can be higher for older individuals.
This change in policy received backlash from people arguing that the requirement of advance payments for the entire year was financially burdensome. Furthermore, many thought it was punitive towards families who were seeking reunification but could not afford to pay in advance for medical coverage, which led to fewer Super Visa applications being granted to eligible families.
In December, the IRCC announced that it was reversing the policy and that applicants would once again be able to pay for insurance in monthly installments. An IRCC spokesman said the new rule was overturned in recognition of the importance Canada places on reuniting families.
What is Super Visa?
The Super Visa allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to bring their foreign parents and grandparents to Canada for five consecutive years without having to renew their visitor status. Super Visa holders can enter Canada multiple times for up to 10 years.
The Super Visa is an alternative to the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP), which grants permanent residency to its applicants. Although PGP is very popular, there is a limited amount of spots available. In addition, IRCC conducts a lottery to determine who will be able to apply for the program.
In comparison, there is no lottery system for the Super Visa, which provides more certainty to those who want to sponsor a parent or grandparent to come to Canada. Furthermore, Super Visa processing usually takes a few months, while PGP processing can take years.
Are you eligible for Super Visa?
To be eligible for a Super Visa, you must
- be a parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
- Receive a signed letter from your child or grandchild inviting you to Canada;
- Provide documentation that can prove that the child or grandchild meets the low-income cut-off (LICO) minimum;
- Have proof of the parent’s relationship with the child and grandchild, such as a birth certificate; And
- Proof of medical insurance coverage.
An applicant may not be eligible if they are inadmissible to Canada based on criminality or medical issues.
How to apply for Super Visa
Once you have all the required documents, the application is processed at the Canadian Visa Office in the applicant’s place of residence outside Canada. Some visa offices may require additional documentation.
The application is then assessed based on a number of factors such as the purpose of the visit to Canada and whether the family member has sufficient ties to their home country.
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