Canada offers a Super Visa, with which parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or (permanent) residents are allowed to stay in Canada for two years in a row per visit. Presently, there is a law in the making that will relax this visa’s requirements. Read more about this visa and what steps to take to travel to Canada.
Difference between PGP and Super Visa
Canada has two different visas for (temporary) the reunion of direct family members (parents and grandparents), the afore mentioned Parent and grandparent Super Visa, and the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP). To avoid confusion, the difference between these will be explained here. The PGP is a visa with an unlimited period of validity, and is once a year handed to a limited number of Canadian citizens based on a lottery. They have the option to indicate wanting to receive the visa to let their parents or grandparents immigrate to Canada. It is appointed through a lottery system because there is always a higher demand than there are available visas. They chose to do a lottery, to give every applicant an equal chance, and not let it come to a ‘first come, first served’ process.
Other than the PGP, the Super Visa can be applied for by all parents or grandparents of a Canadian civilian or permanent resident of Canadian. The visa can be applied for at any time, but the validity and maximum duration of stay are limited. The total validity period is 10 years, and a family member with this visa can only stay in Canada for two consecutive years per visit. Be aware, however, that a short trip abroad to reinstate the two-year residence permit may raise suspicions with the Canadian immigration authorities. To qualify for a Super Visa, parents and grandparents must have insurance from a Canadian insurance company. If you and your family do not mind leaving every two years, this is a suitable visa.
Both visas have some similar requirements, such as an income requirement and other financial security that the resident must have. The specific criteria can be found on the Canadian government website. Please take a look at this carefully before applying.
Want to be with family from abroad? Apply for visa or eTA Canada
Relaxation of Super Visa requirements
Canadian politician Kyle Seeback recently proposed a bill for a number of relaxations of the Super Visa. Among other things, he wants to extend the maximum permitted period of stay from two to five years. He also wants to make it possible for parents and grandparents to buy insurance outside Canada, and proposes to lower the minimum income limit for the child or grandchild in Canada. The bill still needs to be reviewed and approved by a number of agencies before it actually becomes law. There were some doubts about the feasibility of relaxing the insurance requirement. Seeback says that for this to happen, a system needs to be built with an international agreement between foreign insurance companies. So, it will most likely be some years before (grand)parents can enjoy the new, more relaxed conditions. As soon as more information is known, it will be published on this website.
Alternative: eTA Canada
If you do not qualify for a PGP or Super Visa, you can still visit your family in Canada. For example, it is possible with a different type of visa or with an eTA. The eTA is a travel permit intended primarily for business trips and holidays to Canada. The eTA has a validity period of 5 years, during which you may travel to Canada an unlimited number of times. The maximum duration of stay per visit is 6 months.
This makes the eTA Canada a nice alternative to frequently visit your family without having to emigrate. Moreover, the eTA is cheaper than the PGP and Super Visa, and does not come with income requirements. There are, of course, other requirements for it. For example, you are not allowed to take a paid job at a Canadian company. The eTA Canada application can be completed entirely online. The average delivery time of the eTA is 5 days, but it can take longer in exceptional cases. For that, it is important to be well-prepared, and to apply for your eTA well on time to avoid the risk of receiving it too late.