Canada’s Super Visa is a temporary visa that may be an attractive option for Canadians who wish to bring their foreign parents and grandparents to Canada.
In contrast to the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP), which is a permanent residency pathway, the Super Visa is a multi-entry visitor visa that is valid for up to 10 years. Holders may enter Canada for up to two years at a time without needing to renew their visa.
The number of people interested in the PGP demonstrates there is a large demand to bring parents and grandparents to Canada. For 2020 and 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) received about 200,000 interest to sponsor forms for the PGP. These are not applications for the program, rather they represent families who want the opportunity to apply for the PGP. Currently, there are some 35,000 applications for the PGP in the IRCC inventory, a fraction of the total who want to apply.
In recent years, IRCC has held a lottery to decide who gets to apply for the PGP. Critics say the lottery system is unfair, as those who have just entered the pool of candidates may be picked over those who have been waiting for years. However, in defence of the lottery system, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has said it puts everyone an equal footing even if it does not benefit everyone. Other methods of intake, namely first come-first served, favoured PGP applicants with faster internet connections or who live closer to processing centres. In 2019, the number of spots available for PGP applicants filled up in less than 11 minutes after the online application portal was opened.
There is no lottery to get a Super Visa, and therefore it offers greater certainty to families. Super Visas allow for parents and grandparents to have more time in Canada compared to regular visitor visas.
With visitor visas, you may get single entry visas that allow you to stay for up to six months. If you wish to stay longer, you need to re-apply. There are multiple entry visitor visas, which are valid for up to 10 years and allow you to enter Canada for up to six months at a time. You do not need to re-apply for a visitor visa until the validity period has passed.
Super Visas are multiple entry visas. They are valid for 10 years and allow you to stay in Canada for up to two years at a time without needing renewal.
It takes less time to get a Super Visa compared to a PGP. Super Visa processing can take months whereas PGP processing can take years. IRCC currently has a backlog in applications. The government’s website is saying PGP application can take 32 months to process. Super Visa applications are being processed at different rates depending on where the applicant is applying from, but applications from many countries are reportedly taking about 100 days.
Not to mention, if you apply for a Super Visa, it can allow you to stay in Canada while you undertake the PGP application process. A lawyer can help you with both applications.