Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has released new guidelines and a new process for uniting family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents during COVID-19.  Several months ago, when the border closures began, some exemptions were made for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.  The October 8 2020 changes update and broaden those exemptions.

Immediate Family Members:

Who is an Immediate Family Member

Covid-19 and the uniting of family in Canada has a framework of family members.  As before, foreign nationals whose immediate family member is Canadian can enter Canada, if they also possess the appropriate visa or other travel document.  An immediate family member includes:

  • a spouse or common-law partner
  • a dependent child
  • a dependent child of a dependent child
  • a parent or step-parent

Previously foreign nationals under this exemption coming from any country other than the United States also needed to be traveling for a purpose that was essential or non-discretionary (e.g. not tourism, recreation or entertainment).  Now that requirement is done away with, as long as the foreign national will be staying in Canada for 15 days or more.  This aligns with Canada’s 14-day Mandatory Isolation requirement for almost all travelers.

How to Enter Canada

Foreign nationals whose immediate family member is a Canadian must still apply for the appropriate visa or travel document as necessary in their situation.  You may want to consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer to know what type of application is appropriate in your circumstances.

A foreign national relying on this exemption must also provide evidence

  1. That their family member is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (such as a copy of their passport or PR card), and
  2. Of the immediate family relationship (such as marriage or birth certificates)

 

Extended Family Members

Who is an Extended Family Member

Covid-19 and the uniting of family in Canada is more viable with the October 8 2020https://youtu.be/JytJO7qfSX8 new rules.  The new rules also put a process in place for extended family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents to come to Canada.  An extended family member is someone who is

  • in an exclusive dating relationship with the person (the relationship must be at least 1 year old, and involved some time of physical presence together)
  • a non-dependent child
  • in some instances a grandchild
  • a sibling, half-sibling or step-sibling
  • a grandparent

There are also further exemptions for the extended family members of significant others of Canadians.

How to Enter Canada

To enter Canada, you must get written authorization first.  This requires you and your Canadian family member to prepare and sign an application for authorization and statutory declaration (IMM 0006) form found on the IRCC website.  Your Canadian family member must sign the form in the presence an authorized person, like a notary or a lawyer.  Finally you must submit this form to the IRCC.  If approved, they will send your written authorization.

You will still need a valid visitor visa or other travel document to enter Canada.  If you have not applied for one already, you should include the IMM 0006 form in the application, so the IRCC may decide both at the same time.

If you have already applied for a visitor visa but it has not been issued yet, you can still submit the IMM 0006.  Details for how are on the IRCC website.

If everything is approved, you will need to bring your valid visa and written authorization when entering Canada.  Airline officials may also request additional proof of your family relationship to a Canadian, and proof that you will be in Canada for at least 15 days, so be prepared to bring evidence of this as well.

 

Reuniting with an Immediate Family Member who is a Temporary Resident in Canada

If your immediate family member is a temporary resident in Canada (i.e. worker, student or visitor), you may now be able to visit them.  The same definition of Immediate Family Member from before applies here as well.  An immediate family member includes:

  • a spouse or common-law partner
  • a dependent child
  • a dependent child of a dependent child
  • a parent or step-parent

Your reason for coming to Canada must be essential and non-discretionary (not tourism, recreation or entertainment).  Coming to Canada to live with a spouse or common-law partner is an acceptable reason in some circumstances.

All foreign nationals still require a valid visa to enter Canada.

Traveling from the United States

Travelers coming from the United States do not need written authorization, but do still need an appropriate visa to enter Canada.  You may also be asked to provide evidence of your immediate family relationship (e.g. marriage or birth certificates), and your immediate family member’s status (e.g. a copy of their work or study permit).

Traveling from all other countries

Travelers coming from any country other than the United States must have written authorization, in addition to the appropriate visa for their situation.

Getting written authorization requires you and your immediate family member in Canada to prepare and sign an application for authorization and statutory declaration (IMM 0006) form found on the IRCC website.  Your immediate family member must sign the form in the presence of an authorized person, like a notary or a lawyer.  Finally you must submit this form to the IRCC.  If approved, they will send your written authorization.

You will still need a valid visitor visa or other travel document to enter Canada.  If you have not applied for one already, you should include the IMM 0006 form in the application, so the IRCC may decide both at the same time.

If you have already applied for a visitor visa but it has not been issued yet, you can still submit the IMM 0006.  Details for how are on the IRCC website.

If everything is approved, you will need to bring your valid visa and written authorization when entering Canada.  Airline officials may also request additional proof of your family relationship to a Canadian, and proof that you will be in Canada for at least 15 days, so be prepared to bring evidence of this as well.

Next Step: Reviewing Documents and Submitting

If you require assistance with the process such as notarization of the required imm 0006 form, or advice on getting a relative to visit Canada, contact us.

 

 

 

The Immigration Webinar You Can't Miss on March 21 2024 at 1800 (i.e. 6 pm ET)

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