Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens usually only get to visit their family members for six months at a time because an ordinary visa expires after this time. However, Canada offers the Super Visa program for people who can prove that they have children or grandchildren living in Canada and that they have the means to support themselves in their home countries. Canadian law requires that visitors with these long-term visas have stable income and places of residence back home and that they can purchase health insurance from the Canadian marketplace.
BECOMING ELIGIBLE FOR THE SUPER VISA
The requirement is to have $100,000 of health insurance, and visitors on the Super Visa program are responsible for obtaining their own insurance. In other words, the government of Canada doesn’t offer an insurance exchange service. The program allows parents and grandparents to visit their families for up to two years at a time, and the visa lasts for 10 years or until one month before the applicant’s passport expires, whichever date comes first. The benefits of this deal are that visitors don’t have to spend nearly as much time applying for visas, and they don’t have to worry about applying for citizenship or a dual residency. It’s a program that’s especially designed for people with families permanently living in Canada, and it provides benefits to anyone who is normally limited to six-month stays in the country.
It even benefits people from visa-exempt countries who are normally only allowed to stay in Canada for six months because they will then be allowed to stay for two years at a time. At the end of the 10-year period, the applicant must apply for a new visa, renewing his or her Canadian health insurance policy. The policy must cover general health care, doctor’s visits, emergency services, hospitalization and, in the event that the visitor must return to his or her home country for additional treatment, repatriation. This simple requirement is actually a smart precaution to take because it saves visitors from the difficulty of paying for a medical emergency during an extended stay. For example, if the visitor has a serious medical problem that requires a stay in the hospital, the insurance policy from his or her home country most likely doesn’t cover it because it happens outside the approved healthcare network. Because it isn’t even in the same country, insurance from a Canadian insurer is the only way to provide this coverage.
WHAT IS THE REASONING BEHIND CANADA’S POLICY?
This requirement makes sense from the point of view of the Canadian government because the parents and grandparents of adults living in Canada are more likely to require medical treatment than younger people, and the complications of relying on foreign health coverage prevent visitors from staying on their current plans. Being able to visit family in Canada for up to two years makes a major difference when holidays and other special events are taken into consideration. For example, weddings, birthdays, graduation ceremonies and summer vacations usually don’t fall within a six-month window, and the Super Visa program allows people to schedule their lives at a more comfortable pace without trying to cram every event into one short visit. When it comes to taking a meaningful vacation in Canada to visit one’s children or grandchildren, having enough time to just enjoy the everyday activities can make the difference between a memorable vacation and a forgettable one.
During a two-year stay in Canada, visitors can partake in many of the same activities as Canadian citizens, although they can’t actually claim citizenship. They don’t owe taxes to the Canadian government unless they earn money in the country, and then they may have to pay taxes to Canada as well as to their home countries. It’s just one consideration to make when planning a trip to visit relatives in this country, and taking the time to plan an enjoyable visit allows parents and grandparents to spend more time with their Canadian family members.