Seniors Look to Super Visa Program to Join Loved Ones in Canada

Hugo O'Doherty
Published: August 23, 2017

With Canada’s Parent and Grandparent sponsorship immigration program (PGP) currently closed for new applications, parents and grandparents who want to join their children and grandchildren in Canada may do so through the Super Visa program, which remains open.

The Super Visa allows individuals multiple entries to Canada for a period up to 10 years. The key difference between a Super Visa and a visitor visa is that a Super Visa allows its bearer to stay for up to two years on initial entry into Canada, while a 10-year multiple entry visitor visa would only have a status period for six months on each entry.

Nearly 90,000 Super Visas have been issued since the program was first launched in late 2011, with around 40 percent of visas granted to citizens of India. Other Asian countries, including China, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Bangladesh also dominate the most common nationalities of Super Visa holders.

However, it should be noted that the Super Visa program places no requirement on an applicant’s nationality.

Super Visa PGP
Current status Open for new applications Closed for new applications
Application type Received and reviewed by visa officer Expression of Interest / Random invitation system
Processing time 8-10 weeks average IRCC currently working on applications received in 2014
Can a successful applicant work in Canada? No Yes
Income requirement of child/grandchild in Canada Low Income Cut-Off (LICO), covering 1 year LICO plus 30 percent, covering 3 years
Health care coverage Private Access to public system
Status in Canada Temporary Permanent

“The introduction of Super Visa was one of the more successful initiatives launched by the previous government, as it allows immigrant families across Canada to integrate more easily. Families can continue a tradition of having older family members help with raising children while the parents earn a living,” says Attorney David Cohen.

“By introducing the Super Visa, the government also mitigated what was at that time a bloated backlog in applications submitted under the Parent and Grandparent Program. Thankfully, that backlog has been greatly reduced over the past few years.”

Contrast with the PGP

Permanent residents of Canada may work and have access to the public health care, whereas Super Visa holders may not work and must have private health insurance covering the duration of their stay.

However, the application process for a Super Visa is speedier and more straightforward. Depending on their nationality and the visa office where the application is processed, eligible applicants can expect their application to be processed in around two months. In addition, the income requirements are less onerous under the Super Visa program; sponsors under the PGP must prove a minimum income level that is 30 percent higher than what is required under the Super Visa program, and for a period covering three years, rather than just one year under the Super Visa program.

Further, the latest PGP intake included a registration period, during which interested potential sponsors were required to submit an ‘Interest to Sponsor’ form before Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) randomly selected a portion of potential applicants from this group. Ultimately, 10,000 sponsors were invited to apply to the program, from a pool of around 95,000 who had submitted the form.

Canada’s 2017 Immigration Levels Plan sets a target to welcome 20,000 new parents and grandparents as permanent residents in 2017. This target allows the government to reduce the existing backlog, work on new applications, and potentially welcome more applications with another invitation round.

In certain cases, Super Visa holders may go on to be sponsored for permanent residence under the PGP.

Super Visas granted since 2012, top source countries
India 35,761
China 16,651
Pakistan 5,047
Philippines 5,326
Bangladesh 2,234
Sri Lanka 1,867
Iran 1,623
Vietnam 1,524
Nepal 1,279
Russia 1,036
All countries 88,891

Super Visa Eligibility

To apply for the Super Visa, applicants must:

  • Have a child or grandchild who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident residing in Canada;
  • Provide a written commitment of financial support from a Canadian child or grandchild in Canada who meets the Minimum Necessary Income for the Super Visa (see below);
  • Purchase Canadian medical insurance coverage for at least one year; and
  • Be medically, criminally and otherwise admissible to Canada.

Minimum income threshold

Size of Family Unit Minimum Necessary Income
1 person (the child or grandchild in Canada) $24,600
2 persons $30,625
3 persons $37,650
4 persons $45,712
5 persons $51,846
6 persons $58,473
7 or more persons $65,101
More than 7 persons, for each additional person, add $6,628
If you are interested in the Super Visa program, either as a Canadian citizen or permanent resident or as an international parent or grandparent, please take note of the eligibility requirements above and send a detailed email to
To find out if you or your family members are eligible for the Parent and Grandparent Program based on the eligibility criteria for the most recent application cycle, please fill out a free online assessment.

© 2017 CICNews All Rights Reserved

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