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Are You Eligible to Come to Canada? Information for Immediate or Extended Family Members of Canadian Permanent Residents and Citizens

Are You Eligible to Come to Canada? Information for Immediate or Extended Family Members of Canadian Permanent Residents and Citizens

Are you a Canadian citizen or permanent resident presently outside Canada or the immediate or extended family member of CC/PR who is living in Canada?

The pandemic has impacted global migration patterns over the past 12 months. Many countries, including Canada, have imposed travel and border restrictions as a measure to control the flow of people and the COVID-19 virus. If you are thinking of travelling to Canada at this time, there are some important facts to know.

This short article will provide clarity on regulations that are fast changing, complex, and confusing. This article will examine who can travel and enter Canada as of March 1, 2021. We will focus on immediate and extended family members of Canadians or permanent residents who are in Canada, and if eligible to travel, what must be done prior to entering Canada.

First, ask yourself the following question:

Are you a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or a foreign national?

(A foreign national is someone who is not a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen.)

You can travel to and enter Canada if you’re a

  • Canadian citizen (CC) or permanent resident (PR) 
  • Dual Canadian citizen with valid passport or special authorization*
  • Permanent resident of Canada
  • Person registered under Canada’s Indian Act
  • Protected person

* Dual Canadian citizens need a valid Canadian passport 

Example: John is a Canadian citizen who has lived outside Canada for 15 years. He is eligible to return to Canada. Sarah is a permanent resident of Canada and has been working on her Master’s in the U.K. for one year. She is eligible to return to Canada (be careful of residency obligations if you are a permanent resident and outside of Canada for more than two years in a five-year period). But remember there are steps that must be done before entering.

Can a foreign national travel and enter?

The answer is yes, if they are eligible. To be eligible, the foreign national must the following requirements (if eligible, there are still steps to complete PRIOR to entering):

  • Be an immediate or extended family member of a Canadian citizen
  • Person registered under the Canada’s Indian Act,
  • Or permanent resident who is staying in Canada for 15 days or more?

Are you one of those persons? Please note if you are an immediate family member of someone who is in Canada temporarily you may also be eligible.

This article will focus on Canadians and Permanent residents and their immediate family members.

What does “immediate and extended family member mean”?

Immediate family member includes: a spouse or common-law partner, dependent child (yours, your spouse’s, or common-law partner’s), dependent child of a dependent child, parent or step-parents, guardian or tutor.

Extended family member includes someone you are in an exclusive dating relationship for at least one year and resided physically with for some time (both of you are 18 years of age or over), a non-dependent adult child, a grandchild (dependent child of adult non-dependent child), a sibling, half- or step-sibling, grandparents. Extended family member also includes (if related to the spouse of a CC, or PR), a non-dependent adult child, grandchild (of a non-dependent adult child) sibling, half-sibling or step-sibling, or grandparent (see links for more details). If related to someone in an exclusive dating relationship with someone who is a CC or PR, you must be a dependent child, non-dependent child (adult child) or grandchild (dependent child of a non-dependent adult child).

*other categories that may be eligible.

Information on all of these categories can be reviewed here.

We are focusing on immediate and extended family members for now! Watch for a part two in this series, which will focus on other categories.

Confused?  Let’s discuss some examples.

a) Maria, a foreign national, is the 21-year daughter and her Canadian citizen father lives in Canada. Maria’s parents divorced when she was a child, and her father later immigrated to Canada. She and her siblings were non-accompanying dependents. Maria is in her third year of college and her Canadian citizen father pays for her school expenses and living costs. Maria qualifies as an immediate family member. (Be sure to check out the definition of dependent child   https://www.canada.ca/en/services/immigration-citizenship/helpcentre/glossary.html#dependent_child)

b) Larry is the 8-month-old son of Maria. He qualifies as an immediate family member as he is the dependent of a dependent child. 

c) Gina is the girlfriend of a permanent resident (Juan) of Canada. Both are over the age of 18. Juan has been a permanent resident of Canada for 10 years and in January 2019, obtained a job in Mexico. He met Gina, a Mexican national, in the same month and they later moved in together in September 2019. Juan returned to Canada in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic. Gina now wishes to visit Juan and is eligible because they are in an exclusive dating relationship for over one year and resided together for part of that time. 

d) Amal’s parents, who are Canadian citizens, live in Canada. Amal is 42 years of age and lives in India. She is a non-dependent adult child of her Canadian citizen parents and meets the definition of extended family member.

e) Amal’s 38-year-old cousin, Sanjay wishes to visit his aunt and uncle in Canada. He does not qualify as an extended family member as he is the nephew of Canadian citizen.

f) Amal’s aunt, Serena, is 78 years of age and lives in New Delhi. She wants to visit her sister in Canada. Serena qualifies as an extended family member, as she is the sibling of a Canadian citizen.

g) Melissa, an Irish citizen, is married to a Canadian citizen, who is in the process of sponsoring her. They both reside in Canada. Melissa is currently a visitor in Canada. Her adult son, John, lives in Dublin wishes to visit her. He qualifies as an extended family member because he is related to the spouse of a Canadian citizen.

h) Emily is an Irish citizen and has been in Canada as a visitor for over one year. She just started dating Danny, a Canadian citizen last month. Her son Sean wishes to visit her in Canada. He does not qualify as an extended family member as Melissa has not been in an exclusive dating relationship with her Canadian boyfriend for a year.

If you fall within the definition of immediate or extended family member, and are travelling to Canada, you must show evidence you will stay for more than 15 days and that your travel is for a non-discretionary purpose.

You have confirmed that you are a CC/PR, or an immediate/extended family member of one. What do you next? 

1. You need to make sure you have a valid travel document.
2. You need to make sure you have the appropriate visa to enter if you are a foreign national.
3. You need to make sure you have the documents to prove your relationship to your relative if you are an immediate or extended family member and also prove their status in Canada (for example a Canadian passport, or PR card, birth/marriage certificates).
4. If you are an extended family member, you must include an authorization and statutory declaration form (NOT needed for immediate family members). Follow these links for forms and instructions for you and your relative.
Reuniting with an adult – If the person you’re reuniting with in Canada is 18 years or older 
Reuniting with a minor – If the person you’re reuniting with in Canada is under the age of 18
6. You must have a quarantine plan and new instructions include registration at an approved “quarantine hotel’ in Canada for 3 days until the results of your COVID-19 test, taken when you entered Canada, are received. Assess your quarantine plan before you travel
7. Reserve your 3 night hotel stay
8. Travellers 5 years or older, must provide a negative COVID-19 test result prior to departing for Canada.  Get your pre-entry COVID-19 test.
9. Take a COVID-19 test upon entry. Register in advance for your arrival test to avoid line ups at the airport on arrival.

Airport
At the airport, have your “ArriveCan receipt” and pre-entry test results ready to provide to the airline. Airlines will be checking to see if you meet all the necessary requirements, including the items noted above. An outline is available at this link.  
It is prudent to review your documents and ensure you have all the necessary items. If unsure, confirm with an immigration and citizenship consultant. 
Remember the airlines have final discretion to admit you on the flight. Maintain your composure if there is an issue and note down any concerns or missing items.
Driving to Canada
Prior to arriving, check for any provincial or territorial restrictions, assess your quarantine plan, complete a pre-entry COVID-19 test, register in advance for your arrival test and use the ARRIVECan app to submit your travel and quarantine plan. See the checklist above for links. You will be required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and then proceed to your quarantine location for 14 days. 
If you are unsure of the steps or process involved, please contact one of the consultants listed on the MyConsultant.ca  

Some final thoughts:
1. Think about postponing your trip to Canada at this time, as travel generally discouraged right now.
2. If you must travel, and meet the requirements, ensure you obtain all the necessary documents and prepare well in advance of your departure date.
3. Returning Canadians and permanent residents are required to have COVID-19 tests pre- and post-entry and have a quarantine plan in place. 
4. Have your documentation ready to present at the airport prior to departure and again on entry, or if driving by car, to land border officials.
5. There are other categories, some exemptions, and many other details not covered in this article. Be sure to check with the Canadian government  
6. Double and triple check all requirements and have an immigration and citizenship consultant review the checklist with you.
7. Maintain your composure, and if there is a conflict or discrepancy, note what is missing or required.
8. Practice all the required protocols such as wearing a mask, washing your hands, and physical distancing when able.
9. Stay safe and best wishes in your journey.

Please note the information in this article is current at the time of writing (March 1, 2021) and information is changes quickly. The writer of this article and CAPIC take no responsibility for any changes to information proved or inadvertent errors. Once again, here is a link to the Canadian government’s website and link to the list of immigration consultants in MyConsultant.ca.

Stayed tuned for future articles on other categories, exemptions, and quarantining! 


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