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?
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
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).
- A person who is authorized by the Public Health Agency of Canada to travel to Canada for compassionate reasons*
- All other foreign nationals*
*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.