If you have family in Canada, you may be exempt from coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
You may even be allowed to reunite with your family members who are temporary residents in Canada.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has policies in place to address family separation. However, there are some conditions that affect foreign nationals’ ability to travel, even to see family.
All non-essential travelers to Canada are subject to coronavirus-related public health measures. When you get to the border, you will need to show a negative COVID-19 test. Before you visit family, you will need to quarantine for 14 days. There may be some flexibility for compassionate reasons, but otherwise you will have to demonstrate to a border officer that you have a quarantine plan. It should show where you will stay, and how you plan to get essential items such as food, groceries and medicine.
If you are travelling by plane, you will have to stay in a government-approved hotel while you wait on the results of a COVID-19 test. This could be up to three days, and the fees are not refundable.
Here are some of the other conditions depending on your relation to your in-Canada relative, and their immigration status.
Immediate family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents
If you are an immediate family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and you wish to come to Canada to reunite with your family, you must plan to stay in Canada for 15 days or more.
Immediate family members are any of the following:
- A spouse or common law partner;
- A dependent child;
- A dependent child of a dependent child;
- A parent or step-parent;
- A guardian or tutor.
If you’re looking to travel for less than 15 days, you must be doing so for a non-discretionary reason.
Extended family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents
If you are an extended family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you should meet the same requirements as immediate family members.
In addition, however, you must also have written authorization to travel from IRCC, even if you are travelling from the U.S.
You can do this by asking your family member (the Canadian citizen or permanent resident) to complete an application for authorization and statutory declaration form.
The next step is for you to sign this form. Your family member must also sign the form by solemn declaration (in front of a Canadian official legally authorized to receive one).
You must then request the written authorization. To do this, you will need the completed form as well as proof that your family member in Canada is indeed a citizen or permanent resident.
- A person in an exclusive dating relationship with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least 1 year and has met them in person (you both must be at least 18 years old);
- A non-dependent child, or an adult child
- A dependent child of a non-dependent child;
- A sibling, half sibling or step-sibling;
- A grandparent.
A person in an exclusive dating relationship with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident may also bring their:
- Dependent child;
- Non-dependent child, or
- Dependent child of a non-dependent child.
Immediate family members of temporary residents in Canada
If your family member in Canada is staying there temporarily, you may still be allowed to visit them as long as you are an immediate family member.
You must show that your travel is non-discretionary. For example, you are coming to live with your spouse or common-law partner. However, you cannot be travelling for tourism, recreation or entertainment.
If you are travelling from the U.S., you don’t need a written authorization. However, if you are travelling from any other country, you will need one. IRCC outlines how to get a written authorization depending on your situation on its government webpage.
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