Making it quicker and simpler for relatives to get back together with their parents or grandparents, the Canadian federal government released the latest visa in December 2011. The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa allows for the parent or grandparent associated with a Canadian citizen to stay in Canada for as many as two years at a stretch, without renewing their status. The Super Visa is mostly a multiple admittance visa and its in force for ten years.
As with several visa application, there are various requirements. One of the most talked about requirement of the new Super Visa would be the medical insurance requirement. Seekers of the visa need to prove they possess Canadian health insurance coverage (also known as Super Visa insurance). Particularly, the insurance plan must:
1. Be valid for a minimum duration of one year from the date of entry to Canada;
2. Provide at the least $100,000 coverage, and;
3. Must cover healthcare, hospitalization and repatriation
Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said “One of the reasons we are requiring that people demonstrate they have health insurance when they come into Canada, is to add greater certainty for our visa officers that admitting people is not going to end up representing a net cost to Canadian taxpayers.” Minister Kenney continued to mention that the new health insurance requirement may make it easier for visa officers to say “yes.”
Health costs in Canada are some of the most expensive on the globe. The median hospital stay in Canada costs around $7,000, and much more for patients with an underlying complication. Prescription drugs will add considerably to expenses. All Canadian residents are universally protected by provincial and territorial health coverage plans, and the costs of these plans are funded through income taxes. Non-Canadian residents usually are not entitled to provincial or territorial coverage.
With regards to the minimum amount of coverage requirement, the ministry said it considered what other nations require for medical coverage and the average expense of healthcare services to produce the $100,000 requirement. As one administrator of Citizenship and Immigration put it, “It was determined $100,000 would be fair to the applicant and the Canadian taxpayer.”
Applicants must buy their medical insurance BEFORE the Super Visa is issued as proof of insurance. Picking the effective date of the insurance policy is somewhat challenging, provided that evidence of insurance has to be submitted with the visa application (hence the visa has not yet been granted). However, this difficulty has a feasible solution. Most insurance policies come with an effective date of 90 days after the date the insurance policy was bought, which provides applicants ample time to make changes to the insurance policy. Changing the date of the policy is simple and typically only requires a quick call to the insurance provider. The first day of insurance protection needs to be the day that the parent or grandparent comes to Canada. The one year coverage begins from that day on.
For those parents or grandparents who return home ahead of time (i.e. before staying for the full year), some relief is accessible. Most insurance companies will give you a partial refund for that piece of the insurance not used (provided there was no prior claims). Also, whenever a Super Visa application is turned down for whatever reason, the applicant is eligible to receive 100% of the premium which was paid for the visa insurance protection.
Overall, the new Super Visa program is seen by many people as a good step forward. However, the program is still in its infancy and will probably see some changes to improve the procedure down the road.