The Family Class Sponsorship Program reunites families by enabling adult permanent residents or citizens to sponsor a relative for immigration to Canada. To be eligible, the person seeking sponsorship must be a:
• Spouse, common-law or conjugal partner
• Dependent child
• Sibling, nephew, niece, or grandchild under 18 years who is unmarried and whose parents are deceased
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.
Immigration to Canada during the Covid-19 Pandemic:
The person sponsored must live outside Canada, unless they are residing legally in Canada temporarily, for example with a work or study permit.
Canada is still accepting and processing family sponsorship applications.
Family class immigration has been the least affected by the travel restrictions.
Immediate family members of citizens and permanent residents are still allowed to enter the country, spousal and common-law sponsorship applications are being processed as usual, with IRCC allowing some flexibility in submitting incomplete applications.
If you are traveling by air, you need to follow all airline requirements and pass a health check conducted by airlines before you’re allowed to board your flight. Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air.
When you arrive in Canada, they will assess your health before you leave the port of entry. You must have a plan to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada. This is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms. If you don’t have a plan, you should not travel to Canada.
Only people who provide essential services, for example, truck drivers who regularly cross the border to maintain the flow of goods, are exempt from the quarantine requirements.
Here are some of the other conditions depending on your relation to your in-Canada relative, and their immigration status.
In a press conference on June 9, Canada’s Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, announced that Canada will end the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada, but there are important caveats. First, this will only apply to travellers who are “currently permitted to enter Canada.” This means that Canada’s borders remain closed to the vast majority of foreign nationals. Only those who meet one of the exemptions listed below will be able to enter the country.
Next, fully vaccinated travelers will still have to undergo some testing and quarantining. A negative PCR test taken within 72 hours pre-departure will still be required for travelers, and fully vaccinated travelers will have to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Canada. Fully vaccinated travelers will then have to remain in quarantine until receiving a negative result from their Day 1 test. Notably, fully vaccinated travelers can quarantine at a suitable location of their choosing — they will not be required to stay in a government-authorized hotel.
Finally, Canada aims to end the 14-day quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travellers in early July. An exact date has not yet been set, and the implementation is dependent on Canada’s COVID-19 epidemiology continuing to improve. If cases and hospitalizations begin to rise, border measures might be extended further.
Notably, only those who have been vaccinated with one of the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada will qualify for the reduced quarantine measures. Currently, Canada has approved four COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. Travelers must have received their final dose at least two weeks prior to entering Canada.
A date and plan to re-open the Canada-U.S. border expected soon: According to reporting by Bloomberg, Canada is expected to announce a plan to re-open the border with the United States. This plan could be announced within days. It is expected that the border re-opening will be phased, first allowing entry by fully vaccinated travelers. Get full details on the latest updates in our guide to Canada’s border re-opening.
Canada extends travel restrictions with all countries until at least June 21, 2021: In a tweet issued on May 20, 2021, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced the extension of Canada’s travel restrictions with all countries, including the United States (the U.S. restrictions are managed through a separate order). Restrictions are now in place until at least June 21, 2021.
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