IRCC recently announced that people with a close connection to a Canadian can request authorization to travel. Until now, the exemption has only applied to close family members, shutting out everyone other than children, parents and spouses. And, oh ya, guardians.
With last weeks’ announcement of expanding the exemptions to relieve hardship to people who don’t meet the narrow definition of family, IRCC has issued new instructions and a form to be completed in order to receive authorization to travel.
The new rules apply to those travelling from the US or elsewhere. So everyone who meets the new definition and is wanting to join an extended family member in Canada, has to fill out and submit the same form and request authorization, which IRCC says will take 14 days.
The form (EDIT: the form has been taken down and updated 3 times since it was first published, hopefully it will be back up soon? @IRCC form person: you got this! don’t give up, you are our hero) and the details are just hours old, but these are the criteria to qualify:
- The visit must be for 15 days or longer and cannot be discretionary (ie. not primarily for tourism, recreation or entertainment)
- The Canadian (citizen or PR) extended family member must be physically in Canada (eg. it looks like they cannot be outside Canada, so travelling together into Canada does not appear to be an option)
- Travelers must have a quarantine plan for the first 14 days in Canada
- For extended family members: Travelers must be able to show their relationship to the Canadian (birth certificates, marriage certificates in addition to the declaration form)
- For those in an “exclusive dating relationship” IRCC defines it as a romantic relationship with a Canadian, have been in the relationship for at least 1 year and have spent time in the physical presence of that person at some point during the relationship. So presumably proof will have to be provided – such as a selection of documents showing the relationship is exclusive and has been ongoing for over a year.
As far as the process goes, there are 4 options:
- If you are in the US, it is unclear how you are supposed to apply, but it appears there has to be approval before arriving at the port of entry (hopefully this will be clarified by IRCC shortly – EDIT: yes, updated to say US citizens should use the same email process as those with visas)
- if you have an eTA, you submit the application form and supporting documents to the IRCC Webform using the language provided.
- If you already have a visitor visa, you email all your info to IRCC
- If you need a visitor visa, you must apply for one and use this special wording on the application form:
So this is a good move on the part of IRCC and positive news for those who meet the new expanded criteria. But it reflects that we are in this travel restriction thing for the long haul.
And godspeed to all those willing and able to jump through the hoops to get here.