Update on travel restriction exemptions for extended family members and for compassionate reasons
In response to COVID‑19, Canada has established a multi-layered system, including robust quarantine measures and travel restrictions. These measures have been effective in helping to protect the health and safety of Canadians.
However, the government recognizes that the travel restrictions have been difficult for those who have family and loved ones outside Canada, especially for families dealing with a life-threatening illness, critical injury or death of a loved one. We recognize the importance of being with close loved ones in times of extreme crisis.
The Government of Canada will be introducing a process to allow entry for extended family members of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents. In addition, we will be creating a process to allow foreign nationals to come to Canada for compassionate reasons in limited circumstances and with limited release from mandatory quarantine. Limited release from quarantine for compassionate reasons will also apply to returning Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
These changes will help families in Canada unite with loved ones while maintaining the integrity of the border measures put in place to protect the health of Canadians. Travellers should not make any travel plans until they have met all requirements and received all necessary authorizations.
New process for extended family members
Under the new process, the following extended family members of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents would be eligible to travel to Canada:
- individuals in an exclusive dating relationship with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least 1 year who have spent time in the physical presence of the Canadian citizen or permanent resident during the relationship and these individuals’ dependent children
- non-dependent children (adult children who do not meet the definition of a dependent child in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations)
- siblings (including half- and step-siblings)
These people will be eligible to travel to Canada and will not need to demonstrate that they are entering for a purpose that is non‑optional or non‑discretionary, as long as they
- are staying in the country for 15 days or more
- provide Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) with the required documentation, including a completed and signed statutory declaration, to show they meet the definition of an extended family member of a Canadian citizen or Canadian permanent resident
- meet existing eligibility and admissibility requirements to enter the country
- are travelling to Canada with a valid passport and travel document (visa or electronic travel authorization [eTA], if needed)
- have received written authorization from IRCC to travel to Canada as an extended family member
Like all travellers, extended family members will be subject to all public health measures, including the mandatory 14‑day quarantine period upon arrival in Canada. The final decision on who can enter Canada is made by a border services officer at a port of entry.
Detailed information, including the definition of extended family members and the process and requirements to be eligible to enter Canada, will be available on the IRCC website on October 8, 2020.
Extended family members should not make any travel plans until they have met all requirements and obtained all necessary authorizations to qualify to come to Canada under the new rules.
Process to allow for entry to Canada for compassionate reasons
The Government of Canada is working toward introducing a new process to allow foreign nationals to be eligible to enter Canada for compassionate reasons, including being present during the final moments of life for a loved one, providing support to a person deemed critically ill, providing care to a person who medically requires support, and attending a funeral or end-of-life ceremony. Information on how to request entry to Canada and limited release from mandatory quarantine for compassionate reasons will be available on the Public Health Agency of Canada website on October 8, 2020. Provinces and territories may have additional requirements and processes that must be respected.
Information for foreign nationals who receive authorization to travel to Canada for compassionate reasons from the Public Health Agency of Canada and who need a visa or eTA will be available on the IRCC website on October 8, 2020.
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