Canada travel restrictions: Uniting with a temporary resident

Canada has imposed travel restrictions on foreign nationals to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, you may qualify for exemptions. For example, immediate family members of particular temporary residents may benefit from these exemptions. Therefore, you may unite with a temporary resident if you qualify.

Who is a temporary resident?

Uniting with a temporary resident covers international students and temporary foreign workers. An international student is someone who is studying full-time in Canada with a valid study permit. A typical temporary foreign worker holds a valid work permit. However, some foreign workers are exempt from work permits. The exemptions could cover other temporary residents as well. Consequently, if you are in Canada on a long-term TRP, you could also benefit from the “uniting” exemptions. Of course, the expectation is the temporary resident is already inside Canada.

Who is an immediate family member?

To unite with an international student or a foreign worker, you must be one of the following:

How to unite with a temporary resident if travelling from the US

If you are travelling from the US, take the following steps:

  1. Make sure you hold a valid eTA or TRV. However, if you are a US citizen, you do not need any of those.
  2. Carry documents that show the status of your immediate family member in Canada (e.g. their study permit)
  3. Present documents to show your relationship (e.g. the marriage certificate)
  4. Have other documents to show your travel is discretionary (e.g. you want to live with your common-law partner in Canada)

Of course, you also need a quarantine plan. If you are travelling by air, then follow all the guidelines for air travellers. However, if you are travelling from the US, you do not need to apply for an exemption upfront. The CBSA officers will process your request at the port of entry. Consequently, make sure to have all necessary documents with you to avoid receiving a Direction to Leave Canada.

What if you travel from other countries?

If you are travelling from other countries, you must apply for an exemption first. Of course, this exemption is for uniting with a temporary resident. Do not travel unless IRCC issues you an exemption. Here are the steps you must take:

  1. Make sure you have an eTA or TRV to travel to Canada. Of course, US citizens are exempt from both.
  2. Collect all necessary documents:
    • Passport (biodata page and TRV counterfoil if applicable)
    • A document showing the status of your family member in Canada (e.g. their work permit)
    • Proof of relationship (e.g. the marriage certificate)
    • Other supporting documents (e.g. air tickets and a quarantine plan)
  3. Email the documents to [email protected] Of course, you have to include the following information in your email:
    • The temporary resident’s information:
    • The travellers’ information
      • Full name
      • Date of birth
      • The reason to travel (in detail)
      • The dates they plan to travel.
      • The current country of residence
  4. If you receive an exemption letter, then follow all the guidelines for air travellers.

The processing time for uniting with a temporary resident

A typical processing time for these applications is between two and four weeks. However, apply as early as possible to avoid any unwanted surprises. Uniting with your family member in Canada is worth submitting a perfect application way ahead of travelling.

What if I do not have a TRV or an eTA

An eTA is necessary for most people who are exempt from visit visas to Canada. The eTA application process is relatively easy. You may apply online and usually receive your eTA in a matter of minutes. However, if you have admissibility issues, expect significant delays. Sometimes you may face delays despite not having any problems. Therefore, apply for the eTA as soon as you can.

If you need a TRV, you must apply online.  Of course, you must include all necessary documents. However, when you fill out the IMM 5257 form, make sure to answer the purpose of travel this way:

  • Question 1 a) purpose of travel: Choose “other” from the drop-down menu.
  • Question 1 b) description field: Write “COVID-19” (use capital letters and do not add anything to this description).

Make sure to include all necessary documents. Of course, there is no guarantee you receive a TRV. However, this is an essential step to unite with a temporary resident in Canada.

Let us help!

If you want to unite with a temporary resident in Canada, fill out the following form. Of course, you may also contact us for other immigration needs. Alternatively, please book a consultation session with me.

Relevant: Canada could open its borders to all fully vaccinated travellers in September

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Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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