Travel exemptions to Canada for immediate and extended family members

The government of Canada has set several travel restrictions in place to protect Canadians amid COVID-19. Consequently, people who hold a valid TRV or eTA may not travel to Canada. However, certain people are exempt. A large group of exempt travellers are the family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Nonetheless, travel exemptions work differently for immediate versus extended family members. Unfortunately, this article’s content does not apply to the family members of visitors, international students, or temporary foreign workers in Canada.

Table of contents

Who is an immediate family member?

The following list covers immediate family members for travelling to Canada. Of course, they show the relationship to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada who resides in Canada.

The following article defines who is a dependent child:

Who is an extended family member?

The following list covers extended family members for travelling to Canada. Of course, they show the relationship to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada who resides in Canada.

  • grandparent
  • sibling (i.e. brother or sister), half-sibling or step-sibling
  • grandchild (dependent child of a non-dependent adult child)
  • non-dependent child (adult child) –  a child who is either over 22, married or in a common-law relationship
  • conjugal partner or a person who is in an exclusive dating relationship, have been in the relationship for at least one year and have spent time in the physical presence of that person at some point during the relationship
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The first step: before considering travel exemptions

Make sure that your immediate or extended family members hold proper documents. Depending on their nationality or purpose of visit, they may need an eTA, a TRV, or none to travel to Canada. However, if they do not hold proper documents, they may not travel to Canada regardless of the exemptions. Read the following articles for more information:

NOTE: If you do not hold a TRV or an eTA, you may still apply. However, there is a particular route for applying for TRV or eTA under the current circumstances (rather than the regular application process). We can undoubtedly evaluate you and see if we can assist you.

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The second step: having a quarantine plan in place

If your immediate or extended family member holds valid documents, make sure they also have a quarantine plan. Of course, such a plan needs to show they can and will self-isolate for 14 days upon the arrival. A proper plan includes the following:

  • Introduces an isolated location (e.g. an apartment unit). They may stay without any contact with the outside world.
  • A safe transportation plan from the airport to the quarantine location
  • Arrangements for the safe delivery of grocery and consumable products such as toilet paper without leaving the place
  • Attending to their medical and emergency needs by following the quarantine rules.

You need to set up the plan upfront. You may need to present it to the airline, IRCC and Border Services officers or other authorities. Nonetheless, the consequences of not following the quarantine plan could result in one or all of the following problems:

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The third step: for immediate family members

Unlike extended family members, immediate family members may travel to Canada without applying for authorization. However, they must show documents to prove their family members’ status in Canada and their relationship.

Documents that prove the status of the person who is in Canada

You may present a copy of one of the following documents:

  • Permanent resident card
  • Citizenship card
  • Citizenship certificate
  • Provincial or territorial birth certificate (proof of birth in Canada)
  • PR travel document
  • Canadian passport

I also recommend presenting at least two recent documents that show the residency of your family member. For example,

  • Cell phone bill
  • Hydro bill (electric or water bill)
  • Gas or oil bill
  • A redacted credit card or bank statement (protect the financial information of your relative)
  • A notarized invitation by your relative in Canada that attests to their address as well

Of course, the above list is neither inclusive nor exclusive. Thus, take a couple of documents or more to convince the airline and border agents, you are truthful.

Documents that show you are an immediate family member

  • birth certificate (especially for dependent children or parents)
  • marriage certificate
  • proof of common-law relationship
  • other convincing documents

If you fail to convince the officer you are an immediate family member, you may face a removal order.

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The third step: for extended family members

Unlike the immediate family member, the extended family members need authorization before travelling to Canada. Consequently, they need to go through the following steps.

  1. The person in Canada must fill out the IMM 0006 form.
  2. The extended family member must sign the form.
  3. The Canadian citizen or permanent resident must sign it by a solemn declaration. Of course, this means using the services of a commissioner of oaths, a notary public, a lawyer or a justice of the peace.
  4. The extended family member must receive a copy of the signed form.
  5. Your family member in Canada must request authorization from IRCC. Of course, this includes sending a few documents to them and a few days or weeks of processing time.
  6. The extended family member may only travel to Canada if IRCC issues the authorization. However, they also need to bring the form, the declaration, the quarantine plan and other documents to the port of entry.

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While our services are not free, you could use a licenced practitioner to assist you. Of course, the first step is to fill out the following form.

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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.