Is the Super Visa a good alternative to the PGP?

Is the Super Visa a good alternative to the PGP?

May 21st marked the reopening of the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP).

However, this year will also mark the fourth consecutive year of the PGP that Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will select eligible applicants from the 2020 pool. This means that sponsors in subsequent years have not yet been given the chance to enter the PGP candidate pool to sponsor their loved ones to earn Canadian permanent residence (PR).

In light of this reality, those who have not been able to sponsor their parents and/or grandparents do have another route to bring their loved ones to Canada: the Super Visa. While different from the PGP, the Super Visa exists for similar reasons, allowing Canadians to reunite with loved ones.


The PGP and the Super Visa programs have very different availabilities.

The PGP is only available once a year, with an even more limited availability due to IRCC’s decision to only consider eligible sponsors from the 2020 intake. The PGP works on a lottery system (which opens once a year, for two weeks), meaning candidates from the eligible pool are chosen at random when distributing invitations to apply (ITAs) for PR.

In contrast, the Super Visa program is available year-round for eligible sponsors. The program accepts applications throughout the year, and considers all eligible sponsors equally, as opposed to the PGPs lottery system—yielding a much higher average success rate for applications.


Both programs are only accessible to the parents or grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents. There are no minimum time requirements for candidates to hold this status, but sponsors must be either a Canadian citizen or permanent resident at the time of applying.

Note: While eligible sponsors must initially submit candidate profiles and applications for the PGP, the Super Visa requires that sponsored individuals (i.e.: the parents or grandparents of a permanent resident or citizen) apply themselves.

To be eligible for the PGP candidates must:

  • Have submitted an Interest to Sponsor form on IRCC’s website in 2020;
  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or a registered Indian under the Canadian Indian Act;
  • Be 18 years of age or older;
  • Reside in Canada (potential applicants will need to provide a proof of status during the Interest to Sponsor phase);
  • Meet or exceed the minimum necessary income (MNI) level for this program (if married or in a common-law relationship, the income of both the sponsor and spouse can be included) and provide proof of income to IRCC; and
  • Sign an undertaking:
    • to financially support the sponsored for 20 years (starting when they become permanent residents)—applicants in Quebec will need to sign an undertaking for 10 years; and
    • to repay any social assistance benefits paid to the sponsored family members (if applicable) for a period of 20 years.

To be eligible for the Super Visa, applicants must:

  • Be outside of Canada at the time of their application;
  • Provide proof of an eligible host (who is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or registered Indian under the Canadian Indian Act) including:
  • Proof of the applicant’s relationship to the host;
  • Proof of the host’s status in Canada;
  • Proof that the host is 18 years of age or older and resides in Canada; and
  • Proof that the host meets Canada’s low-income cut-offs (LICO) criteria.

Under both programs, those being sponsored cannot be medically or criminally inadmissible to travel to Canada.

Immigration outcomes

The PGP and Super Visa programs also deliver different immigration outcomes to those who have their applications approved.

Under the PGP, successful applicants receive PR status, enabling them to live, work and settle in Canada for as long as they want—and giving them access to most of the rights of a Canadian citizen.

Under the Super Visa program, successful applicants are given temporary resident status—similar to those on a work or study permit in Canada. This means that their stays will also be limited in Canada. Super Visa holders are able to stay in Canada for up to five years at a time, with the opportunity to extend for an extra two years—meaning that these temporary residents can potentially stay in Canada for 7 years at a time before needing to leave.


Due to their differing immigration outcomes, both programs also have varying costs.

Note in addition to application costs, sponsors under the PGP must meet or exceed the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) criteria for sponsorship, while Super Visa sponsors must meet the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO).

For the PGP, successful applicants are required to pay $1,205 CAD for a principal applicant, which includes a sponsorship fee ($85 CAD), principal applicant processing fee ($545 CAD), and right of permanent residence fee ($575 CAD).

An additional $1,210 is required to include the spouse or partner of your parent or grandparent (which includes a $635 CAD processing fee, and a $575 CAD right of permanent residence fee.

Applicants can also waive the permanent residence fee (for the principal applicant and their spouse/partner) in special circumstances.

In contrast, applicants under the Super Visa program will need to pay $100 CAD for their single or multiple entry Super Visa for a single applicant; or a $500 CAD fee per family* of five being sponsored. Applicants may also pay an additional $100 CAD fee to extend their stay as a visitor, or a $229 CAD fee to restore their status in Canada, should they need to.

*To be considered as a family under the Super Visa, family members must all apply at the same time and place, and all children in the family must qualify as dependents.