On November 21, 2019, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) published updated guidelines for the issuance of visas to foreign nationals intending to travel to Canada in order to give birth.
Under Canadian citizenship laws, all children born in Canada are Canadian citizens regardless of the status of their parents (with a small exception for the children of accredited diplomats). Many children are born in Canada to foreign national parents each year because their parents are working or studying here. However, foreign nationals who apply for visas to travel to Canada for the sole reason of having a Canadian born child, have seen a high rate of refusal at visas offices around the world, often on the grounds of the ‘medical inadmissibility’ of the mother.
The guidelines issued by IRCC make it clear that pregnancy is not to be viewed by visa officers as a ‘medical condition’ that could make someone medically inadmissible to Canada. Specifically, with the change in the definition of ‘excessive demand’ for medical reasons in June 2018, the health care costs related to high-risk pregnancies do not exceed this cost threshold. Additionally, the assessment of the costs associated with health and social services to not apply to the child to be born in Canada as this child will be a Canadian citizen at birth.
Some practical considerations for foreign nationals contemplating travel to Canada for this reason:
- Pregnant visa applicants from countries that require an immigration medical to be done in order to submit a visa application may not be able to complete the chest x-ray (required to screen for TB and other pulmonary diseases) because of the risk to the fetus. Without a complete immigration medical, a visa may not be issued;
- Foreign nationals who do not reside in Canada are not eligible for provincial health coverage (OHIP or MCP for example) and would therefore need to pay for all medical expenses out of pocket. The ability to pay these expenses from personal funds, as well as to provide financially for a family and newborn in Canada, would be assessed as part of a visa application;
- If visas are issued for a short period of time, foreign nationals in Canada who face complications of pregnancy or delivery, may need to request an extension of their status in Canada; and
- Pregnancy and the intent to give birth in Canada may be material facts in the assessment of a visa application, which, if not disclosed, could create a risk of misrepresentation. In short – if the intention of the visa applicants is to give birth in Canada, withholding this information could lead the refusal of the visa and a finding in inadmissibility (with a lengthy bar from entering Canada).
It is important to remember that right of the child born in Canada does not extend to the parents of that child. Parents would need to qualify for an apply for temporary or permanent resident status and citizenship on their own.
For more information on travel to Canada, immigration or Citizenship applications please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org