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How easy will it be for Harry and Meghan to live in Canada part-time?

Last Updated Jan 20, 2020 at 1:38 pm MDT

This is an official christening photo released by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Saturday, July 6, 2019, showing Britain's Prince Harry, right and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex with their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor at Windsor Castle with with the Rose Garden in the background, in Windsor, England. (Chris Allerton/©SussexRoyal via AP)

Canada will soon have three new part-time residents of the soon-to-be ex-royal variety.

After various bombshell developments over the past two weeks, it’s been decided that Prince Harry, along with wife Meghan Markle and their young son Archie will give up their royal titles this spring. Thereafter they plan to split their time between Canada and the U.K., saying they’d like to live “part-time” in the great white north.

The news has led to much discussion about whether the former-royals will qualify for permanent residency or even citizenship. In reality, their immigration hassles are likely to be minor, at best.

Like most visitors from around the world, they don’t need either status to live in the country temporarily and likely won’t even need a visitor visa, given their nationalities.

For Harry, a British citizen, a simple Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is all that is needed since the U.K. is a visa-exempt country for travel to Canada. His son Archie would likely have a British passport and the same rules would apply.

An eTA costs a princely sum of $7 and is electronically linked to your passport. The online application is fairly simple and all you need is a passport from a visa-exempt country, a valid email address and a debit or credit card for payment. Most people receive approval within minutes.

It’s even easier for Meghan, who needs neither a visitor visa nor an eTA since she is an American citizen. All she needs are the right travel documents – the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) recommends a passport.

The young family, once again just like most other visitors to the country, can live in Canada for up to six months at a time. If they want to extend their stay, they must apply for an extension 30 days before the end of that period.

If they choose not to stay longer than six months, they must leave the country, but they can come right back whenever they choose. That arrangement would work perfectly well for the couple who have already announced their intentions to go back and forth between the U.K. and Canada.

Working in Canada, however, is a little more complicated if they were to go through the required channels, but not by much for a couple with means.

Depending on the industry the couple chooses to work in, they may require a work permit and that means meeting the following basic criteria:

They must:

  • Be able to prove that they’ll leave Canada when their work permit expires
  • Show they have enough money to take care of themselves and their family members, both during their stay in the country and when they return home
  • Obey the law and have no criminal record – a police clearance certificate may be needed.
  • Not be a danger to Canada’s security
  • Be in good health – a medical exam may be needed.
  • Not plan to work for an employer that offers erotic dance or massage services, striptease or escort services
  • Not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers who failed to comply with certain government conditions
  • Give the border officer any other documents they ask for to prove they can enter the country.

Harry and Meghan may also need to provide proof of current employment, a job offer letter from a Canadian employer, evidence of other international travel and proof of income.

While immigration is a complicated process and requires comprehensive paperwork, all immigration applications are certainly not created equal. But for the Sussex’s – they won’t need royal treatment for a simple six-month stay in Canada.

Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada