There are many reasons why we want to go and explore Canada as tourists. Some of us would like to see the Niagara Falls, some would like to be delighted by some of the world’s most beautiful lakes, some would want to witness the dazzling Aurora Borealis, and some would simply want to experience snow. Some of you would maybe just set the date, make the itinerary, book the flight ticket, and presto it’s welcome Canada already. But, for us, Filipinos, we still need to acquire visa, which is not guaranteed, to be able to explore this vast country above America. I know it’s quite a hassle to do all of these formalities, but, it is necessary. Good thing that applying is very straight forward and uncomplicated. Today, we tell you how to apply for Canada Tourist Visa.
Believe me when I say that it is pretty easy. No queuing, no interviews, and no appointments because applying is to be done online. Yes, online application is available. There are just some few things that you need to prepare before starting your application. Make sure below requirements are available for a fast and smooth online visa application.
1. Scanner. A scanner should be attached on your laptop or at the very least you have all necessary documents scanned already.
2. Credit Card. The visa fee is CAD100 and Visa, Mastercard, and Amex are the only cards accepted.
3. Digital Photo. A recent digital photo of you is to be submitted along with othe requirements.
4. Supporting Documents. All necessary documents that can support your claim should be scanned and complied in one file for each category.
a.) Travel History. Scan all visas/entry stamps of all your travels in the last ten years and compiled on a single file.
b.) Passport. Make sure that your passport is valid for more than 6 months. In fact, I would not recommend you applying for a Canada visa if your passport is only valid for less than a year. Renew first and then apply.
c.) Proof of Income. If you are an OFW, make sure to include your employment contract, your working visa card, pay slips, and certificate of employment. Get a copy of your bank statements for the last three months for them to know you can support your travel. If you have any other properties and assets, present those too.
d.) Purpose of Visit. You need to present at least one of the following: Flight ticket, hotel bookings, or travel itinerary. I suggest you do not book your flight just yet, but, lay out your plans and make an itinerary. A meticulously laid out plan means your serious about going. You can also book book-now-pay-later hotel accommodations with free cancellation.
5. Properly Filled-out Application Form and Family Ties Form. The forms can be found during the process and need to be downloaded, electronically filled out, and submitted.
Once you have all these ready, you can now proceed to the application. Canada gives up to ten years multiple entry visa or until the expiry of your passport. If you plan to visit frequently, make sure your passport is not to be expired in a year or two to not do it all over again. Here now are the steps on applying for Canada Tourist Visa
1. Go to the Government of Canada official website or thru this link: http://www.cic.gc.ca
2. On the homepage click VISIT to find out whether you need a visa. For Filipinos, visa is required but still click on this because you will be needing the reference code after.
3. Answer all succeeding questions. You will be asked for your nationality, if you are a lawful US resident and your reason for travel.
4. Visit Canada as a tourist. After answering all questions and knowing you are eligible to apply for a tourist visa, choose the option for online application. Then, find out if you are eligible to apply online by answering another set of questions.
5. The Result. After answering all questions you will come to the result page. It states the visa fee and the validity of what you can apply for. Click continue.
6. Create your personal checklist. Another set of questions will be asked and these questions will not determine yet whether you can be approved of a visa. It only tells whether you are eligible to apply. Answer all questions truthfully.
7. Personal Reference Code. After they determine you are eligible, you will be given a personal reference code you will use when you log in to your account. The page will also show the steps you need to do to apply. It should look like this:
8. Download the Application Forms. Download the Application for Visitor Visa (IMM5257) and the Family Information Form (IMM5645). Remember not to answer the forms when you click it. You need to download or save it on your desktop and then fill it out.
9. Create an account. With your personal reference code handy, create an account where you will start the application. This is where the immigration will determine whether they will grant you a visa. Click this link: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/e-services/account.asp and continue by clicking “Continue to GCKey”.
10. Sign up. Create your username and password as your log-in information. Create a recovery questions and answers as your security questions every time you log in. Finish it by creating an account.
11. Apply for Visitor Visa.
12. Enter your Personal Reference Code.
13. Submit all your documents. Remember all the documents I asked you to prepare? Submit them all here. Make sure the documents do not exceed 4 MB. Per category, you can only submit one file. Make sure that for multiple visas or others, you put it on one file. All necessary documents required should be submitted and for optional documents, it would be better to have it for a higher chance of approval.
14. Pay the fee. After submitting all requirements, pay the fee using your credit card.
15. Waiting Game. The waiting starts upon receiving the confirmation that the payment has been processed and the documents have been received. All correspondence notice will be sent on your email to remind you to log in to your account and check the status.
16. Result. The visa processing usually lasts for about a week up to 9 days. If your application is approved, a letter will be sent to you for the next step. You may be asked to submit the passport in person or thru mail. If not approved, a letter will also be sent explaining the rejection and enumerating the reasons why you failed.
Remember to always check your e-mail and log in to your account using the log in information you created to check the status of your application. If you are unlucky, try again and make sure you present additional proof that you are qualified to be given the visa. If you get to be approved, then, have a safe journey and enjoy Canada.
I want to hear your personal experience! Please share to all of us your experience in applying Canada visa by posting on the comments. Looking forward to hear from you all.