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Canada Visitor Visa: How Can You Submit a Strong Application?

October 13, 2021

As of September 7th, 2021, fully vaccinated foreign nationals are legally entitled to enter Canada for non-essential reasons (e.g. visiting family or friends, or seeing the country’s considerable sights).

All travellers are eligible to enter, regardless of their citizenship, and those who qualify have no need to perform a test on arrival (though you may still be chosen for a random, non-optional test).

How can you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller to visit Canada?

You must meet the following criteria to be recognized as a fully vaccinated traveller:

  • Received a full course of COVID-19 vaccinations with one, or a combination, of accepted vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson).
  • Received your final vaccination at least 14 full days before the day on which you enter Canada.
  • Uploaded evidence of COVID-19 vaccination in ArriveCAN.
  • Present no symptoms or signs of COVID-19.
  • Meet additional entry requirements, specified here.

As a foreign national who wants to enter Canada, you must confirm whether or not you are visiting from a visa-exempt country. If you’re NOT, you must successfully apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), otherwise known as a visitor visa, before you can gain entry.

A TRV is a document that enables foreign nationals to enter Canada. It’s suitable for temporary workers, students, and tourists.

But as TRV applications can initially appear fairly straightforward, many applicants mistakenly overlook its seriousness — and fail to include essential information or documents.

Those individuals will inadvertently sabotage their chance to gain entry to Canada for a vacation, study trip, or family visit.

Follow these crucial tips to submit a strong application.

Prove you plan to return home

One of the most important factors to consider is that a TRV is a temporary visa — so the officer processing your application must be convinced that your visit is only temporary.

They may reject you if they have any reason to suspect that you intend to stay in Canada for longer than you claim.

It’s vital that you provide proof that you have sufficient ties to your home country to ensure you return. Immigration officers must believe that you have obligations or personal connections outside Canada.

But the proof must be strong enough to satisfy immigration officers. That means a simple letter from a relative promising that you will honor the rules of your TRV and return home won’t do. It should be from a more reliable source.

For example, if you care for a loved one in your home country (such as an ill parent), you could submit a letter from their physician to confirm that you have good reason to leave Canada at the end of your visit.

Explain a lack of travel history

If you have no travel history at the time of application, you should provide a comprehensive explanation.

Perhaps you’ve spent years earning qualifications with no time for travel, have lived on a tight budget to save for this trip, or you’ve been caring for family members. You would need to provide evidence to support your explanation in any case.

Demonstrating work responsibilities

Another key step in applying for your TRV is securing a confirmation of your employment. If you’ve booked vacation time away from work, your employer should state that they have granted you permission to take a vacation and expect you to return on a specific date.

Submit detailed plans

You should also describe your plans for your trip to Canada. This should be more detailed than a list of the places you intend to visit or the people you’ve arranged to have coffee with.

Instead, supply a day-by-day itinerary listing:

  • Excursions booked.
  • Events you’ve researched and plan to attend.
  • Names and addresses of friends and family members you will spend time with.

You should purchase tickets for any special events or ceremonies you plan to visit before you apply for your TRV. You can include evidence of these in your application to support your claim.

This is a simple step but will show the immigration officer that you have planned your visit to Canada in detail.

Prove that you can support yourself

You must show that you can support yourself during your travels. The best way to do so is to gather bank statements from the six months prior to your trip, and a letter from your employer to confirm your salary.

Both will show immigration officers that you have adequate funds to care for yourself for the duration of your temporary residence.

You should have enough to cover your accommodation, food, entry to venues/events, public transportation/car rentals, and any other necessary expenses.

Consider processing times carefully

It’s vital that you plan ahead and keep potential processing times in mind before you apply.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s TRV processing times vary based on different countries’ visa offices. You can check processing times on the IRCC website: just choose the type of application you want to submit, and where you’re applying from, to see an expected timeframe.

Prepare for possible long waits before you apply, to ensure you have more than enough time to complete and submit your application. This is particularly important if you have a specific event or occasion to attend in Canada, such as a festival, graduation, or wedding.

How long do visitor visas last for?

TRVs remain valid for 10 years, but each visit is capped at six months.

The majority of visitors will be able to stay in Canada for the full six months, but border services officers at the port of entry may allow you to stay for more or less than six months. They’ll put the date by which you need to leave Canada in your passport, and may also provide you with a visitor record which also carries this date.

You may also be required to supply biometrics — your fingerprints and photo — with your application.

At Abramovich & Tchern, we’re experienced immigration lawyers in Toronto. We’re here to help you submit applications that align with officers’ expectations and essential criteria.

To learn more about our services, please contact our team today.