Canada Tourist Visa Requirements and How to Apply
Canada is a popular tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors each year. With its diverse landscapes, natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and friendly people, Canada has something to offer everyone, no matter your nationality. From the rocky peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the turquoise waters of the Great Lakes, to Canada’s cities offering world-class shopping, dining, and entertainment among others, you are definitely in to explore!However before anyone can travel to Canada for tourism, you need a visitor’s visa. In this article, we would be showing you the requirements to get a Canadian tourist visa and how to apply for one among other relevant information.
About Canadian Tourist Visa
Noteworthy, to travel to Canada for tourism, you need to get a visitor’s visa. A Canadian tourist visa also known as a visitor visa is a document issued by the Canadian government that allows foreign nationals to enter Canada for a temporary stay for tourism, visiting friends or family or other similar purposes for up to 6 months. The border services officer at the port of entry may let you stay for less than or more than six months. If this is the case, they will record the deadline for your departure in your passport. They may also provide you with a visitor record, which will include the time you must depart, along with other information.
There are two categories of visitor visas for Canada: single entry and multiple entry. It should be noted that foreign nationals can only enter Canada once with a single entry visa. Also for as long as the multiple entry visa is still valid, its holder may enter and exit Canada as much as they like.
Requirements for Obtaining a Canadian Tourist Visa as an African
1. A Valid International Passport
If you want to apply for a Canadian tourist or visitor visa you would need a valid international passport. It is important that you have a passport that is valid all through your intended stay in Canada. You may also be required to present photocopies of the bio-data page of your international passport which contains your full name, date of birth, country of origin, expiry date if applicable etc. Also, any pages with stamps, visas or markings should be submitted.
2. Visa Fee Receipt
When requesting an application for a Canadian visa in your country, you must pay the necessary visa fees. This is due to the fact that you would have to provide the receipts with your application. Notably, you must fully pay your application and biometric fees. Also, the payment required varies and is determined by the type of visa you want. The cost of a Canadian visitor visa would be highlighted further in this article.
3. Passport Photographs
If you decide to submit your application offline, you must include two valid passport-sized photos. For an online application, you must obtain a digital copy of the image; it shouldn’t be bigger than 4MB. Other important requirements include maintaining a neutral expression, not covering your head unless your faith prohibits it, and having a plain background. Additionally, the photo must have been taken within the last six months.
4. Proof of Financial Ability
You would need to show that you are financially stable before applying for a visa to Canada. You would have to prove that you would have enough money to cover your expenses as well as the costs of anyone travelling with you. Your bank records, a letter from your employer outlining your annual salary, evidence of the host’s or a family member’s income in Canada, your desire to be financially supported to cover your expenses by a person or body while you are there, etc. could all be used as evidence. Note that your account statement should be from the last six months.
5. Proof that you would Return to your Country after the Expiration of your Visitor Visa
You might need to attach evidence to convince the officials that you would be returning to your home country as soon as your visa expires. This could be accomplished by presenting proof of employment, home possession in your country of origin, family members there, etc.
6. Identity and Civil Status Documents
Although this might be optional, a valid ID document must be attached so that you can be verified. Your voter’s card, driver’s license, marriage certificate, birth certificate, or other official documents may be suitable in this regard.
7. Proof of Good Character
Due to its zero tolerance for criminal activity, Canada welcomes law-abiding citizens who do not pose a danger to the country. You would need to demonstrate your moral character and absence of criminal history. You may show a police character certificate from your home country to demonstrate your moral character.
8. Proof of Good Health
In order to prove your health, you would need a medical certificate from a licensed hospital. Your application must be accompanied by copies of your medical documents. It is expedient that you are ingood health before making a trip to Canada.
9. Travel History
If you’ve travelled to Canada or other countries, you can present your travel history to show that you’ve been able to get a visa in the past. This can include copies of previous visas in your passport used within the last 10 years to travel outside your home country. You can also present entry or exit stamps, expired valid visas etc.
10. Travel Itinerary
You must present your travel itinerary that shows how long you plan to stay and what you’ll do in Canada. This may include copies of any of the following flight details, hotel reservations or registration for an event. Note that it is not advisable to buy actual flight tickets as your visa may be denied ultimately if you do not meet the requirements. Also, the embassy would not be liable for any losses incurred by you.
How to Apply for a Canadian Tourist Visa
To apply for a Canadian tourist visa, you need to adhere to the following guidelines:
1. Determine your Eligibility
The Canadian government has made it simple to determine whether you are eligible for a visitor visa in order to save time. They have created a number of assessments that determine a candidate’s suitability based on their responses to an online survey. Depending on the kind of visa you want, details from you will be requested. Following that, the system will let you know if you can join or not. It will also provide you with the suggestions and guidelines you must adhere to in order to fulfill all the requirements. Your assessment results will be provided to you after it is finished.
2. Create an Online Account
Once it has been determined whether you qualify for the visa, instructions may be sent to the email address you provided. Online applications are more common, though physical applications are also accepted. Before submitting an online visa application, you must first create an account online. This account can be opened in any of the two ways:
• By using your online banking details.
• By creating a Canadian government login (GCKey).
3. Get your Documents Ready
As soon as you create an account and log in, you can begin your visa application. Applying for a tourist visa requires you to use the reference number that was given to you. You would see the necessary documents as soon as you input the reference number to apply for a visa. Verify your documents once more before submitting your application to ensure that everything is in place.
4. Pay the Required Visa Fees
The system will direct you to the payment page as soon as your papers have been properly submitted. You would then need to pay the required fees. Once you’ve finished paying the fees, you’d be able to submit your application. It should be noted that if you apply in person, you only need to bring those documents to the Canadian Embassy in the country. However, it will take about 5 working days if you apply online before you can see the application in your account.
5. Wait for your Visa Processing
The Canadian Embassy will then require two or more weeks to process your application, depending on the various factors that may apply to your visa. They might also call you to set up an interview,ask you for more documents, or ask for your biometric information. If the Embassy requests your biometrics and schedules an interview, you will still need to visit the Embassy even though you submitted your application online. Remember to frequently check your account because the Embassy will give you notifications there.
6. Present your Passport and other Fees
After being informed that your visa application was accepted, deliver your passport and processing fees to the Embassy. The embassy staff will receive your passport along with the processing fees, stamp it with the visa, and send it back to you. You will need to pay the processing fees there and obtain the passport right away if you are informed of their decision after the visa interview.
Canada Tourist Visa Fees
Here is the breakdown of the fees for obtaining a Canada Visitor Visa:
• Application fee of CAD$ 100.
• Biometrics fees of CAD$ 85 per person
• Passport processing fees of about CAD$ 45.
Bear in mind that additional costs might be applicable depending on various factors. Also, these prices highlighted above may be subject to change at any time so you must check with the embassy frequently. Also note that your dependents, such as your spouse and minor children, that will accompany you in your travel to Canada must have their own application and are required to pay separate fees. However, you can submit all the applications together so that they are processed as a family.
Canada Tourist Visa Refusal
There are several reasons your Canadian tourist visa may be refused. Some of these reasons include:
• Incorrect information
• False documents
• Invalid passport
• Insufficient funds
• Missing documents
What to do if your Canadian Tourist Visa has been Denied?
Depending on the reason for your visa refusal, you can apply again at any time, unless your decision letter says you can’t do so. However, you should only apply again if you are going to include information that you didn’t include before. For instance, if your application was denied because some of your documents were missing, then it would be a waste of time and resources to apply again without getting such documents.
Noteworthy, there are cases where your application will be returned instead of refused. Your application may be returned where it is incomplete, it was received before the program reopened or the program was full. In such cases, you may get a refund. However,refunds can take up to eight weeks to complete and if it takes longer you may send a request to the embassy. Bear in mind, that your biometrics fee cannot be refunded.
Things you Cannot do with a Canadian Tourist Visa
Although you can join a short course, search for a job, and perform certain business activities among others with a visitor visa, you are not allowed to do certain things. These include:
1. Staying in Canada permanently. This is because a visitor visa is only a temporary visa and gives you a temporary legal status in the country.
2. You cannot work in Canada. You can only use a valid work permit to work in Canada and not a visitor visa. Doing otherwise would be illegal.
3. You cannot study for long in Canada. If you want to do so, then you need a study permit instead.
As a foreign national, you may feel that the Canadian tourist visa application process is a daunting one. We however hope that this post has made the application process clearer and easier for you.Bear in mind that you must submit all the necessary documents so your application would not be refused.