Out of all the Visa applications I’ve handled so far, the application for a tourist visa to Canada required the most number of documents and forms. Thankfully, the good people behind Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) have provided pages upon pages of information, from the basic visa application procedure, up to the nitty gritty of how to answer every question on every form. You just need to devote a few hours of your time to read and study every instruction, and you will come out okay! But for those who want a brief overview of the procedure and requirements, I have provided the list below.
Create an account on http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/e-services/account.asp where you can apply, pay for visa fees and monitor your application status.
It is also on this page where you can find links to more information regarding Canada’s tourist visa requirements.
1. Application for Temporary Resident Visa (IMM 5257). If this application form was completed on a computer, it must be validated to generate a barcode. Click here for a copy of the Application Form or Form IMM5257.
2. Family Information Form (IMM5645) to be completed by those aged 18 years or older. Click here for a copy of Form IMM5645.
3. Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union, if applicable (IMM 5409).
4. Use of a Representative (IMM5476), if you would like a lawyer, friend or family member to handle your application for you. Click here for a copy of Form IMM5476.
5. Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual (IMM5475), to be completed ONLY if you authorize Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to release information from your case file to someone other than yourself.
6. Transaction receipt or proof of visa fee payment. The Visitor visa fee for an individual costs $100 Canadian dollars or Php3,450 (exchange rate may vary).
The maximum visa fee for a family applying at the same time and same place costs $500 or P17,210.
For updated rates, click here.
7. Photocopy of page 2 of your passport (Information page). There must be at least one (1) blank page other than the last page available in each passport.
8. Two (2) identical 35mm x 45mm photos, taken within the last six (6) months, with your full name and date of birth written at the back. For specific instructions regarding the photo requirement, check out CIC’s brochure.
9. Proof of Financial Means. You must include proof that you can support yourself and any family members accompanying you while you are in Canada. In my case, I submitted a copy of my Bank Statement for the last 3 months, a scanned copy of my Employment Certificate and a scanned copy of my Condominium Certificate of Title.
10. Photocopy of your Marriage Certificate, if applicable.
11. Proof of Purpose of Travel. I submitted a proposed day-to-day Itinerary, a copy of the Booking Confirmation from Booking.com covering the duration of my stay, a letter explaining that I wanted to take a short trip to Montreal while I was visiting New York, and a copy of my roundtrip plane tickets (Manila to New York).
12. Document Checklist. You can find the official checklist here. The file also contains special requirements for minors, parents and grandparents.
Tips (Online Submission):
- The CIC only allows one document to be uploaded, per category. This will make it tricky for people who, for example, would like to submit two separate bank statements or bank certificates and copies of their stock certificates and other investments. The trick is to compile all your documents and save it as one PDF file.
- You may have noticed that when it comes to visa applications, I always recommend using only one (1) paper size for your personal documents. I believe that consular officers, like any person who handles hundreds of documents on a daily basis, respond well to clean and organized applications. You can apply this to your Canadian tourist visa application by saving your PDFs in one paper size (again, using the paper size of the Application Form as basis).
- As an added touch, properly name your files. I used my initials then the type of form or documentary requirement, in this manner:
- ABCD Proof of Purpose of Travel
- ABCD Proof of Financial Support, and so on…
Processing time varies depending on the season. For an approximate, go to this page of the CIC website. I filed my application on April 9 and received the approval on April 19. That’s ten (10) calendar days or seven (7) business days. Here’s the timeline of my application:
04/09/16 Sat – Submission Confirmation
04/10/16 Sun – Your application has been updated
04/11/16 Mon – Your application has been updated
04/16/16 Sat – Your application has been updated
04/19/16 Tue –You have a new message (Original Passport Request)
Nothing made me more anxious than these emails from CIC, saying my application has been updated. I remember checking my account and not finding any noticeable changes to my application. I’m guessing these updates were sent whenever their consular officers went through my documents.
Armed with my passport and a copy of the Passport Request sent to myCIC account, I hopped, skipped and almost cartwheeled to VFS Global in Makati, located at the Mezzanine Floor, Ecoplaza Bldg., Don Chino Roces Ave Extension, Makati. It made sense to me that they would only ask for a passport if the consular office already approved the application (otherwise they could have just sent a letter of denial via MyCIC, right? That’s just cruel!). But if you were asked to submit your passport and then you were denied a tourist visa, let me know!
I paid for VFS service fees and courier delivery, and waited for my passport to be delivered after a couple of days. So easy! Of course you can opt to save on courier charges by returning to VFS in person to pick up your passport. That’s it!
|Secure transmission of passport to the Embassy of Canada in Makati City, Philippines upon request by visa office (for example, electronic application)||P543.15|
|Courier Delivery of Applications to Applicant, upon receipt from visa office||P293.95|
CANADA VISA APPLICATION CENTER
VFS Services Phils. Pvt. Inc.
Address: Mezzanine Floor, Ecoplaza Bldg., Don Chino Roces Ave Ext, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
Phone: +63 916 226 3779
Hours of Operation:Application / Passport Submission: 7:00 – 15:00
Passport Collection: 15:00 – 16:00