Many people come to Canada for various reasons, but a large majority first enter Canada as a tourist.
While the reasons for a tourist visa vary many come as they want to see a family member, to do some sightseeing, or maybe to attend an event or for business purposes.
This article will not be a generic discussion of visitor visas, but instead, we will focus on how you can be successful with your tourist visa application. We will highlight for you how to show that your purpose for visiting Canada is valid and ways you can prove this.
Reason for the Trip
This will be the first thing you need to address. Why do you want to come to Canada?
Anytime a visa officer looks at your application, you must make sure to clearly state what the reason for your trip is. The purpose must be reasonable and plausible.
For example, if you're coming to attend a conference for five (5) days, why is your itinerary for six (6) months? Or why do you have a one-way ticket? Your proposed plans in Canada must match with the documentation that you're including along with the application.
Along with a letter of invitation, providing documents as proof for the reason helps. If you’re coming to see a family member, you can provide proof of your relationships, such as birth certificates or a marriage certificate. If you’re coming for a wedding, you can supply a wedding invitation or the wedding ceremony venue.
You must always think in a way that if you are saying something that is a basis of the application, you should always back this up with documentation to substantiate this.
Ties to Home Country
A common misconception with visitor visas is that people focus solely on the requirements for Canada and neglect supplying information about their home country or country of residence. The keyword for TRV is “temporary resident visa.” You are meant to only stay in Canada for a short period, generally a maximum of six (6) months, and then return home.
Depending on your home country, the officer will consider the current situation. Is there turmoil and instability that it seems like you are escaping to Canada?
You will need to prove that you are not coming to Canada with the intention of overstaying here. Officers are also aware that many will come to Canada as a visitor and use it as a means of applying under another pathway, such as a student or even a worker if they manage to get sponsored by an employer.
Ties to home country can be shown in various ways, such as family, money in the bank, or land/house property. This means you are less likely to stay in Canada as you have family waiting for you back home. There are funds and a house for you in another place and not in Canada.
Possible Risks to Canadian Society
The other consideration the officer will investigate is if you pose any risk in terms of health or safety.
This is based on some of the questions that you fill in, but you also need to be aware of this, especially with the current world situation. Even in a post-COVID world, there are travel rules with interim health requirements and vaccines. During the pandemic, foreign visitors couldn’t even enter Canada unless they comply with all the mandatory health requirements. Even if you are eligible in other facets, ultimately, you will not be able to enter Canada if you don’t follow the country’s regulations.
Lastly, you must show that you have the funds to pay for your trip. This includes all aspects of the trip, including plane tickets, accommodations, food, and daily expenses. While you don’t need to be a millionaire to be financially comfortable, it should not take your last dollar to afford to be a tourist. Funds are seen in Canadian dollars so while you may be well off in your home country, with conversion rates, you may find that your currency is not as strong here.
While some may be independent, others require financial support for coming to Canada. You can submit your own funds and bank statements for a supporter. If they are in Canada, they must be a citizen or a permanent resident. They can explain their relationship to you, such as a friend, family member, or partner. Common proof of funds includes bank statements for the past six (6) months, pay stubs, employment confirmation letter, and/or tax documents showing employment.
Regarding finances, here’s a great story that illustrates the point. Many years back, when I was living in the Philippines, I was speaking with somebody from the Canadian Embassy at an event. I asked him what he does and he's the guy that did the interviews, but he made the joke and said, “I'm the guy that says no.”
I said, “what does that mean?” and he said, “I'm the guy who does the interviews, and unfortunately, sometimes when we do the interviews, we want to say Yes to people but we have no choice but to say No as they have not complied” As a caveat, that was a different immigration system, and they don't do generally do interviews anymore unless there are serious concerns. Back then, they would do this kind of stuff for tourist visas.
He had a story with a lady that needed to travel for business, and she was plotting her cross-country Canada tour. She had everything planned, going from coast to coast with the initiative to accelerate her business. The main problem was she only had about $1,000 and wanted to travel across Canada so the officer had no choice but to say “No”.
The reason for this story is that it encompasses a lot. She checked off all the boxes for having a successful tourist visa file, except she didn't have the funding. The problem is that the government doesn't want people to come here and not be able to fund their trip or have no way home. At the same time, they want to make sure that you don't fall by the wayside and overstay.
Unfortunately, there's a presumption of this with certain applicants and unfortunately, people can be painted with that brush unfairly. I have been lucky enough to interact with several people from the Immigration department and they are not bad people that are just waiting to refuse you. Yes, there are some but all in all, they want you to come to Canada, but you need to give them what they need to be able to say “YES.”
The last method for a successful visitor visa file is that you need to be very clear and concise.
Most visa offices are very busy, and they'll only have a limited amount of time. I've been told in some instances with tourist visas, that officers have 10-15 minutes to review it and decide and in some cases 8-10 minutes.
On top of that, in this age of technology, we have other systems that are coming out like Chinook, where they're pulling different keywords and using AI to trigger different things. Chinook aids the officer without providing full transparency as to the decision. There are many issues with this situation and it's leading to refusals that don't make a lot of sense.
The reason that I bring this up is that you know there are different factors involved in a tourist visa. You’re going to have to plan this properly and understand what you're being “scored” on.
Immigration applications can be complicated, but you can mitigate your risk if you know what to do and how to present yourself positively. Check out our DIY TRV (Visitor Visa) Course Today so that you can get the information you need to be successful.