MAKATI CITY, PHILIPPINES — Canada Tourist Visa Application in the Philippines (or anywhere) is actually easy and you don’t necessarily need the services of agencies. Unless, you are too busy to scan your own documents.
Canada Tourist Visa is officially called a Canada Temporary Resident Visa. The Canada Tourist Visa application process is one of the easiest because the whole process can be done online. But easy process doesn’t mean an equally easy chance for an approval. In fact, it was one of the hardest. Hello, First World.
Before starting your application, make sure you are ready with these pre-requisites:
- A MyCIC account. The Government of Canada have centralized its application for a lot of its services. Create a MyCIC account using the GCKey sign-in (unless you have an online banking log-in with the partner Canadian banks).
- A scanner. For all your scanning needs. Or just go to the nearest computer shop.
- A computer application that is capable of reading and annotating editable PDF files. I’m basically talking about an up-to-date version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.
- A computer application that can merge PDF files. Any a desktop application that can do so, will be good. Otherwise, you can just google “merge PDF files online free” and the search engine will give you sites that offers the online service for free.
- A computer application that can compress PDF file size. The maximum size for each merged file should not exceed 4 MB.
For each number above, group the same documents into one PDF file before uploading. Do not forget about the 4-MB file size limit. You can separately upload the groups of documents and save the application to complete it later. You have 60 days to complete your Canada Tourist Visa application.
- APPLICATION FORM (IMM5257E). DO NOT PRINT. This form needs to be accomplished electronically. Simply type your data on the corresponding boxes. For the electronic signature, just type your name in the designated box. Once finished, click the “validate” button.
- PROOF OF MEANS OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT. Prove that you are capable of supporting yourself while you are in Canada. Provide documents as many as you can — e.g., bank statements (last 4 months), bank certificates, employment certificate, proof of assets/business, income tax reports (ITR), payslips.
- PASSPORT. Scan your passport. To show travel history, include stamped pages and other relevant visas. For those with fresh-from-the-printing-press passport like mine, pray and ask for a miracle.
- PROOF OF RELATIONSHIP. If you are visiting a relative, present documents like birth certificate, etc. that will connect you. Pictures together can be uploaded as a proof if visiting a friend, a lover, or nothing (John Mayer says there can only be one).
- PURPOSE OF TRAVEL. Include any document that may explain why you are traveling to Canada. Wedding invitations, trip itinerary, hotel bookings, plane tickets are sample documents. I have also included a copy of my approved vacation leave form in this group. I do not recommend purchasing the ticket this early, it’s a waste of money. Believe me. Been there, done that, huhu after.
- FAMILY INFO (IMM5645E). Just completely fill up the form then, sign electronically.
- INVITATION LETTER. Include a letter from your host. This should state that you are invited by the host, the purpose and length of visit, the nature of relationship between you and the host, and the contact information of the host. You can also attach supporting documents from the host such as proof of identification. This letter should be signed by the host and should be notarized in Canada.
- DIGITAL PHOTO. Photo studios usually knows the size of photos for the Canada Visa. Scan your photo (or request for a soft copy) and ensure that the resolution of the JPEG file is at least 600 dpi. The size should ideally be around 240 kilobytes, but not less than 60 kB.
- PROOF OF FINANCIAL RESOURCE AS SUPPORTER. Attach documents that show the host’s means of financial resource as a supporter, if you are not fully financing yourself.
- SCHEDULE 1 FORM (IMM5257B). Fill-up the form electronically, then click the ‘validate’ button on the form.
- LETTER OF EXPLANATION. When you feel you need to put into words some thoughts that can’t be clarified with just showing documents, feel free to add a letter of explanation. In my letter, I’ve added about our supposed trip to Banff because my sister fully supports my fondness for nature & outdoor adventures (I think so).
The application fee is $100 (Canadian Dollars). You may use a credit card / prepaid card.
If CIC requested additional documentation to support your application, please upload, the document(s) requested. Select the “next” button to sign and submit the document(s). Once you’ve uploaded the document(s) requested, you will receive a confirmation message in your account.
Processing time varies. You can visit this link to get the updated processing time.
In case your application gets approved, they would send you details on the passport submission. Send your passport and a manager’s cheque to VFS Global (Makati Office) ONLY WHEN YOU ARE ASKED TO. Check the VFS’ address and the updated fees here: http://www.vfsglobal.ca/canada/Philippines/index.html
MY TIMELINE OF APPLICATION
Just to give you an idea for the timeline of my applications (Philippine Time):
- April 20 – I got my freshly-issued passport from DFA (yey!)
- April 21 – submission of application & payment of visa fee
- April 21 – received an e-mail about transmission of the application
- April 21 – received an e-mail about confirmation of receipt of the application by CIC
- April 22 – received an EMPTY e-mail update (PAASA update)
- April 28 – another PAASA update
- May 2 – received a heartbreaking “REFUSED” correspondence, the saddest rejection I’ve received to-date
WHAT WENT WRONG?
What I thought to be the weakest link in my application was my financial capability. I have a low average daily balance in my bank account. My planned expense was only the plane ticket. Accommodation and food & trip expenses within Canada will be shouldered by my sister who’s gonna get married, hence the travel.
To suffice the lack of travel history, I’ve purchased the plane ticket through SkyScanner. I’ve made a good deal even though it was only about 1-2 weeks away from the travel dates. I was hoping this could boost up the approval rate. In my understanding, this could be a proof that I would return back to the Philippines and will not overstay in Canada.
When I have received the correspondence, I was refused for the VISA! The Visa Officer was not satisfied with three items:
- Travel History. Okay, the plane tickets and prayers didn’t work. Goodbye, hard-earned money.
- Employment Prospects in Country of Residence. Uhm, sort of. But not today, Officer! Return plane ticket didn’t work again.
- Current Employment Situation. I don’t even know what this means. I have a stable job and on a regular employment. Aside from the approved leave forms, I’ve even submitted a guarantee letter signed by the company’s vice president. Receiving this statement made me wonder: Am I in danger of getting terminated??
I could have easily accepted the results if it were about financial situation.
I didn’t bothered to push for an appeal (which is actually a reapplication), because the flight is within a few days. Thus, no attendance to the wedding and no Banff. Another lesson: apply early.