What is a visitor visa?
A tourist visa helps you to travel to Canada and tour the places there. It is essentially a sticker on your passport that justifies your being there legally. Only those who are not Canadian citizens are entitled to a visitor or a tourist visa.
You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on a visitor’s visa. This is the maximum and your time frame may be reduced slightly on the point of entry. You may be provided with a visitor’s record in your passport which states the duration you are entitled to stay for.
What criteria must you meet for a visitor visa?
- Valid documentation –
You must be able to provide all the necessary documents that make your stay legal.
- No major health issues
You must be deemed fit to travel by a competent doctor.
- No criminal record
You are being allowed to travel assuming you have a sterling silver reputation, and that you have not been convicted of any crimes, especially those related to immigration.
- Stress on the fact that it is a visitor visa
Enumerate reasons for which you want to return to your home country. You just need to convince them of your motivation to go back home. You can talk about family ties, your business, or even your spouse. You must be able to convince the immigration officers that you are not intending to fraudulently extend your stay in Canada.
- Letter of invitation
While this is not mandatory, a letter of invitation from your relatives will certainly help to speed up the process of approval of your application as they feel that someone is willing to vouch for you and take responsibility in good faith for your activities.
Should you apply online or offline?
It is suggested that you apply online for a tourist visa as there are many perks associated with doing so, like –
- Less wastage of time
You do not have to mail any important documents or forms, you can upload it online, or send it by means of email or any other media preferred by the Embassy.
- Faster processing
Since the application is received as soon as it is sent, faster processing takes place. Your application is reviewed and you can be contacted immediately in case of any ambiguity.
- Complete applications
If you do not adhere to online form filling, incomplete applications will be mailed back to you, post which you will commence the process of completion of the application and then mail it to the Embassy, which makes it a time consuming and tedious process. Whereas, online if your application is incomplete, the system is designed to prevent you from allowing the submission of the application.
- Passport submission
The online copy of the passport can be submitted as and when is requested by the Embassy. You do not need to mail the authentic copy of your passport beforehand.
- Easy communication
In case of need of any additional documents, all the Embassy has to do is contact you and you can mail it to them immediately without wastage of time in transit.
- Continuous updates for convenience
You get continuous updates in your login about the status of your application, reducing the need to ring up the Embassy and ask for the details regarding your application.
However, despite the benefits of an online application, there are certain cases where you have to apply offline for a visitor visa if they are applying from a visa-exempt country. These include –
- Stateless persons
For stateless persons, the only option for a tourist visa is via a paper route.
Those using travel documents meant for refugees.
What are the different types of visitor visa?
- Single entry visa
A single entry visa is one which allows the holder to visit Canada for one time only.
- Multiple entry visa
A multiple entry visa means that the visa is valid for a longer time duration, and you can visit Canada how many ever times you want within that duration.
Is it possible to extend the visitor visa?
You might be in Canada on a visiting visa and feel like extending your stay. You can do this by applying for visitor status. The application needs to be made by you in a Canadian immigration office before the expiry of your current visitor’s visa. If you have already commenced the process of extension and are waiting for a new extended visitor status while on your legally valid visitor’s visa – you have what is known as implied status. If you wish to reapply after being refused extension for any particular reason, you are given what is known as ‘restoration of status’ provided you make a re-application within a month and a half of refusal.
In order to apply for a visitors record, you can easily do it online itself. You will need a camera to create clear copies of any documentation needed, as well as a valid means of paying the application fee – like a valid credit card or debit card. Before you start filling the form, look at the instruction guide to ascertain that you are aware of the basics of form filling and have no doubts when it comes to answering the standard questions in the form.
An online tool will ask you certain questions and prepare the list of documents you need to submit on the basis of the answers you provide them with. So, you need to ensure that you answer these question sets accurately. Create an online account to pay your fees. In online mode, you will be made aware of your application status with timely updates, and you will be informed if and when it is approved.
The process of applying for a visa can be tedious and tough for many, as it seems like there are a variety of formalities to fulfil, and many documents to be prepared. However, if you choose to apply online, the system will solve half your problems by creating a list of documents you need to submit based on the answers you give to certain questions.