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Moses Law Office

Providing Canadian Immigration Services since 1988

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Visitor Visa Applications

Unless the person is coming from a visitor visa exempt country, where no prior application is required to obtain a visitor visa, all persons seeking to enter Canada who are not either Permanent Residents or Citizens, require a Visitor Visa Application to be made in advance of coming to Canada. Applications may be submitted online, or to Visa Application Centres (VACs) that serves your area.

The first and most straight forward approach for obtaining a Visitor Visa for visiting Canada is to have a relative send an invitation letter, usually sworn by a lawyer in the form of a Declaration, inviting the relative for a visit and promising in the declaration, to provide for all their financial, accommodation, clothing, health, and other needs, during their stay in Canada. The Applicant should show proof of ties to the home country including work, ownership of property, immediate family, financial stability, etc., in order that immigration believes that the Applicant has a strong reason to return to the home country and not stay illegally in Canada.

Many visitors, once in Canada, seek to apply for immigration. Except for certain cases, regular immigration applications must be done through a Visa Post outside of Canada. Persons seeking to switch from a visitor visa to a Study Permit or a Work Permit, similarly must apply at a Visa Post outside of Canada. Usually in the past, persons already in Canada would apply through the Canadian immigration visa post in the USA. However, under the Immigration legislation that came into effect in June 2002, an Applicant must apply through the Visa Post responsible for their home country unless that person has been legally admitted to another country for at least one year, in which case the Applicant may apply through that country. For persons admitted legally to Canada for at least one year, and who can gain legal entry to the USA, an Application may be made to a Canadian visa office in the USA. It should be noted that possession of an immigration letter for an interview, does not guarantee that the USA Consulate or other country will allow admission to the country where the interview will take place.

Within the Visitor Visa application category, there exists a category for business visitors and those doing exploratory visits with the purpose of seeking out business opportunities. These persons usually have to show an invitation from some business in Canada as well as some form of itinerary for their visit to Canada. In some cases, the size of the applicant's business in the home country is sufficient, and/or size of assets in the home country is sufficient, to convince Canadian immigration that the Applicant has no intent of remaining in Canada, but truly intends the visit to be just a visit.

Failure to give truthful and accurate information when applying for a visa may result not only in refusal, but also a record that would make future attempts at entry to Canada very difficult.

Fiancés or Spouses who have no status in Canada applying to visit their in-Canada (Permanent Resident and/or Citizen) spouse, must be very careful as to what they state when making a visitor visa application. The immigration authorities’ general rule is that unless there is an approved sponsorship application, at least approved in principle, the Applicant may be entering Canada for more than a temporary purpose and that therefore a visa should not be issued. There are cases where the applicant does not declare the fiancé or spouse in Canada prior entry and then after entering Canada, the Canadian fiancé/spouse submits a sponsorship application noting the relationship pre-existed the date of entry of the visitor. In such cases, immigration may deem the visitor to have not stated the truth when applying for the visa as to purpose of visit, and thereafter reject the sponsorship application.

It should be noted that upon entry to Canada, an Immigration Officer at the Port of Entry may specify the time limit permitted to remain in Canada on the Visitor Visa. Where no time limit is specified, the general rule is that a person may stay for up to 6 months.

Final Note:

In many cases, persons seeking entry to Canada for a temporary purpose, apply by themselves without legal assistance, especially for a visitor visa. However for cases, where Canadian immigration rejects the applicant, the second attempt is much more difficult, especially for Study Permits or Work Permits. If the applicant seeks the most safe and risk free approach for applying for a Study Permit or Work Permit, professional assistance should be sought from the start, before there is a rejection by immigration or problems arise. Obtaining legal advice as to how to better lay the foundation for a successful temporary visa (Visitor, Study and/or Work Permit) application is very important, especially in the current environment where Immigration authorities have become stricter in applying the temporary visa application rules and regulations. Further, given the current trend toward refusing more and more temporary authorizations, there is a greater need to speak to a qualified immigration lawyer about the risks and pitfalls. As always, the prospective temporary visa applicant, especially for Study and Work Permit applications, should seek proper and honest legal advice in order that the prospective visa applicant does not lose the right to obtain and/or maintain student and/or work status in Canada.

For further information please contact Marvin Moses Law Office.

(Since the issues and matters in reality are quite complex, it is recommended that legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this article, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this article accepts any contractual, tortuous, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.)