A guide to visitor visas in Canada: Reasonable Doubt

December 4, 2017
Article Source

Those of us who are Canadian citizens are used to easy travel. Out of the world's 195 countries, Canadians can travel to 172 of them without a visa. Even when a visa is required, it's usually easy to get. The distinctive maple leaf on a Canadian passport is often greeted with a smile and a handshake.

So it often comes as a surprise when friends or relatives who wish to visit Canada are refused visitor visas and denied entry. The reality is that while the rest of the world looks upon Canadians with warm and welcoming eyes, Canadian immigration authorities scrutinize those coming from abroad with an unexpected degree of doubt, suspicion and skepticism. Visiting Canada is made all the more difficult by the fact that the official government guide for would-be visitors does very little to inform applicants about what is needed for a strong visa application. For those of you planning on having a friend or relative visit you in Canada, here are some things to keep in mind:

Is a visa necessary?

Not all foreign nationals coming to Canada need a visa. To find out whether a visitor needs a visa, consult the "entry requirements by country" section of the government's immigration website. Travellers coming from visa-exempt countries need to apply for an electronic travel authorization (eTA) if they are arriving by plane. If they are coming by car, train, bus or boat, an eTA is not required.

Applying for a Visitor Visa (a.k.a. Temporary Resident Visa (TRV))

As mentioned above, there is a government-written guide for TRV applications. It provides in-depth information about how to complete the necessary immigration forms and even links to a simple checklist to assist visitors in compiling their applications. While easy to follow, the guide and checklist give the impression that following them to the letter will result in an application that is likely to be approved. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Read more: A guide to visitor visas in Canada: Reasonable Doubt