Applying for a Canada Visa Online Application is actually pretty simple and easy. But when I began my application, I found the whole process a bit daunting. The disconnect, I believe, comes from the visa application website. What is supposed to be an easy procedure becomes overwhelming and a bit arduous because the layout of the website and the user journey are complicated and somewhat confusing. I have been living and breathing digital for the past 10 years of my life, yet I still ended up lost and confused a few times along the way.
When I applied for a Canadian visa, I documented every step of the process in order to help guide the readers of this blog. When you break it down to the requirements and basic steps, it really is pretty straightforward. Filipinos can apply for a Canadian Visa in three ways: online, by mail, and in person. This guide focuses on online application, but you may still have to visit the Canada Visa Application Center to submit your biometrics.
CANADIAN VISA REQUIREMENTS
1. Accomplished IMM5257 Form
- This is the Application for Visitor Visa Form
- You can download it from here: Form IMM5257.
- Fill it out digitally. You don’t need to print it out or sign it.
- View the form using Adobe Acrobat. When you view the forms online, sometimes the file won’t load at all, displaying a “Please wait” message instead, especially if you’re using Chrome or Firefox. (Yep, it’s best accessed using IE.) Download it anyway. When you open it using a PDF reader such as Adobe Acrobat Reader DC or Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional, you’ll see that the form is actually there. Fill it out using Acrobat.
- Leave the signature field blank. I struggled so hard finding a way to be able to type on the Signature field, but it turned out that I didn’t have to. You will be providing your electronic signature later in the process (when you’re submitting the form).
2. Accomplished Family Information Form
- Sometimes, it’s the IMM5645E Form. Sometimes, it’s the IMM5707 Form. Both are Family Information Forms. To be safe, submit the form that is indicated in your Document Checklist. In my case, I was asked for the IMM5645E form.
- You can download it from here: IMM5654E.
- Fill it out electronically. Same with the Application Form, if the page doesn’t load, use Acrobat Reader. And don’t sign it. You will be asked for a digital signature later in the application process.
3. Valid Passport
- Scanned copy of the bio page and all pages with visas and stamps.
- Your passport must have at least 6 months validity and signature. If you’re using a new 10-year e-passport, you can find the signature field on Page 3, the page next to the Information Page. If you’re using a 5-year e-passport, the bio page already has a digital signature so NO NEED to sign it again.
4. Digital photo
- Passport-size (35mm x 45mm).
- White background.
- Specs here: Canada Visa Photo
- The website indicated “scanned” when I applied, but I uploaded a soft copy of the photo instead.
5. Proof of Purpose of Travel
Submit proof that you are coming to Canada Visa Online for a TEMPORARY visit. You can submit any or all of the following:
- flight ticket departing Canada (return or onward ticket)
- your travel itinerary
- hotel booking
You don’t need to submit actual tickets. You can submit flight or hotel reservations, which you can cancel in case your application is denied (so you don’t have to waste money). A few airlines allow flight blocking (although I haven’t tried any of them) and some hotel booking websites have free-cancellation policy. Travel agencies can also issue these reservation documents.
IF YOU’RE INVITED BY A CITIZEN IN CANADA, you will ALSO need to provide the following:
- invitation letter
- a copy of their citizen card
- payslips or tax docs
6. Travel History
Scanned. This can be any or all of the following:
- previous passports used within the last 10 years
- expired and valid visas
- entrance and exit stamps
If you’re living outside your country of citizenship, submit a copy of your immigration status document.
7. Proof of Means of Financial Support
Scanned copies of any or all of the following:
- Bank statement for the past 4 months
- a Certificate of Employment
- Income Tax Returns (ITR)
- proof of assets (land titles, etc.).
If you’re a student: you must also submit proof of payment of tuition and accommodation fees.
If someone else is funding your trip: also submit a letter from the person or institution providing you with money.
8. Business Registration Documents
Only if you’re self-employed or if you’re traveling for business.
You can submit SEC, DTI, or BIR registration documents, as long as it indicates the registered name of the business, the business address, and type of ownership.
9. Letter of explanation
This is optional. It’s not really a requirement, but if you wish to provide more info about the trip, you can submit a letter of explanation.
I wrote a letter explaining why I want to visit Canada and the details of my trip. It’s short and straight to the point.
10. Visa Fee and Biometrics Fee
Visa Fee: CAD 100. MasterCard, Visa, and American Express cards are accepted.
Biometrics Fee: CAD 85. MasterCard, Visa, and American Express cards are accepted.
Here are a few notes that will make your application easier:
- ANY or ALL. You’ll notice that in the list of requirements above, I keep on using the phrase “any or all of these documents.” It’s because in theory, you can submit just one item per document type. However, if you want better chances of approval, we strongly recommend submitting everything that you can provide.
- Only the following file types are accepted: PDF (Portable Document), JPG, TIFF, or PNG (Image), DOC or DOCX (Microsoft Word Document).
- Only one file will be allowed per requirement.– For example, for proof of means of financial support, if you want to submit a Certificate of Employment, ITR copy, AND proof of assets, make sure they’re in one file. If all your files are in PDF format, you can use apps like Adobe Acrobat to merge all the pages. If they’re image files, you can also insert all of them in a Word document to generate a single file.
– Another example, travel history. If you are want to submit multiple pages of your passport to show the different visas and stamps, you must scan and save all pages as only one file.
- The size of each file must NOT exceed 4MB. That’s the maximum size. If your file exceeds, you need to reduce the size. Know that PDF files tend to be smaller in size than Word (doc) files. If your PDF files are still over, recreate your files with Adobe Distiller and set to “lowest file size.” Set it to only 96 DPI (dots per inch).
- Make sure your documents are complete. You won’t be able to submit your application if any of the required files is missing.