The process for getting a Canadian visitor visa, known as a temporary resident visa, is administered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) through Canadian embassies, consulates and visa offices around the world. Every applicant for a temporary resident visa is assessed by CIC to see if they meet the requirements to enter Canada. In some cases, a letter of invitation from a friend or family member who is a resident of Canada can increase the chances of an application being approved. In fact, some Canadian visa offices require that a letter of invitation accompany visa applications. Having this letter, however, does not guarantee approval of the visa application.
Have your friend or family member write a letter of invitation. In this letter, your friend or family member should include your name, birth date, address, telephone number, information on the nature of his relationship with you, the purpose of your trip, the length of your planned visit to Canada, your expected accommodation and living expenses and the date you plan to leave Canada. The person writing the letter must also include his own name, birth date, address, occupation, telephone number and a photocopy of proof of his status in Canada, such as a Canadian birth certificate or a permanent resident card. The letter writer should also make it clear that he is inviting you to Canada as his guest and whether he is helping you with accommodation or travel expenses.
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Have your friend or family member get the letter notarized. Many visa offices require that these letters be notarized.
Have your friend or family member send the letter directly to you.
Get a temporary resident visa application package. You can download this from the CIC website or order one from your regional Canadian visa office.
Fill out the visa application and include all necessary documents. You must include your passport or travel document, two recent passport-sized photos, a fee payment of CA$75, proof, such as a bank statement, that you can support yourself financially in Canada and, of course, the notarized letter of invitation from your friend or family member. Some visitors require a medical check as part of their application. Find a link in Resources for more information. Check with your regional Canadian visa office to see what methods of fee payment are acceptable.
Mail the completed application along with all of your support documents and application fee to your regional Canadian visa office.
Richard Long is an English teacher in Toronto, Canada and has been writing for over five years. He has had work published in "Geist" and "Speak2Me" magazines and is currently completing a certificate in technical communication from George Brown College.