Planning to work, study, visit, live permanently, or travel through Canada? If so, Canada has several immigration programs designed for your specific situation. That includes study permits, work permits, and an application for temporary resident visas or permanent resident visas. Each comes with its own unique set of application and eligibility requirements.

You can always find out what programs you are eligible for by taking this eligibility test. If you are, you’ll be provided with more instructions on what steps to take next.

Obviously, you’ll have to complete and submit a couple of documents, and it’s upon you to ensure the submitted documents are correct because the decision immigration officials will make will be based on the information in the said documents.

Don’t forget to do a thorough review before making your submissions and make sure all the required documents for a Canadian visa are submitted because anything you send by mail after the submission won’t be considered.

You can apply either online or on paper. To apply online, you’ll need to have access to a good camera or scanner (for creating electronic copies of your documents that have to be uploaded) and a valid credit card for paying the visa application fee.

If totally stuck, you can always get extra help from a Visa Application Center (VAC) near you and read on further to learn more about the documents required for a Canadian visa.

Who Doesn’t Need A Visa to Travel to Canada?

Not every person who wishes to travel to this country must have a visa. The list includes:

  1. Citizens of the U.S.
  2. Permanent residents in Canada.
  3. Bearers of Canadian dual citizenship.
  4. Refugees traveling with a document for non-citizens.
  5. Stateless people traveling with an alien’s passport.
  6. Former Canadian residents who’ve not been back for many years.

However, where a visa is not required, you may require a passport and, in some situations, an Electronic Travel Authorization to fly to a Canadian Airport.

What Application Documents Do I Require For A Canadian Visa?

As we mentioned earlier, the type of immigration program you choose will determine the kind of Canada visa documents required. Generally, these are the documents you will be required to submit:

A Valid Passport

Your passport will only be deemed valid if it’s going to be effective for at least six months at the time of application and it has a minimum of one empty page for the stamp. If you have previous passports, make sure you’ve attached them as well. In addition to the passport, you will need to present two passport-size photos, which must meet the following conditions:

  • Have 60-80% face coverage.
  • White background.
  • Must be at least 35 mm x 45 mm (1 3/8″ x 1 3/4″).
  • Have a matt or semi-matt finish.
  • Have your date of birth and name inscribed at the back.
  • Not more than three months old, stapled, or scanned.
  • Not used in your previous visa application.

Additionally, the government of Canada recently announced that starting July 31, 2018, you will have to give your fingerprints plus photo (biometrics) when applying for a visitor visa, work or study permit (U.S nationals are excluded), permanent residence, and refugee/asylum status if you are from Europe, the Middle East, or Africa. There are a few exceptions though.

Canada Visa Application Formapplication form

You are required to submit a completed application form. Those under 18 years must have the form signed by a parent or guardian. Some of the personal documents you may or may not be required to submit alongside the completed application form include:

  • Adoption papers
  • Marriage certificates/separation and divorce papers for proof that you and your spouse are legally married or divorced.
  • Certificates, diplomas, degree(s), or trade papers, particularly when applying for a work permit. A reference letter from your previous employer may also be required where work experience matters.
  • An invitation letter from your child or grandchild residing in Canada or a Canadian host specifying the purpose of your travel, duration of stay, and other details of the trip. It should be duly signed with signatory’s name and designation.
  • Proof of medical insurance coverage.
  • If the visa documents for Canada that you submit are not in English or French, an original translation and affidavit confirmed by the translator will be required.

Proof Of Means Of Financial Support

You’ll have to show proof of a specific amount of funds that the Canadian government hopes will cover your stay in the country as a visitor or during the time you’ll be looking for a job. You may also be required to give your original bank statement for the past six months and your income Tax Returns for three years.

Medical Report

Anyone looking to visit or study in Canada for more than six months is expected to have a medical report. However, there are exceptions. Generally, if the report says you are sick or contagious, chances are high that your visa request won’t be successful. For children under the age of 16, a certified immunization record will be required, especially if you want them to pursue their education in Canada.

Police Clearance Certificate

The government of Canada wants to be sure that you are not a criminal or have any criminal records. That’s why you have to present a police clearance certificate issued by the police in a country you’ve lived in for over six months after attaining 18 years. Criminal convictions like theft, assault, driving while under the influence, and manslaughter are among the many cases that might contribute to your visa request being denied.

Other Compulsory Documents For a Canadian Visa

  • Your birth certificate and that of your family members (if immigrating with them).
  • Photocopies of both sides of your personal identification card.
  • Photocopies of your current immigration documents

Remember there’s an application fee involved as well, and it’s not refundable. Usually, you’ll be required to submit the payment (in Canadian dollars) together with your application form. If you make the application at a VAC, you’ll have to part with some VAC service fees as well.

In Summary

If you’ve never applied for a visa before, this may sound like an overwhelming process, given the number of documents involved. But that should not discourage you. If you are eligible and proceed to fill out the forms correctly and submit all the required documents, chances are high your visa request will be accepted.

Apart from taking into consideration everything we’ve mentioned, it would also help greatly if you enlisted the help of an immigration lawyer as they can help you not only prepare the necessary documents required for a visa to Canada but also ensure all of them meet the requirements.

More help on the documents required for a Canadian Visa can be found in the following checklists: