Canada Visa - Definitive Guide

Known to have the friendliest people on the planet, and the most educated country in the world, Canada is quite a remarkable place. Covering over 9 million square kilometres, Canada is the world’s second largest country. The picture-perfect forests, mountains and the numerous lakes, are just the tip of the iceberg. Being the world’s tenth largest economy, we can see why people are tempted to move to this place. Whatever the purpose of your visit, as an Indian citizen, you need a Canada visa to enter the country. 

What is a Canada Visa?

A Canada visa is a permit that allows you to visit Canada, and stay there for a certain period. There are a few countries which do not need a permit to enter the country. However, for Indian nationals, a visa is necessary. The Canadian visas are of multiple types depending on the type of stay, number of entries, and the purpose of the visit. Even though the normal visa is issued for 6 months, the actual length can vary based on the Canadian Border Security Office decision.

How to apply for a Canada visa?

To apply for a Canada visa from India, you have to follow a few steps. However, before starting your application, there are a few prerequisites. The first one is for you to determine which type of visa you need. There are several Canada visa types ranging from a visitor, work, student visa, etc. After this, you need to determine if you are eligible for that particular type. This can be done by answering a questionnaire on the Government of Canada website. Once you are eligible, you can choose to apply for the Canada visa online, or on paper.

 The offline process can be done by - 

  • Downloading an application form.
  • Filling the necessary details, as per the requirements.
  • Attaching the mandatory documents.
  • Paying the application fees, along with biometric charges.
  • Biometric is mandatory at VAC.
  • Sending the application via mail or in person to a VAC. 

The Canadian government is in the phase of digitizing records, and as a result, people are requested to make their Canada visa application online for the process. To find out how to apply for a Canada visa online, you can follow the following steps - 

  • You will have to create an account at the Government of Canada website. You can also use your bank account details to create one.
  •  Once this is done, you can log in to the account and start filling out your Canada visa application form.
  • You should then upload your documents as asked.
  • Pay the application fees as well as the biometric fees and submit the Canada visa online application.

Be it online or offline, after you submit your application, you will have to wait for the embassy to approve it. In the meanwhile, you will also be asked to submit your biometric information. You can provide this at a visa application center, or at other referred biometric collection centers. Alternately, you might have to submit to an interview at the VAC. 

Whatever the process you follow, you have to ensure that all the details are correct, and the necessary documents have been submitted as you do not want your application to be rejected. A rejected visa history may cause hindrances in future visa applications. 

Canada visa types

Canadian visas can be categorized into Temporary, and Permanent Visa. The temporary resident Canada visa types can be mainly classified into the following - 

  1. Visitor visa / Temporary resident visa (TRV)  - Anyone who is visiting the country for tourism, family or business related purposes are granted temporary resident status. These are issued normally for 6 months. They are of two types-
    • Canada Tourist Visa - This type is required by an individual whose sole purpose of the visit is tourism. Be it visiting family members/friends, or to explore the country, or any other tourist activities, you require a tourist visa.
    • Canada Business Visa - If you are planning to visit Canada to implement or expand a business, to attend business meetings/conferences, to venture possible business plans, as long as your main agenda is professional activities, you require a business visa.
  2. Work visa - This is a temporary type that permits an individual to work for 6 months in Canada, after which he will have to return home or apply for an extension.
  3. Study visa - For students attending courses in Canada that last more than 6 months, a study visa is issued. 

Usually, these are issued for multiple entries. Meaning, you can go in and out of the country multiple times in the visa period. Also, most temporary visas are issued for 6 months. However, depending on how strong your case is, the visa officer may issue permits valid up to a maximum of 10 years; or until the passport validity date, whichever comes first.

Documents required for Canada visa

The documents to be submitted for the application depends on the Canada visa types you are aiming for. There are a constant set of documents that are common for all visas, and a special set depending on the type. The general documents required for a Canadian visa are as follows,

  • A valid passport + old passports, if any. 
  • 3 photos as per Canada visa requirements.
  • Duly filled and signed application forms.
  • NOC from employer/leave sanction from school/college.
  • Travel itinerary - confirmed air tickets, proof of accommodation.
  • Proof of financial means - bank statements, Form -16, passbook, salary slips, etc.
  • Proof that you will return to your home country once the Canadian visa expires.
  • Identity and Civil Status Documents.
  • Police clearances to show no criminal records (if requested).
  • Medical certificate to prove that you have no chronic disease (if requested).
  • A covering letter stating your purpose, motive, and duration of the travel.
  • Letter of support/invitation to Canada.

Canada visa processing time

The processing time depends on several factors. The time taken for your visa to be processed after submission can vary based on missing documents, wrong application form, biometric and interview appointments, and various other things. For a good application, the Canada visa stamping processing time is around 10-15 days. However, this can go up to more than 30 days in certain scenarios. It also depends on how early you submit your biometrics as well. It is advised to apply well in advance. 

Canada visa fees

The costs for a visa depends on the country of application, mode of application, the number of entries, length of stay, as well as the urgency. The Canada visa fees again depend on the type of Canada visa you have opted for. Apart from the processing fees, there are charges for the biometric submission as well as any other service charges, if you chose to apply at a VAC. 

Canada visa status check online India

The status of your visa processing will be emailed to you along the way. Alternately, if you wish to track them yourself, you can use your passport number and last name to check it through the VAC, or you can also email the embassy you have applied to.

Where to apply for a Canada visa?

The applications can be submitted in multiple ways as per your convenience. For submitting the Canada visa online, you can use the Government of Canada website, as well as pay the Canada visa fees there. If you are applying on paper, you will have to do all the procedures at the embassy or a VAC.  However, to submit your biometrics, you will have to go to a biometric collection service point near you, or at the nearest VAC. Visa application centers are set up all across India. The Canadian embassy is situated in New Delhi. And the Consulate Generals of Canada are located in Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chandigarh.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I get a Canada visa application form?

Depending upon your preference, you can apply for the visa online or offline. For the online mode, you can find the application form on the portal of the Government of Canada. For the offline mode, you can find the application form on the website of the same. You can then download it and print it. However, it is advised to use the online form for faster processing. 

What to do if your Canada visa is rejected?

If your visa has been rejected, you will receive a letter explaining the rejection. Even though it will not mention the reasons for the refusal, it is necessary to go through it carefully to catch any information on why your application was denied. You can either appeal to the rejection or reapply for the visa.  Appealing to the decision is fruitful only if you are certain that your application was strong, and there has been an error with the refusal. If you choose to reapply, make sure you correct the faults and submit a better application.

Will there be a problem that while applying for Canada visa there are surname differences on the passport and other documents after marriage?

This totally depends on the type of visa you are applying for. A tourist/visitor visa does not require academic documents to be submitted. As a result, they do not affect your application. The name on the passport is the valid one. However, if the visa requires you to submit your academic documents, you will need to ensure that you can justify the name differences by providing marriage certificates, or other documents proving the change of name.

Is NIOS board eligible for a Canada visa?

Yes, you are eligible to apply for the visa. However, keep in mind that if you are applying for a student visa, you will need to ensure that the educational institution you are applying to accepts the NIOS board. If they do accept, you will not face any problems as long as you can explain to the consular officer about your reason behind this, as well as how it will benefit your future. 

Will your multiple entry Canada visa still be valid after you have a new passport?

No, it is not. Visit visas are issued normally for a period of 6 months. The eligibility conditions for the permit is that you possess a valid passport for at least 6 months from the date of travel. So, if you have a passport that will expire in this period, you will not be issued with a visa in the first place. However, if you have a long term visa, and you get after your passport expires, you obtain a new passport, your permit is still valid till its validity date.

In the Canada visa process will I get a refund if my application is rejected?

No, you will not get a refund if your application has been rejected. The visa application fees and biometric charges are non-refundable. However, if your application has been returned just to seek additional documents or information, you can complete the application by submitting the necessary documents. 

Can your Canada visa application be rejected if you have medical conditions?

The medical requirements aren’t necessary for visa applications where the validity is less than 6 months. However, in cases where the stay is for more than 6 months, you may require to meet the medical eligibility depending on several factors. If you are required to submit a medical certificate, and you fail the test, your application will be rejected. If you haven’t submitted a health certificate, you will be asked to submit it by the visa office. Alternately, it is necessary to ensure that you are healthy before you travel. 

How long does it take to get the visa processed after biometrics?

The Canadian visa takes a lot of time for processing. On average, it takes about 35 days from the submission date. This is due to the high load of applications, as well as the biometric submission. Once you submit the application, you will be asked to submit your biometrics. This can take up some time. If you have previously submitted the biometric in the past 10 years, you may be eligible to skip this step and may receive the visa faster.

Is an IELTS test mandatory for a Canada Visa?

No, you do not necessarily need an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or any other language proficiency test unless you are applying for a student visa, work visa or other forms of permanent residence visa. In these cases, you are required to show that you are well proficient in English by meeting the minimum score criteria in these tests.

 

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