Planning to Visit Canada? You May Need a Visitor Visa

If you do not have a passport from the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Israel, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and some specific Caribbean and island nations, you need to obtain a visitor visa before entering Canada.

A full list of countries for which you will need this visa can be found at

Curious to know what factors Canadian immigration officers consider when they process your application? Below is a full list of both positive and negative factors affecting the result of your visitor visa.

Positive factors considered when assessing an application include:

He/she applying is a citizen in country of usual residence;
Country of usual residence is politically stable;
He/she is has stable employment, is well-paid*;
Spouse and/or children are not accompanying the applicant;
He/she is the owner of a substantial business**;
He/she is in a good financial situation***;
He/she has taken previous trips to Canada;
He/she has taken previous trips to countries considered attractive to illegal immigration (i.e. United States, France, United Kingdom);
He/she has property in country of usual residence;
Host of visit has legal status in Canada.****

*Stable employment can and must be proven in form of a letter from the employer stating salary, position, date when employment began and vacation granted.

**Substantial business can be proven by registration of business; financial statements may be requested.

***Review of financial situation may require submission of bank statements.

****Legal status in Canada includes citizenship, permanent residency and visas (work, student).

Some negative factors that affect the decision of whether or not to grant a visitor visa are the following:

Host of visit remained in Canada past expiry of visitor visa or student authorization, or entered illegally (based on record of landing or previous files);
He/she is unmarried;
He/she is in a poor financial situation;
He/she has poorly paying employment, or is unemployed;
Host of visit is a friend or distant family member with whom the applicant rarely interacts;
He/she has had no previous travel abroad;
He/she has previously been denied a visitor visa, a student visa, or a work visa;
He/she has been denied a visa by another country;
He/she does not own any property;
He/she wants to visit his/her fiancé(e) or spouse who is residing in Canada;
He/she is listed in FOSS*

*FOSS is a national immigration database that contains information on all applicants who have violated the Act or has had a report written regarding them

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) have stated that none of the above factors are ever considered in isolation, unless one single factor has been said to establish inadmissibility. The process through which visas are granted is holistic, considering all of the positive and negative factors before a decision is made.

It could take upwards of one month for your application to be processed, so do not leave this until the last minute. If you apply on paper, do not mail in your application! You need to submit your application to the nearest visa application center (VAC) near you. You may also need to give biometrics (fingerprints and a photograph), as well as pay an application fee.

FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration follow FWCanada on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

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