Updated: Feb 25
Do you have a family member or friend who is eager to come to Canada but you are just not sure if their story is compelling enough to convince an immigration officer? Many of the elements we are going to share with you in this blog post will have at least a partial application to other visa categories such as student visas, work permit and of course, visitor visas.
There are a few key elements that must be considered. They are: financial means, travel history, connection to your home country, the intent of the visit, proof and supporting evidence. No single factor that was enumerated herein has a higher value than another factor, but rather a delicate combination has a stronger probability of success.
When it comes to financial means, there are quite a few relevant characteristics to consider. For instance, when an individual is earning what may be considered a reasonable salary in Canada in their country of origin, but there, that salary goes much further, the financial means factor is not an issue. Other ways to show financial means are savings accounts with money held for at least 6 months. Having a letter of invitation from a person in Canada who guarantees to the government of Canada within the scope of their invitation that they will assume full financial responsibility for your stay with proof of means thereof is also another alternative. The logical amount really depends on the length of stay, the cost of airfare, the cost of living expenses and the purpose of the trip.
It often happens that people who have never travelled outside of their country of origin ultimately decide that Canada should be their first destination. We have also seen instances of individuals who did travel to other countries via bus or vehicle and did not have any passport stamps to prove their international travel. In instances where there is legal immigration history, but one may lack in evidentiary proof, we strongly encourage you to write an explanation letter disclosing your travel history. Where there is no history, it is best to create a strong sense of purpose and ground it in solid factual evidence so that a reasonable person looking at the evidence will understand and be able to answer why now? Travel history is important for a few reasons. Among them are that it creates a history of legal immigration and compliance to immigration laws, it shows that the person has some sense of financials means and stability, it creates trust, it shows that the person traveling has a connection to their home country and a reason to return.
Although travel history is one way to prove connection to the country of origin, there are a number of other ways as well. Marriage or common law relationships and dependents who stay behind are one way to show that the stay is intended to be temporary in nature. It is important to include those documents or proofs in each application. Other people show property ownership, business ownership and other immovable assets in their country of origin as well.
Many visa offices have their own country-specific checklists with explicit instructions on what documents to include in the visa application. These are wonderful as guides but they should not be taken as the only thing that is necessary. We don't train for a marathon by taking a walk in the same way that we cannot expect a favourable decision by doing the bare minimum. A successful application is often grounded in solid proof, illustrates clear intent and tells a story that a reasonable person will understand. Polish and perfect the story prior to submitting!