October 17, 2010
My Niece Cannot Visit
Q: I came to Canada from Venezuela in 1999 and received my Canadian citizenship in 2004. I have always worked and paid my taxes accordingly. Some of my family visited me in Canada and then went back home, as was expected from them.
In 2004, one of my nieces who has an accounting degree, applied for a visitor visa to the Canadian visa post in Venezuela, but was refused. Three years later, in 2007, she applied for another visitor visa, and she was again refused, on the grounds that she does not have enough ties to return to Venezuela. She is now 25 years old, is gainfully employed, is healthy and has no criminal record. Both times she applied for the visitor visa, she fulfilled all the requirements of the procedure and presented also an invitation letter from me and my husband, saying that we will support her for the whole duration of the visit.
I know that the political situation in Venezuela makes many young people leave the country, but it is not so in my niece’s case. She just wants to visit us, spend some time with us and our daughter (her cousin) and then return back home. Do you have any advice as to how to obtain the visitor visa for her?
A: Temporary resident visas (visitor visa) are a very controversial topic, as it grants the visa officer considerable subjective and objective discretion to asses the applicant’s intentions. A visa officer is obligated to look at the following:
- Does the applicant have any intention of remaining in Canada beyond the requested period of visit or is likely to claim requiring refugee status or seeking other avenues of remaining in Canada?
- Are the ties to their home country strong enough for the applicant to return home?:;
- The purpose of the trip and the activities during that trip – likely genuine or false?;
- Can the Applicant be away for that long – work, financially, family commitments?, etc
- Who are they visiting – ties to Canada – close family where they will unlikely leave?;
- Ties with the country of residence: assets, employment, salary, relatives, etc.;
- Means of support in Canada;
- Travel history of applicant and relatives – have they come and gone legally?; and
- All of this must be supported by detailed and related supporting documentation.
Unfortunately sometimes who does and does not receive visitor visas is country specific. There has been some abuse where applicants have stayed and claimed refugee status from Venezuela and the country conditions there are far less than ideal. This however should not result in a 100% refusal of all Applicants. The remedy in these cases is to go to the Federal Court and challenge the refusal. Good luck!