February 7, 2018
Top 5 Key Tips When Preparing and Submitting an Immigration Visitor Visa Application to Canada
I am often asked what are the key issues that come up in Federal Court when challenging a visitor visa refusal that should be addressed when first preparing and submitting a visitor visa application. This is a great question. I gave it some thought and here is my list.
1. Purpose of Visit
May seem obvious but the reason for the visit as well as the time requested for the travel must make sense. If the trip is for personal reasons do not couch it as a business trip. If visiting a boyfriend or girlfriend, be open and do not suggest it is to visit a family member because it may sound more compelling.
The purpose of visit could be to see many people. Clear intentions are always best. Misrepresentations on visitor visas can come back to haunt foreign nationals when applying for permanent residency. In short, the purpose for the trip must be clear, credible and fully set out.
2. Immigration Status in Home Country
There must be clear declarations of dual citizenship, permanent and/or temporary status. It is also important to provide the jurisdictional contexts. United Arab Emirates (UAE) for example, does not recognize dual citizenship and people obtain their residency visa for as long as they have employment. So as one example, if someone from the UAE was planning a 6 month visit without reference to their immigration/employment status, this could be cause for concern on behalf of an immigration officer.
Obviously travel and immigration documents must be current. Failing to provide a clear immigration and residency history can be problematic.
3. Ties in Home Country
Where immediate family members live, familial responsibilities and resulting financial obligations are important factors that come into play. Limited ties to a home country although unfair can in certain circumstances be an issue. An applicant must clearly set out employment and give a sense of day to day living. Is the applicant caring for a sick relative? Is there a big project coming up at work? Why are these details important? Because there are rarely in person interviews anymore so these paper/online applications must come to life. It must be made clear the applicant has a life to return to in their home country.
4. Past Travel and Civil History
A positive travel history and exemplary civil, employment and financial records are critical. Any admissibility issues like criminality, security are givens. As is evidence that an applicant will not pose any health risks and remains in good health and has no history of any communicable, physical or mental disease. Where health is a concern, the arrangement of travel and medical insurance may assist. More obscure concerns can sometimes relate to distant entry or removal issues in other countries and refusals in other countries may weigh heavily.
Educational and employment history should be set out. Financial records should be clearly detailed and supported, demonstrating a consistent balance and not a recent deposit to establish financial strength. Personal and business financial records should be distinguished. In all, exhibiting financial stability and establishment as well as the ability to be self-supporting while visiting Canada are important.
5. Ability to Leave Canada
This one is sometimes overlooked. What does the applicant have to go back to at the conclusion of the visit? If the applicant has travelled extensively, have they always complied with the conditions of their stay? The more countries the better and extensive history of compliance during travels abroad is a strong indicator of future comportment with the terms of any visa issued by Canada. The need to travel to Canada more than once is also helpful because an applicant is unlikely to jeopardize the long-term ability to continue to enter Canada as well as other countries on any future travels for one trip.
So, a number of factors to consider. Happy travels!