What to consider in a Visitor Visa Application?
Posted on - May 10, 2016

By Catherine A. Sas, QC

Catherine Sas Q.C.

I am often contacted by people who have had a visitor visa application for a friend or family member refused and they want to know what information is required in order for an application to succeed. In considering a visitor visa application, an officer will want to know the reasons for the visit, how long the person will stay, what their ties are to their home country, their financial circumstances as well as for the host and such other factors that are likely to demonstrate that they will depart Canada. It is important to remember that a visitor visa is for a temporary stay in Canada and the officer will want to be assured that the person will leave Canada at the end of the stay.

You will need to explain the reason for the visit. Personal relationships can be very tricky as they tend to suggest a permanent relationship which does not support a temporary visit. It is imperative to be truthful in any immigration application, but how you describe your circumstances can facilitate obtaining a visa. It is important to understand that there is presumption that a person will be staying permanently in Canada so the information that is provided must confirm that a visit is temporary in nature and that the visitor will leave. Factors to consider are the proposed length of stay. A long term visit requires greater evidence of financial ability of both the visitor and the host.

How do you provide the reasons for the visit? People often ask me if I can provide a “Letter of Invitation” or a “Statutory Declaration” to support a visitor visa application. There is no magic formula or document that guarantees success or a greater likelihood of success. Often a simple letter – both from the prospective visitor and the Canadian host – will suffice. You also need to provide evidence such as employment to return to, family ties in the country of residence, property ownership, bank accounts, previous travel to other foreign countries, as well as how long they plan to stay in Canada.

Obtaining a visa is not always easy. An applicant needs to have a reasonable and logical reason for their visit, provide proof of adequate financial resources for the duration of their stay and have clear evidence that demonstrates their strong connection to their home country such that it is more likely than not that they will return at the end of the visit. The application forms and personal identification alone are generally not enough to support a successful visitor visa application. Providing clear, readable and, if necessary, translated documentation in support of a visitor visa application greatly increases the chances of success.


Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 25 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 5 consecutive years.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.

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