Monday, May 12, 2008

Visit Canada

Nowadays, most of us would require a visa to visit Canada (some exceptions to that though). I recently had to go through this process which believe you me is really straightforward and easy. Hopefully this helps someone!

Here are the details you need to get Canadian Tourist Visa:
  1. Recent passport (obviously)
  2. Application form duly filled
  3. Two passport size photos (read about the photo specifications below)
  4. Photocopy of your current immigration document (H1B Visa + I797 copy)
  5. Proof of financial support (bank stmts, pay stubs)
  6. Proof of employment (a letter from your employer including details of your position, date of hire, rate of pay, etc... or simply a summary of your position would do)
    Students will have to get a letter from your school registrar's office confirming your current enrollment.
  7. Travel Plans (photocopy of your return ticket although it is not necessary, I had included a letter saying that I will be driving to Canada from Seattle and had included the itinerary for Seattle)
  8. Prepaid envelope
  9. Any additional documents which you feel might be useful for the consulate

If you plan on going to the Consulate @ NYC you will have to fill an extra supplementary information.

You can find most of the information on this website.
Application for a Temporary Resident Visa to Visit Canada

Click here to download the document checklist.

The fee per person is $75 for a single entry visa, $150 for a multiple entry visa or $400 for a family (multiple or single entry).

An important clause for the single entry visa: With a single entry visa you may leave and re-enter Canada without obtaining a new visa if you are returning to Canada following a visit only to the United States; and you return before the expiry of the period initially authorized for your entry. (For example, if after your initial entry to Canada, you left Canada and entered the USA, then proceeded to visit India, your single entry visa would no longer be valid for re-entry to Canada.)

Special mention for the photographs:
  • Your face must be square to the camera with a neutral expression, neither frowning nor smiling, and with your mouth closed.
  • The photographs must be clear, well defined and taken against a plain white or light-colored background.
  • The frame size must be at least 35 mm x 45 mm
  • The photographs must show the full front view of the head, with the face in the middle of the photograph, and include the top of the shoulders.
  • Money Order (the cheapest to get, ideally form a post office)
  • Cashier’s Cheque (the bank would charge you a fee like $6 or so)
  • Bank Draft (check with your bank
  • Cash if in person

I have heard from my friends that you get your visa generally on the same day if you visit the consulate. If you are living in cities where you don't have a consulate and you have time simply use the mailing option. Trust me it works great and is pretty quick besides saving you the time! Generally, the visa arrives in about a week's time. The LAX consulate is the fastest I know of and takes exactly a week. NYC takes about 10 days.

Here are the addresses where you could submit your application.

For Los Angeles:
Consulate General of Canada
Immigration Section
550 South Hope Street, 9th Floor
Los Angeles, California
90071, USA

Applicable for people living in California, Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.
Document checklist for Los Angeles

For New York:
Consulate General of Canada
Immigration Section
1251 Avenue of the Americas
Concourse Level
New York, New York
10020-1175, USA

Document checklist for NYC

If you plan to drive to Niagara Falls and visit the Canadian side (which I think is very much justified) you should think of getting your visa at the Canadian consulate @ Buffalo.

You can download the application form here.

Please use this information only as a guideline and do visit the official website for the latest info. and necessary documents.

The consulate sends the visa back by certified USPS mail. Have a good trip!

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