This guide is intended for Temporary Residence Visa to Canada for Tourism purpose for Filipino applicants residing in KSA applying online. Please check your eligibility first if your nationality is allowed to apply online, otherwise you need to apply on paper and must appear in person at VFS Riyadh to submit your biometrics details. (online application works better on Internet Explorer)
Canada visa application is the most challenging visa to get as per my experience. It requires longer processing (39 days processing in Saudi Arabia as per this post) and a lot of documents too. When I applied online for Canada Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) for tourism purpose on Aug2016 intended for my Eid Holiday plan on September 2016, I got refused due to the following:
First (immigration status in country of residence), when I applied for Canada visa, my Iqama has 4 months remaining before it expires. Although I also submitted an explanation letter regarding this, that it will be renewed 2 months before it expires, which was really the case, this situation gave the visa officer enough doubt about my immigration status in KSA. Second (purpose of visit), I did not submit an itinerary and my flight booking was just a screenshot of the flight itinerary I took from a website (not an actual flight booking). Again, I stated this on my Explanation Letter that I will take that flight once visa is granted, but they did not consider that explanation. Lastly, (current employment situation), when I applied, I did not submit copy of my ExitReEntry visa. This document is essential in determining the validity of my residence/work permit validity, which during that time, only have 4 months remaining before it expires. Having a clean travel history from European countries, USA, Japan, etc. for the past 5 years didn’t helped much in this application. I received Visa refusal notification after 20 days of submitting my application online.
Where did I go instead when my Canada visa application was refused?
Since my UK and Schengen visas are still valid during that time, I just traveled to Manchester UK and Copenhagen Denmark during Eid Holiday in September 2016.
I applied again for Canada TRV on Nov2017. I have used the same Profile I created in 2016 for this new visa application in 2017. If this is your first time, you must create a profile and password at https://www.cic.gc.ca/english/ and answer the questions so you can be given a GCKey at the end of the process based on your answers. Be sure to remember all your answers as you will be asked to answer it for security reasons everytime you log in. From the date of creating an account, you have 60 days to complete your online application. If you can’t finish it in one time, just save it and go back to complete it later once you have all the information you need.
Forms & documents you need to complete (as per your personal checklist online):
- IMM5257E – Once you logged in, there are several questions you need to confirm until you reach the page showing the list of forms you need to complete (checklist) and what supporting documents you need to upload. This IMM5257E is the actual visa application form, do not open this form, just download it instead and save it on your desktop and start filling it out, put N/A for questions not applicable to you. Once completed, just click “VALIDATE” and save it. No need to print this form or write your signature. This form will create barcodes automatically once validated. Save the form and upload it on this part of your online application.
- Proof of Means of Financial Support – Make 1 file for the following (Employment Certificate signed and stamped by your Sponsor and attested by Chamber of Commerce + 6 months payslip + 6 months bank statement) and upload it on this part as 1 whole PDF file not more than 4MB size.
- Travel History – Make 1 file for the following (all pages containing visa labels, entry/exit stamps from current or old passports or copy of boarding pass + copy of Iqama with English Translation + ExitReEntry visa) and upload it on this part as 1 whole PDF file not more than 4MB size.
- Passport – upload the data page of your current passport including page showing your signature + other pages with stamps (passport validity should not be less than 6 months).
- Photo – upload your photo 3.5X4.5cm size white background (file size not more than 4MB)
- Purpose of Travel – Make 1 file for the following (daily itinerary + flight booking + hotel booking)
- IMM5645E – This is the Family Information form. Don’t open this form, just download it and save it on your desktop. Then complete details of your family members whether or not they are traveling with you. No need to sign it, just save it and upload it on this part.
- IMM5257B_1 – This is the Schedule 1 form. Don’t open it, just download it and save it on your desktop. Then complete the security questionnaire and you need to list down all countries you visited in the last 5 years. Once completed, click the “VALIDATE” button and save it and upload it on this part. No need to print or write your actual signature.
- Letter of Explanation – you can write additional details about your trip, you can explain further for any information you wish to clarify. No word limit so take advantage of this.
After completing the above forms and uploaded all required supporting documents, they will ask you to sign this whole online application electronically. Then click the next step, payment of your visa application online by credit card (CAD100). You will receive email confirmation after this. Then several email update notifications. Followed by a long waiting game in the hope that your visa will be approved in the end. If refused, they will just send you email explaining why they refused your application. If approved, they will request for your original passport to be submitted at VFS Riyadh. You will also see on your online profile “Final decision: Your visa application is approved”. You need to print that Request for Passport Submission letter and submit it together with your original passport. VFS staff will ask you to pay by cash the passport transmission fee + Aramex courier fee so that they can just deliver my passport at my address after visa stamping at Canadian Embassy, otherwise I can collect it at VFS by myself or by my representative after processing.
Payment to be collected at VFS (in CASH only):
SAR125 – Passport Transmission fee
SAR6 – SMS service fee
SAR24 – Aramex courier fee
Nov02- I completed my online application and uploaded all supporting documents, paid visa fee. I received 2 emails as confirmation of visa payment and visa submission.
Nov03- I received email update on my application, asking me to login and check it, when I open, there is no update, don’t worry, it’s normal, it seems that you will receive email updates whenever the Visa Officer open your file.
Nov04- I received email update on my application, but it’s the same when I login, no update.
Nov30- I received an update containing a letter requesting to submit my original Passport, I went at VFS Riyadh immediately to submit the Request Letter+ my original Passport+ payment of Passport transmission. Late afternoon I received 2 sms confirming my passport has been forwarded at Canada Visa Office.
Dec05- Morning I received update on my online profile status to “Approved”. Also received an email from VFS that my passport was being couriered by VFS. Afternoon I received my passport from Aramex.
Visa Approved (2017)
5 years Multiple (until my passport validity)
How to compile Travel History in 1 PDF file
Make sure to download Acrobat Reader DC so you can edit, combine, reduce files or you may copy paste all travel history files to Microsoft Word then save it as PDF, as long as the total size is not more than 4MB. Travel history means all pages of your current and previous passports containing visa labels, entry/exit stamps. In case you have Australian Evisa or traveled to Australia, it means your passport will not have visa label nor entry/exit stamps so the only evidence of your travel is copies of your airline boarding pass. Also include your valid Iqama copy with English translation and your Exit-reEntry visa. Make sure that your Iqama is still valid for 1 year otherwise they may take shorter remaining validity as grounds for refusing visa.
How to compile Proof of Means of Financial Support in 1 PDF file
Make sure to download Acrobat Reader DC so you can edit, combine, reduce files or you may copy paste all files to Microsoft Word then save it as PDF, as long as the total size is not more than 4MB. Financial capacity evidence is Certificate of Employment – make sure your name, nationality, passport number, Iqama number and validity date, position, monthly salary, approved leave, purpose of travel, duration of contract is clearly written, this should be signed and stamped by your employer and attested by Chamber of Commerce. 6 months payslip – must show that the salary stated on your CoE are the same amount on your payslip. 6 months bank statement – stamped by your bank on 1st and last page or online statement should show that your employer deposits the same salary mentioned on your CoE on a monthly basis. Your last balance must be more than enough to cover your entire trip (amount of plane ticket+ amount of hotels+ daily expenses). You can also add Creditcard statement if available or shares of stocks, Company Register if you’re a business owner. If you are not funding your own trip you must provide guarantee letter from the person sponsoring you or inviting you in Canada with copies of his/her bank statement, and passport, ID/visa status in Canada.
How to compile Purpose of Travel in 1 PDF file
Make sure to download Acrobat Reader DC so you can edit, combine, reduce files or you may copy paste all files to Microsoft Word then save it as PDF, as long as the total size is not more than 4MB. Evidence of travel purpose is Daily itinerary – make a list of what you plan to do from day1 to last day in Canada. I made an itinerary starting from the day of my flight from Riyadh to Manila to show that I will stay first in Manila before flying to Canada. Flight ticket – I included my already paid roundtrip ticket from Riyadh-Manila and a flight booking issued by travel agency for Manila-Vancouver. I also included my MabuhayMiles Elite membership statement to show that I even have enough miles for a free flight to Canada from Manila. Hotel reservation – I took it from booking.com covering cities I plan to visit (Vancouver & Banff). If you have invitation you must include it here.
Letter of Explanation
You can write whatever additional information about your trip to Canada which you find useful to your visa application. No format to follow and no word limit. On this letter, I actually answered and explained one-by-one the 3 points mentioned on my previous Refusal Letter. Giving them an assurance that I have no intention of overstaying my visa. Among G7 member countries, Canada is the only country I haven’t visited yet.