But first things first, let me start by briefly explaining the visa process for the ones who need them. It is rather simple to obtain it especially if your country has no beef with Canada. The application process I underwent was pretty straight forward and online. There is no different application for someone going on business trip or leisure such as meeting up with friends/family, all must apply for temporary residence. It also relieved me to see how secure the whole process was, considering they are relying their decisions entirely on your scanned documents sent online… I mean, I don't doubt myself, but should they not want to be more thorough? But it was indeed very secure and easy.
Procedure: Almost everyone can apply online. The process starts with filling out a questionnaire on whether you require a visa or not. And based on the type of application, purpose and origin of passport, you will receive guidelines and list of documents required. You will be given a reference number at the end of the questionnaire that you would need to key in when creating an account for the online visa application procedure.
Once the account is created, log in to the account with your GCKey and apply online. Do note down your GCKey ID since if you lose one it is almost impossible to access your account without making a new one, and that can be quite a headache if you already submitted everything cause now you cannot check your status :O. Same with the password but that is a bit easier to retrieve. Also do remember your security questions (3 of them), which will be asked every time you log in, every time being a different one…
Applying, like I said, is pretty straight forward, you need to fill in your personal details, and most importantly upload your application form called IMM5257 that you fill electronically. One good thing about online application is that you don't need to sign it personally, but you would need to provide an electronic signature to ensure security. Upload all the other documents such as:
1. Financial proof
2. Passport copy
3. Previous visas scanned copy
4. Proof of residence
5. Application Fee (generally USD $100)
6. Invitation letter from Canada if possible, or address of a relative/family member
7. A form on your family members and relatives, IMM5645,
8. Any itinerary, if you have.
9. A digital photo (headshot) conforming with the passport photo requirements.
10. And your completed IMM5257 form.
(Details to be found in the website.)
Then once they accept it and a decision is reached, they would ask for your original Passport for either approval or rejection. This is generally done within the same day (if applied early) or the next day. To submit the passport, you can book an appointment and go by yourself, send someone on your behalf, or just mail it by post.
Note: They only accept POSTAL ORDER if sending via mail so please do not send cheques, cash or bank details.
Do remember, if mailing by post, you must enclose the "secure transmission fee" that is the fee payable to the consulate that sends it to the Canadian Embassy. And if you'd like, also add the amount payable for the return service. I sent a prepaid fast track envelope along with my package since it's more easier (and cheaper).
Process time: It took 5 working days for my Visa to get processed from the time of postage at the local post office till the time of arrival at my door.
I must say, it's all thanks to my PhD and my University for this amazing opportunity. It's not always work work and more work with endless hours of endeavour, continuous nagging from the superiors, or toiling in the labs but to no avail… Once in a while you get to go out, see places, and make new friends… Just like this time I am going to Toronto for a week for both business and leisure, with business of course taking the priority… But remember, always stop and smell the roses, or whatever that you spot intriguing…
That's all from me for now folks,
Stay tuned for my update as I unravel the land defined by red maple leaves and the misty majestic Niagara falls…