First of all, if you go to their website, there is no such thing as a “tourist visa”, it will only say “temporary resident visa” whether you’re going for business or tourism.
There was no need to appear personally, as in my case, in the embassy. Canada is one of the countries that have elected to hire the services of VFS, just like European countries who have no embassies here in the Philippines. Submission of documents will be done in VFS in Ecoplaza, Makati. And just like my application for Australian tourist visa, I had to submit tons of documents for the Canada visa.
One of the first things you need to understand in your visa application, as in any other, is what kind of visa you need. Once you know what kind, you have to know next how to get it – as a sticker on your passport, an e-visa, or a travel permit (exemption).
For the purpose of this blog, I am going to Canada for business (training), for 2-3 weeks. This means I’m going for a non-permanent resident visa. There is no need to produce a paid plane ticket, but a mock booking will be required. Most travel agencies will help you provide one if you get their services. If you’re applying on your own, you can pay for your “mock booking” instead.
Disclaimer: I have a single-entry temporary visa to Canada by way of an agency hired by our company since there WAS a plan to send me there. I say was because we didn’t expect the application to take a month until the project got shelved. Anyway, to create this article, I had to start from scratch as a tourist and I’ll show you the steps without submitting my visa since it’s still valid till October 2018.
STEP 1: GO TO THE WEBSITE AND CREATE AN ACCOUNT
Click this link and you’ll be routed to the Philippine Embassy website of Canada. Choose the type of visa you want to apply to. In my case, I selected VISIT.
STEP 2: CLICK VISA APPLICATION TO DETERMINE HOW YOU WANT TO GET YOUR VISA
For this sample, I selected visa application.
STEP 3: SELECT VISIT CANADA (VISITOR VISA)
After clicking visitor visa, you will be prompted to select whether you’re applying online or via paper. I chose online since I already have an actual visa and just documenting the steps.
If you want to apply via paper, you have to go to VFS in Chino Roces Avenue Ext. Makati. You don’t have to be there personally – we had an agency process mine since this was a business trip. Below is the list of documents that you can download:
STEP 4: CREATE AN ACCOUNT
This is very similar to Australia e-visa and US visa application – first you’d need to create an account to download / fill out forms, upload documents or photos, and make the payment. Read our Australia tourist visa guide and US B1B2 visa guide, if you’d like.
In this step, I selected the GCKey account by clicking continue to GCKey.
After putting your personal information and your security Q&A, you will get a confirmation on the page itself (not via email).
Once you have logged in, you will have to accept the Terms and Conditions and you will be asked to set up your own security questions and answers. If it’s not the first time you’re logging in, then you will be asked to answer any of the security questions you’ve set up. Please remember that this is case sensitive.
STEP 5: SELECT VISITOR VISA AND CHECK IF YOU’RE ELIGIBLE TO APPLY:
Since I have already selected visitor under what would you like to do today?, the next time I visited the site, the option was no longer available. For first time applicants, select visitor.
You will then be asked a few questions to determine your eligibility:
After the series of standard questions, you will see the result, just as I did:
STEP 6: SUBMIT YOUR FORMS AND DOCUMENTS
Now this another set of ‘steps’ so go ahead and check the steps here, last of which is the CAD 100 (PHP 4,090) visa fee payable via credit or debit card.
For travel history, I usually just have an affidavit notarized listing all of the international trips I’ve taken. This is exactly what I did when I applied for an Australian tourist visa.
For proof of means of financial support, you can present your Certificate of Employment with compensation, Income Tax Return, Pay Slip, Bank Statement or Bank Account, Credit Card Statement, Business Permit, Property Titles.
For purpose of travel, you may want to include an itinerary that you made for your planned visit, or in my case, an invite letter from our clients based in Toronto.
STEP 7: SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION; WAIT FOR THE RESULT.
After uploading your documents and paying the fee, submit the application and wait. I had to wait for more than a month before I heard from the embassy. They wanted me to upload / send a new document with the correct date. My original invite letter said the travel date would be in April but since we have not anticipated the duration of the application, the dates indicated were already past the date. It’s a good thing that our client was kind enough to send one with an updated date.
I did not get the result via email since the agency applied on my behalf. Instead, I got an email from the agency saying that my passport was already returned. And because I applied via paper, I had the visa sticker on my passport.
STEP 8: BOOK YOUR CANADA TICKETS!
As I was supposed to fly to Toronto, my plan was to visit Niagara Falls as I was told the Canadian side was more beautiful than seen from New York. I don’t know, either could work for me actually. But man, look at the prices compared between Manila-New York and Manila-Toronto!
Another must-visit in my bucket if money isn’t an issue (but it is), would be Banff in Alberta, and it’s cheaper to travel there since it’s in the pacific side, closer to Manila. It’s also a favorite spot for viewing the northern lights.
So if you have plans of seeing these really wonderful places of Canada, or visiting relatives, go ahead and try your luck!