How to Apply for a Canada Tourist Visa in the Philippines?
Taking a flight to the US with multiple lay-overs in Canada required me to have a valid Canada Tourist Visa. I was lucky to be able to score a flight to the United States in a cheap price but it has layovers in Vancouver and Toronto. My flight was from Hong Kong to Vancouver to Toronto to Washington DC. It has domestic transfer. Instead of a transit visa, I needed to apply for a Canada Tourist Visa.
After getting approved of a US Tourist Visa, I then started filling out my application form for Canada Tourist Visa. I also used the documents I readied for my US Tourist Visa application to my application for Canada Tourist Visa. There are three ways to apply. You can apply through the website online, by mail and in person at the Canada Visa Application Center (CVAC). The easiest and most convenient for me is applying online.
How to Apply for Canada Tourist Visa Online?
1. Accomplish Visa Application Form
First is to fill out the Form IMM5257 electronically, which is available through this link. If you access the link using Chrome or Firefox, the page will only display “Please Wait”. So, I suggest to get access to the form using Internet Explorer. Then, download the forms and open it using the latest Adobe Reader.
Another form that I accomplished is the Family Information Form or IMM5645E Form. This form has information about your immediate family members.
2. Create a GCKey Account
Next thing to do is to register for a GCKey user ID and password if you don’t have one. This will give you an access to the online services of Government of Canada, including CIC. It stands for Citoyenneté et Immigration Canada, which is the government agency that handles immigration and visa applications.
- Sign Up
- Read and accept the terms and conditions
- Create a username
- Set a password
- Create security questions and answers
Once account has been created, click the Visitor visa, study and/or work permit button to start your application. Then, a series of questions will be asked to decide your eligibility for a visa. Answer truthfully because this will going to be the basis for your visa type.
3. Upload Your Documents
This step is where you have to provide the documents to support your application. It has a checklist that displays the documents types to upload. Please note that acceptable file types are only PDF, JPG, TIFF, PNG, DOC and DOCX. Also for each document type, you can only upload one file. If you will be submitting multiple pages, you have to save them in one file. For example, for proof of financial of support, bank statement, pay slip and Income Tax Return (ITR) should only be in one file. Each file must also not exceed 4MB.
Documents to Submit:
- Application for Visitor Visa (Temporary Resident Visa) Made Outside of Canada – Accomplished Application Form or IMM5257E
- Travel History – Passport pages with entry and exit stamps as well as the pages and documents with your expired and valid visas
- Passport – Passport bio page
- Proof of Means of Financial Support – Bank statement, pay slip and certificate of employment
- Digital Photo – Photo with at least 35mm x 45mm in size
- Purpose of Travel – I submitted a copy of my flight ticket only because I will only be visiting Canada for a layover. But for this document type, you also need to send travel itinerary including hotel booking.
- Family Information – Accomplished Family Information Form or IMM5645E
- Client Information – This part is optional if you would like to provide more information about your application. On this part, you can also attach a letter of explanation. I submitted a cover letter. I stated why I was applying for a Canada Tourist Visa in the first place. That is because of my multiple layovers as well my intention to visit the country in the future.
Once you have submitted your application and completed the requirements, affix your signature by simply typing your name in the field provided.
4. Pay the Visa Fee
Visa fee is CA $100. Acceptable cards are MasterCard, Visa and American Express. I paid by credit card. When my payment was confirmed, I received a message in my account with a confirmation number and a link to my official receipt.
5. Original Passport Request
10 days after I submitted my application, I received another message in my account for original passport request. It stated that a decision has been made on my application. Therefore, the embassy is requiring to submit my passport to finalize my application.
- Provide passport with a copy of Original Passport Request letter
- Passport has at least one blank page
- Must be valid for the duration of your expected length of stay in Canada
- Passport must be submitted within 30 days from the date of original passport request
Please note that the embassy cannot issue a visa beyond the expiry date on the passport. So if the expiration date of your passport is in 2022, most likely that the embassy will only grant you a visa valid until 2022. If your passport is going to be expired sooner or within the year, I suggest renewing it first before applying for a Canada Tourist Visa.
6. Submit the Passport to the Canada Visa Application Centre
There are two Canada Visa Application Centre in the Philippines. The locations are in Makati City and Cebu City. You can submit your passport in person, through an authorized representative or through mail. I submitted mine in person in their office in Makati City. Submitting the passport at the VAC entails a service charge. List of fees is available through this link.
After submitting my passport, I received an email from Canada Visa Application Centre telling that my application is already being processed. The email also includes a tracking number. I used this number to check the status of my application through the VFS Global website.
5 days after, I received another email telling that my passport is available already for collection. I went to the Canada Visa Application Centre the next day and picked up my passport with a Canada Tourist Visa label in it already. The embassy granted me a multiple-entry visa valid until the expiration of my passport.
My Canada Tourist Visa Application Timeline
September 24, 2018 – Submitted my application and documents online
October 4, 2018 – Received a message for Original Passport Request
October 5, 2018 – Submitted my passport to the Canada Visa Application Centre
October 9, 2018 – Passport has been dispatched from the Canada Visa Office
October 10, 2018 – Passport is available for collection
October 11, 2018 – Picked up passport at Canada Visa Application Centre
Update – Mandatory Biometric Enrolment
Effective December 31, 2018, biometrics enrolment is now required for applications from Asia, Asia-Pacific and the Americas. Applicants need to set an appointment in order to enroll biometrics at the Visa Application Centre. You may find more information about this new requirement through this link.
Frequently Asked Questions
- When is the best time to apply for Canada Tourist Visa? I suggest at least three months before the trip.
- Do I need to have a show-money? Yes. Applicant must submit proof of means of financial support. This could be bank statement for the past four months or pay slip.
- How much should be the show-money? It depends on the number of days that you will be in Canada. Estimated budget should be around CA $100 per day.
Please note that steps provided in this blog are for application for a Canada tourist visa only. If you are applying for other types of visa, please contact the embassy or visit the official website.
Got questions? Comment it down below and we’ll try to answer it.
Canada Visa Application Centers
Makati – VFS Services Phils. Pvt. Inc.
29th Floor The World Center Building
330 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City
Hours of Operation: 7:00am to 4:00pm
Cebu – VFS Services Phils. Pvt. Inc.
9F Keppel Center Unit 905 Samar Loop corner Cardinal Rosales Ave,
Cebu Business Park, Cebu City
Hours of Operation: 7:00am to 3:00pm
Phone: +63 2 528 2505