A record number of visas was issued in 2012 by the Canadian government: almost 1 million. This represents a 40% increase compared to 2004 and it is the result of the current government plan to speed and ease the process as much as possible.
Aiming to attract more visitors, to grow the economy and to create new jobs, the authorities now offer the option to apply for a temporary visa online. It’s a new process, with atvantages and distadvantages, but that generally makes life easier for many.
Types of accepted online applications
You can now apply online for the following :
- New work permit or extension
- New study permit or extension
- Visitor visa
- Visitor status extension
Who can apply online?
Until recently only those already in Canada on a study or work permit had the option to request a visa online, as well as those who wanted to extend their temporary status. Now the citizens of almost every country in the world have the option to do it, their applications still being processed at the local embassy responsible for their country of residence.
How does it work?
The applicant answers different questions and the system generates a personalized checklist. In the online account the applicant can then submit the scanned documents. Once submitted the application, they information is transferred to the local embassy, that processes the file and then communicates with the applicant about the neccessary documents, for example the original passport for stamping the visa.
- less mailing fees
- you can pay by credit card
- less processing times
- you can keep your passport and documents while the file is being processed.
- All documents need translations. Some local embassies accept the documents without translations and applying on paper may save the applicant the translation fees.
- The official fees are paid online. This may be an advantage for many, however those who don’t have an available credit card that allows to make payments in Canadian currency may prefer to apply on paper and pay in the local currency as per the indications of the embassy.
- Since it is an automated system, in some cases the questions don’t apply to everyone, and without answering all questions, the application can not be submitted.
- If the checklist is incomplete, it may be difficult to submit additional documents.
- A good level of English or French is needed, as all the instructions and questions are in these languages.
Other important details:
- Accepted format for submitting scanned documents online: .pdf, .jpg, .tif, .png, .doc, .docx
- Maximum size: 4MB.
- Accepted credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express.
- Use one file for each document type. For example, if you are asked to provide multiple pages of your passport, you must scan and save all pages as one file.
- A “help” feature can provide you with more information about every form or document. The help text will appear below the list of documents.
- Your file will be saved for 60 days, after that it will be automatically deleted.
- The option of applying on paper at the local embassy is still available.
Even if some may consider the system complicated, it is very well done, as the government invests many efforts and money in improving it constantly.