I cannot emphasize this enough. Make sure you send in your application early. My recommendation will be at least two months before you travel. I learnt the hard way.
I applied for a Canadian visa for work because i was attending a conference in Toronto for 5 days; July 5th – July 10th, 2018. My company processed my visa application through an immigration lawyer. I believe this is to allow the employee to go about their regular duties without worry about the paper work involved in visa applications. I still had to fill out the forms and send to them to double-check for errors.
You do need a visa to visit Canada if you hold a Ghanaian passport and will need the following documents when applying for a business/tourist visa
- Application for a Temporary Resident Visa (IMM5257) – To be completed by answering all questions. You need to review and validate this form which will generate a barcode to be added to your application
- Schedule 1 – Application for a Temporary Resident Visa Made Outside of Canada
- Family Information Form (IMM5707) – To be completed in full and signed where necessary.
Because an agent supported me with my visa application, i had to fill the next set of forms to allow them process the application on my behalf. This is an optional step and having a representative does not guarantee a visa.
- Use of Representative (IMM5476)
- Authority to Release Personal Information (IMM5475)
- A digital photo (see description here)
- Scanned copy of all passport pages with stamps (if applying online)
- Copies of current immigration status if you’re resident in a country other than your country of origin
- Copies of post-secondary educational credentials, i.e. degrees, certificates, diplomas, etc. – I was really surprised by this 😀
- Evidence of any provisional travel arrangements
- Proof of funds including most recent bank statements (3 most recent months), pay slips (3 most recent)
- Employment letter from your company (if employed) or from your school if you are studying
Documents you need for your application in Ghana can be found here.
Depending on where you are applying from , you may use the online or paper based application. Applications from Ghana are paper based and applied through the Canada Visa Application Centre (CVAC).
Because i applied very late, i went through a lot of stress. In the morning of my departure, i had neither had a passport nor visa i was aware of. I got on a train to another city 500km from my residence. I arrived at the VAC office and asked whether my passport had arrived (they had earlier told my brother it may be delivered the day of my departure).
Lo and behold, it had arrived that morning around 10:00AM and i got there about 11:00AM. Luckily, the airport was not so far from the city so i managed to catch my flight at on time 1:00PM.
Landing in Toronto
Just when we got off the plane at Toronto Pearson International Airport, there was a first security check. Some immigration officers were standing around asking everyone their purpose for being in Toronto. Of course those with the “good” passport had it smooth. I was interrogated about my visit; why I am there and how long i would be staying, what i do for a living, where I’m flying in from. I answered the officers questions and he let me go.
The next step was to go to the customs declaration kiosk and then go through the last border control step where your passport is finally stamped to allow you enter Canada. Again, questions are asked. Be truthful with your answers!
Depending on whether you are coming for a short-term visit, long-term, or coming to work short term, the process will either end here for you or will move to another step. Short term visitors are free to collect their bags and step out of the airport. Long term and short term workers would have to go into another area with officers where you submit documents to “apply” for the purpose of your visit.
I was applying for a short-term work permit exemption that meant I will be working for less than 30 days. I had a number of documents to show to the officer the purpose of my visit. He just assessed the visa and stamped it.
21.06.18 – Application submitted online
27.06.18 – Passport request
28.06.18 – Passport submitted to VAC office in Düsseldorf
04.07.18 – Request to collect passport at VAC office (word of mouth..not an official request via SMS or email)
05.07.18 – Passport collected
The whole process took 14 days.