Canada accepts both immigrants and tourists alike. Much is known about the requirements needed to either travel or immigrate to the country. To hasten the application process, many people look for ways to strengthen their application. Often, legal measures to do so have led to successful visa applications.
One of the ways a tourist or temporary visitor could improve their chances is by being invited.
That’s right! It is possible to be “invited” to Canada. This article will be about a letter of invitation to Canada.
Before the whys, whats, and hows of this document, it is important to be clear on what it means to be invited.
What Does It Mean To Be “Invited To Canada”?
To prevent confusion, it is important to make a distinction between the two ways you could be invited.
Invited To Apply (For Permanent Residence)
Remember that an Express Entry visa application generally consists of two main stages. You could think of the first stage as a sort of getting-to-know-you stage. In other words, the steps and documents for this part of the application process are assessed by IRCC. From the information (you provided on your Express Entry profile), IRCC determines if you meet the minimum entry criteria to apply for permanent resident status.
In other words, if you registered with Canada’s Job Bank and entered your information on the Express Entry system, IRCC will have information with which to assess your eligibility. IRCC will get back to you on the next step.
The next step is receiving a notice from IRCC. It is the invitation to apply, or ITA for short.
The ITA is a letter. It is one that is automatically generated by the Express Entry system. If you are enrolled in the system and Job Bank, you will receive a copy of this. You need to be enrolled in the Express Entry system for three reasons:
- IRCC contacts you through the profile you have created.
- The information in your profile is used by IRCC to award you points for minimum eligibility.
- You will receive the ITA through your profile.
IRCC gives this letter to Express Entry applicants with the highest comprehensive ranking scores (CRS score) in one draw. This draw occurs at regular intervals. You can keep track of Express Entry draws through accessing your Express Entry profile (another reason to make one).
Once you receive the ITA, you will find the following information:
- Your CRS score/s
- How IRCC and the Express Entry system computed your CRS score
- The sources of your scores
- Permission to proceed with your visa application and some instructions
Hence, receiving an ITA is receiving an invitation from IRCC. An ITA is one invitation letter to Canada.
Invitation By A Family Member
It is also possible for a family member to invite their loved ones or significant others. It is important to understand that an invitation does not guarantee that the invited person will be given a visa. Be that as it may, it could have the same effect a provincial nomination has on a permanent resident application.
A letter of invitation to Canada could strengthen a visitor visa application. In some cases, companies also need to provide a Canada invitation letter. This is for situations when the company invites a person overseas for a business function. For this reason, the invited person visits Canada on a business visa.
To visit Canada, a letter of invitation is not an absolute necessity. That said, you could still apply for a visitor or business visa. But, why is a letter even a requirement? Read on to find out.
The invitation to apply (ITA) has been mentioned in other articles, so the next few sections will focus on the letter of invitation to visit Canada.
The Purposes Of A Letter Of Invitation To Canada
Anybody who wants to visit Canada temporarily may include a letter of invitation in their temporary resident visa application. Those coming on a business visitor visa need this as well. This includes the following:
- Buyers (both potential and existing)
- Employees who need to train at a Canadian-based company’s facility
- People attending conferences
IRCC needs a letter of invitation as part of a visitor or business visitor visa application. Although it is not a must in all cases, there are some reasons why IRCC needs it.
As A Supporting Document
Many if not all documents required for Canadian visitor or permanent resident visas identify applicants. Besides background information like name and work experience, IRCC and CBSA also need to know the purpose of an applicant’s visit or visa application.
This piece of information usually presents itself in interviews or other documents. However, a letter can be a supporting document. It helps IRCC and CBSA confirm the purpose of a trip to Canada.
Also, this supporting document does more than confirm the purpose of a visit. A letter of invitation also gives the authorities a reference person to contact. IRCC or CBSA could get in touch with the person who wrote the invitation letter and the person invited.
Lastly, it is important to remember that an invitation letter can only come from a person already in Canada. Hence, this supporting document also confirms the relationship of the person inviting and the person invited.
In short, as a supporting document, a letter of invitation:
- Confirms the purpose of a visit to Canada
- Gives IRCC or CBSA someone to contact
- Confirms the relationship of the visitor to the citizen or permanent resident who wrote the letter.
Provides Assurance Of Accommodation And Financial Support
A letter of invitation also assures IRCC and CBSA that the invited person has a place to stay in Canada. This is important especially when a citizen or permanent resident invites a family member or significant other to Canada to visit.
Family members or significant others outside Canada could indeed apply for visitor visas on their own. With a letter of invitation, not only does IRCC or CBSA confirm the identity of applicants. IRCC or CBSA would also know that the visa applicants have ready accommodation upon arrival and with whom.
The letter of invitation also shows that the applicant has financial and social support whilst in Canada. For this reason, the host or the person inviting someone needs to meet certain criteria. More details on this later.
Thus, an invitation letter:
- Shows that an applicant has a place to stay during his or her stay in Canada
- Proves that the applicant has financial and social support during his or her visit to Canada
Who Can Write An Invitation Letter?
An applicant’s host is the one who can write an invitation letter. In many cases, a host can be a family member. Sometimes, a host could also be a company or its representative. Either way, the following are important:
- The host and the applicant know each other personally.
- The host must either be a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen.
The host might need to have the invitation letter notarized. Many visa offices require the signature and seal of a notary public, but this is not always the case. Hence, if you are writing the invitation letter, you need to ask the person you are inviting to check whether a notary’s signature is needed or not.
On the other hand, you may be the person who is invited. If this is so, check with the visa office about the need for a notary’s seal and signature. Once you have done this, inform your host. He or she could have the letter notarized before sending it to you.
The host needs to send the invitation letter to the applicant. The invitation letter will be part of the applicant’s documents for a visitor or business visa application.
The Contents Of An Invitation Letter
The letter itself could be in many formats. For reference, numerous sites offer a sample letter of invitation to Canada.This site has downloadable samples of an invitation letter. You will find samples in English and French.
For a company inviting someone outside Canada, it is recommended that the invitation letter be printed in the company’s official letterhead. It is not an absolute need, but it adds authority and legitimacy to the letter.
The letter must include the following information about both the host and the person being invited.
The Host’s Information
The host must include the following information about himself or herself in the invitation letter:
- Complete name
- The complete name of the company (if writing on behalf of a company)
- All contact details (e.g. telephone number)
- Date of birth
- Job title
- Status in Canada (Canadian citizen or permanent resident)
- Details about family members (ages and birthdates) and family size (number of people in the family)
- Each family member’s status in Canada (including the details on the statuses of sponsored members)
For the invitation of a parent or grandparent, the host must also provide:
- Written, signed, and (possibly) notarized promise of (host’s) financial support during the parents’ or grandparents’ stay in Canada
- Any proof of income which is enough to support all visiting people including the parents and grandparents
It is also important for the host to attach proof of his or her status in Canada. This could be photocopies of the following:
- A Canadian birth certificate (proving that he or she is a Canadian citizen)
- A PR card for permanent residents or form IMM 1000 (proof of landing)
- A Canadian citizenship card for naturalized citizens
Guest’s Or Visitor’s Information
Also, the host must include information about his or her guest. The invitation letter must include:
- The guest’s complete name
- Date of birth
- Contact details of the guest (e.g. telephone number)
- The host’s relationship with the guest
- The trip’s purpose
- The duration of the guest’s stay in Canada (the dates of arrival and departure)
- Where the guest will stay
- How the guest or visitor will pay for his or her necessities during his or her stay in Canada
For a business visitor visa, the host must also include the job title of the guest.
Like all documents for a visa, it ultimately connects the person (visitor) to the trip.
Whether one is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, inviting someone to Canada is quite straightforward. A letter of invitation to Canada informs the authorities of a host and guest’s relationship. It also has the purpose of telling the authorities of the purposes for which travel to Canada is needed.