In many cases, when you are applying to visit Canada, an invitation letter that is prepared by an interested party inside Canada will form an integral part of the officer’s decision to approve or reject your visitor’s visa. As it is such a key part of the application, it’s essential that the letter is well prepared and contains the information that the officer will need in order to make a proper judgement about the purpose of your trip.
1. Who should write an invitation letter for a Canadian visa?
Any interested party with a connection to Canada and to the visitor can write an invitation letter to form part of the application for a visitor’s visa to Canada. The purpose of your trip will determine who the most relevant source of an invitation would be. If you are wanting to travel to Canada to visit friends or relatives, then you should secure an invitation letter from the friend or relative with whom you have the closest connection. Whenever possible, a blood relative would always be considered a more appropriate choice than a non-blood relative (ie. sister instead of brother-in-law); and a relative will usually be considered to be a closer connection than a friend. However, ensure that you actually intend to spend time with whoever is providing your invitation letter. It is not a good idea to get an invitation letter from your aunt in Toronto when the purpose of your trip is to visit your best friend in Vancouver.
You should also consider immigration status when deciding who should write your invitation letter. The person providing the letter of invitation should be a Canadian permanent resident or Canadian Citizen. Only in exceptional circumstances should you consider providing an invitation letter from an individual who has temporary status in Canada.
If the purpose of your trip to Canada is for a business meeting or event, then the organization that you will be spending time with should provide the invitation letter.
2. What information should the invitation letter contain?
a. Details of the Applicant
- full legal name
- date of birth
- current address, telephone and email
- relationship to the person or organization that is making the invitation letter
- purpose of the visit to Canada
- length of the visit including planned arrival and departure dates
b. Details of the individual or organization inviting the applicant
- full legal name
- date of birth
- current address, telephone and email
- status in Canada (Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident or Organization)
- occupation details of the inviter; spouse occupation if applicable
- names and dates of birth of spouse and children, if applicable
- total number of people that live in your household
c. Details of the intended visit to Canada
Your invitation letter needs to explain why you should be allowed to visit Canada and it needs to be as specific as possible, being sure to include the emotional aspect of your request. Visa officers are people, and, in many cases, people are more motivated by emotion than by facts. If you are only including facts in your request, you are wasting the opportunity to connect with the visa officer on a basic human level.
We have some samples below for a letter of invitation for your Canadian visa application. Check out the examples and consider which request you would be more likely to approve if you were the visa officer. Then when crafting your own invitation letter, be sure to include the emotional aspects of your own situation that the visa officer may be able to relate to.
Not recommended: I want to invite my nephew to visit me in Toronto.
More appropriate: I want to invite my nephew to visit me in Toronto. I have a strong connection to my nephew because when he was younger, I was his primary caregiver for about 5 years due to the fact that his mother passed away during childbirth. I have not seen my nephew since I immigrated to Canada 10 years ago, but we keep in touch through video chat on a weekly basis. I have missed him terribly during this time and he has grown and changed so much. He will be on his school break during the time I would like him to visit. I am not able to take sufficient time off from my work in order to make a trip back home to visit him. I will have two weeks of holidays while he is here visiting me. For the other two weeks, he will be spending time with my children and I will join them in the evenings and on weekends. It would mean so much to both of us to be able to reconnect in person after all of these years.
Not recommended: We would like our parents to visit us. We want to show them Canada.
More appropriate: We would like our parents to come and stay with us. We have recently had our first baby and we are having difficulty adjusting to life as new parents. We are on our own in Canada and our baby doesn’t like to sleep at night. The husband is exhausted because he is working two jobs and not getting much sleep, and the wife is feeling overwhelmed trying to manage everything. Our parents can teach us so many things about how to calm the baby and we would really appreciate an extra set of hands right now. We love our baby dearly, but we really need some help with this big life adjustment.
Obviously, you need to tailor your request to match the specific circumstances of your family; however, including detail and emotion in the reasons for the visit will help the officer determine that the purpose of the visit is indeed genuine.
You also need to specify the practical arrangements for your trip, such as who will pay for all associated costs, where you will stay, and what activities you have planned.
3. Details as to why you will need to leave Canada and return to the country of origin
The biggest concern that a visa officer has when deciding on a visitor application to Canada is an issue of whether or not the visitor will actually leave Canada at the end of their trip. To help address those concerns, it would be helpful to also include information that details the reasons why you will need to return to your country of origin within a specific timeframe, and include documents in the application to support this. Examples might be that you are expected back to work, to return to school, or you have some kind of other commitment or event taking place that requires your presence.
4. Additional info is required for Super Visa Applications
If you are applying for a Super Visa for your parents or grandparents to stay with you in Canada for up to 2 years, you also need to include the following in your invitation letter:
- a promise that you will be the one to financially support your parents during their stay
- a list of people who live in your household
5. Support Documents should be included with an invitation letter
You need to prove whatever claims have been made in the invitation letter with supporting documents. If the person that has invited you is your relative, then prove your relationship by means of birth or marriage certificates that link the two families. You should include documents that provide proof of the inviter’s status in Canada (Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident) as well as their financial documents, including a letter from their employment, income tax documents and bank records to show that they have the financial resources to host you. If you have been invited by an organization, provide proof of that organization’s legitimacy with official business or non-profit documentation (website, business license, certificate of incorporation, etc.) along with proof of the event that you are invited to attend.
It is important that the letter is signed by the person making the invitation. It is also important that the facts detailed in your letter make sense and that they match the facts that you have detailed elsewhere in the application. For example, if you are saying that you will cover the costs of the trip, then your financial documents need to show that you have the amount of money that will be required.
The invitation letter can be viewed as a summary of your visa application in that it lays out the reasons you should be allowed to make the trip and also the practical details of how you will carry out your plans. A well thought out plan, accompanied by a well-documented invitation letter will result in a higher chance of approval than simply making an application and including only the forms and documents that are specified in the visitor visa application checklist.
The Way Immigration regularly works with visitor visa applications. We would be pleased to assist you with developing a visitor visa application that has the best possible chances for success so that you can enjoy all of the excitement of a reunion with your loved ones in Canada.