Over the years, Canada has been one of the top countries Africans migrate to in search of greener pastures. The high number of Africans migrating to Canada is propelled by reports showing Canada as one of the countries in the world with a very low unemployment rate.
But then, traveling to Canada from Africa is quite a tough one nowadays; notwithstanding, we prepared a guide for you.
This Canada visa application guide details the processes and requirements you need to undergo to crossover to the South American country of Canada. Particularly, this guide focuses on how Africans can apply for and get Canadian visas for work, school, or residence.
It’s going to be quite a long read, but certainly, we’d make each point as concise as possible.
What is a Canada Visa?
First things first, what does it mean to get a Canada visa? It is not new to everyone that you need a “pass” to get into another country from yours.
A “Visa” is what grants you access to a foreign country. So, a Canadian visa is your gateway into the country of Canada – it is merely a stamp on your international passport booklet granting you permission to legally get into Canada.
But then, there are different types of Canadian visas. Depending on the one you got approved for, there are limitations to the duration of your stay in Canada and restrictions to what you can do during your stay in the country.
You can get a permanent or temporary visa; the former means you can live in the country for as long as you wish, and the latter means you have a limited time to stay.
If you got approved for a temporary visa, you can apply for an extension toward the expiration date and spend more time in the country. Because it is called a temporary visa doesn’t mean you won’t spend quite a long time in the country – you could stay up to six months or more with a temporary visa.
To get a Canadian visa, you must visit the Canadian embassy in your country and fulfill some specific requirements.
Any visa granted outside the embassy is fake and can get you into a deep mess even if you manage to land in Canada with such a fake pass. The Canadian Embassy is available in many African countries; ask around for the location in your country.
When applying for a Canada visa, you need to understand that patience is needed. If you’re declared not eligible for a particular visa, you can check for other available visa options and go for the one you qualify for. Some people have made it look like getting a Canadian visa is hard; that’s not true; if you meet all the requirements, you’d surely be granted your visa.
Whether this is going to be your first time traveling outside of your country or not, this article provides a succinct guide on migrating to Canada from an African jurisdiction.
Who Can Get a Canadian Visa?
Thinking if you could qualify for a Canadian visa? Well, you probably will. Some countries have a visa exemption or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) agreement with Canada – people from such countries do not need a visa to get into Canada. But sadly, no African country falls into that list, so you most probably need a visa.
There’s no other way to know if you qualify for a Canadian visa unless you apply. During the application process, you’d come across the various requirements for qualifying for different Canadian visas. Yes, each visa type has its requirements, which are slightly different. That said, hereunder are the different types of Canadian visas.
Types of Canadian Visa
There are many types of Canada visas available to Africans, which means you can keep applying for different visa types and see which one would work for you. Here are some of the most popular ones:
• Student visas
• Visitor visas
• Work visas
• Business Immigrant visas
• Permanent Residence visas
• Temporary Residence Permit
• Express Entry Program visas
1. Temporary Visas
Temporary Canada visas include visitor visas, student visas, tourist visas, working holiday visas, and childbirth visas. These are visas that allow you to stay for a limited time in Canada; the limited time could be a few months (maximum of six months) or a few years (for student visas). This type of visa can be renewed upon its expiration concerning Canadian immigration laws and regulations.
2. Permanent Visas
As the name implies, this is a type of visa that automatically makes you a Canadian citizen. With a permanent visa, you can live, work, and stay in Canada for as long as “forever.” However, before you can get a permanent visa, you must have been to Canada many times and have a good record during those visits. There are equally different types of permanent Canada visas.
3. Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) Visa
This is a special type of visa awarded to skilled tradesmen to come to Canada and work in their area of specialty. You have to meet specific requirements before you can be given this visa. However, tradespeople who are likely to get this visa include:
• Aircraft Mechanics
• Crane Operators
• Heavy-duty Equipment Mechanics
A similar visa to this is the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) Visa, which is awarded to people who have professions that are in high demand in Canada. You must fall into the indicated professions before you can get this visa. Also, there are requirements and rules to be met.
4. Express Entry Program Visa
To get this type of Canadian visa, you must have a skill or profession and also a verifiable employment record. Depending on assessment scores, which are calculated by the Canadian government, applicants for this visa are ranked, and profiles with the most points are invited to apply for a Canadian permanent residence visa.
Canada Visa Application Guide
First things first, never fall for lotteries; there’s no such thing as a Canadian visa lottery – they are all scams. If you’re applying for a Canadian visa, make sure you’re applying from the designated Canadian immigration website – don’t just click on any Canada visa application link and start submitting your sensitive data.
If you’re not eligible for a particular type of visa, do not try to lobby your way by paying someone who claims they can help to make you eligible – that’s a scam. The best you can do is to try another type of visa and see if you meet the eligibility requirements.
All eligibility criteria are listed on the Canadian immigration website page for each visa type.
How to Apply as an African
Hereunder are the steps to apply for Canadian visas as an African. The steps may look stressful, but they are not.
• Check your eligibility
• Create an account on the official Canadian immigration website
• Get your files and documents ready
• Pay the required fees
• Wait for the processing to be complete
• Submit your passport
1. Create an Account
Your going to Canada all starts with you creating an online account where all your activities and submissions will be recorded. The Canadian government website is easy to navigate, and you’d find virtually all information you need. But first things first, click on the “Create an Account” link and sign up with a valid email, which you’d need to verify.
Here’s the official Canadian government website.
2. Eligibility Check
To know if you qualify for a Canadian visa, you have to pass the eligibility test to evaluate your qualification. The context of the test varies based on the type of visa you’re applying for, and there are specific instructions to adhere to when taking the tests. At the end of the test, you’d able to know if you qualify or not.
To access the tests, choose the type of visa you’re applying for and click on “Find out if you can apply” or “Find out if you are eligible.” The questions you’d be asked will touch on your personal information, your reasons for wanting to visit Canada, your travel history, and other stuff. Upon completing the tests, you’d receive any of these results:
• You are eligible for the visa you have selected.
• You are eligible for a different type of visa that the system will match you with.
• You are not eligible for the visa.
This will decide your next step.
3. Upload Your Documents
Depending on the visa you got approved for, you will be required to upload specific documents to validate your claims and health records. But before uploading the documents, you’d be told to download certain documents that contain a description of the visa you’re applying for, instructions and details about how to apply, and probably a reference code.
3. Fees Payment
If your uploaded documents are verified and acceptable, you’d then have to make some payments. This is usually the tough step for most people; you’d be required to pay some specific fees within a specified timeframe for your visa processing. These fees must not be paid to any third party – follow the instructions on the payment page keenly.
Note: If you applied offline, you’d have to make sure you’re dealing with verified Canadian embassy staff in charge of immigration.
4. Sit and Wait
After making the payment, wait for the processing of your Canadian visa, which usually takes two to six weeks, depending on the visa type. While still waiting for the processing to be completed, you may be asked to submit additional documents to complement the ones you submitted earlier or get scheduled for a biometrics verification and interview.
5. Submit Your Passport
If everything goes well as your application is accepted, you will be called upon (sent an email) to submit your passport to the Canadian embassy in your country to get stamped for the visa you applied for. You may have to pay more fees.
Nothing else. This is how to apply for your Canadian visa online; if you prefer offline, make sure to work with a verified staff in the embassy.