Do you need a visa to come to Canada? If you do, you probably need a visa invitation letter. Though invitation letters are not requirements for all visa applicants, it is better to have one ready than not.
How to Get a Visa Invitation Letter for Canada
In order to get a visa invitation letter for your trip to Canada, you must know someone in Canada. This person can be a relative but they can also be a friend or even just a friend of a friend or friend of the family. Though we should state the obvious here: it's better if you know the person inviting you well, as it will look better to the officer deciding your case.
The person inviting you must have status in Canada but can be a citizen or permanent resident.
You must instruct the person writing your invitation letter to include the below information. Then they should send the letter to you so you can submit the letter with your temporary resident visa (visitor visa) application.
Please note: Sometimes the visa office will request a notarized invitation letter. If you are from certain countries, it is a better idea to get the letter notarized ahead of time in order to avoid delays with your application. See below.
Step 1: Information About the Visa Applicant
The person writing the letter must include the following information about you, the person being invited to Canada:
- your complete name, including any middle names;
- your date of birth date of birth;
- your current address (the same one you are applying from) and your telephone number where you can be reached;
- your relationship to the person inviting you (ex. friend, brother/sister, cousin, etc.);
- the purpose of your trip to Canada (such as tourism, visiting family, etc.);
- how long you plan to stay in Canada;
- where you will stay in Canada (such as with the invitee or at a specific hotel);
- and how he or she will pay for things,
- and, finally, when you plan to leave Canada.
Step 2: Information About the Canadian
The person inviting you must include this information about themselves:
- their complete name, including any middle names;
- their date of birth;
- their permanent address in Canada and a telephone number at which they can be reached;
- their job title in Canada;
- their status in Canada (i.e. citizen or permanent resident);
- proof of their status in Canada (photocopy):
- for citizens:
- If the person was born in Canada: Canadian birth certificate or citizenship certificate
- If the person naturalized as a Canadian citizen (swore the oath): Canadian citizenship certificate
- for permanent residents:
- PR Card
- If they do not have a valid PR Card, a Record of Landing (IMM 1000), Confirmation of Permanent Residence or Verification of Status;
- for citizens:
- details of the family of the person inviting you, including names and dates of birth of the spouse and any dependants;,
- finally, the total number of people living in the household inviting you, especially anyone who was sponsored for permanent residence in the past, or anyone currently being sponsored inland.
Sample Visa Invitation Letter for Canada
To whom it may concern,
This is to certify that Fakey McNamington will be visiting me in Toronto, Ontario, Canada from January 1st 2018 to February 15 2018. Fakey has been a close personal friend of our family for my entire life and will be staying at my home for the duration of his stay.
2558 Danforth Ave, Suite 202
Canada M4C 1L3
I am a Canadian Citizen. Please find attached a copy of my Ontario Birth Certificate.
I live alone and have never sponsored anyone to Canada.
Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
[Sign the letter]
- Name: Mr Fakey McNamington
- Address:123 Street Name Avenue, Lagos, Nigeria
- Date of Birth: Jan 1, 1960
- Telephone: +234-1234567
- Relationship: Family Friend
Once this letter is written, it either needs to be sent to you directly or notarized first.
Step 3: Does My Invitation Letter Need to Be Notarized?
You cannot know ahead of time whether or not the visa officer will ask to see a notarized invitation letter but you can guess. It's better to be prepared and have the notarized copy ready to submit if requested. (Better yet, submit it with your initial application.)
Here is a good rule of thumb: If you are required to submit biometrics as part of your visa application, the person who is invited to Canada should have their letter notarized before sending it to you. To see whether or not you need your biometrics, choose your country and age on this page and IRCC will inform you whether or not you need to provide biometrics.
You should also have your invitation letter notarized if you have ever had any trouble with Canadian authorities in the past.
Step 4: Sending the Invitation Letter
The person inviting you to Canada should sign the letter, to make it more official. After they've signed it, they can scan it and email the letter to you, to avoid delays. Mailing is an option, but it is much slower. If your friend or family member in Canada does not have a scanner, they should either email you the letter without the signature or see if they know anyone with a scanner. Mailing should be a last resort because of how long it might take for the letter to arrive.
Unfortunately, a notarized letter must be mailed. If your friend or family member in Canada has had their letter notarized, they should mail or courier the letter to you using a service which tracks the letter. They should not send it by regular mail as they have had to spend money on the notary and you don't want it to get lost.
Submitting the Invitation Letter
If you are able, you should submit the invitation letter with your initial Canadian visa application. If you wait to submit an invitation letter until you are requested to submit one by the visa office, your application will be delayed.