Applying for a Canada Visa from the Philippines

Travelling is life as others would look at it. I love travelling but I've never been to a country that requires a visa. Why? Because processing a visa is such a hassle - from gathering documents to lining up to the embassy and paying for fees without even a guarantee that your application will be granted. Though I know I am already missing a lot, I'd rather visit first places that doesn't require much yet I'll get the same excitement and enjoyment with the people I travel with and the places that await to be discovered and explored.

Canada - Banff National Park
Banff National Park (photo credits:

Just last month, my boss surprised me with a great news - the company's bringing me to Canada! I can't really describe my initial reaction when I found out about it. Yes, it is pretty exciting because, finally, I'll get to visit a country that's on the other side of the globe. But what holds back the excitement is the fact that it is a work-related trip so I'm not sure if I'll have time to explore the place, not to mention the long flight, very cold weather, and my OOTDs (I have no winter clothes!).

Canada CN Tower
Toronto CN Tower (photo credits:

Anyway, before I think about those, I need to worry about processing my visa first right? So I did a little research and, apparently, processing a visa for Canada isn't that much of a hassle. Everything can be done online! The only time you'll have to go to an office and line up is when you get approved and asked to submit your passport for visa stamping. There's also an option to submit paper application through VFS Global but I don't have much time to spare so I opt to submit online application instead.


Regardless if you're going as a tourist or it's for a business trip, you will have to apply for a temporary residence visa. The instructions in the website are pretty much straightforward. So here are just some tips on how you can prepare for your Canada Visa (Temporary Residence) online application:

  1. Create an account on this website:
    *There's quite a lot of questions to answer but it's better rather than going to the office and process everything there. Just imagine the traffic and the long queue.

  2. Fill up and submit the following documents:
  • IMM5257e (Application for Visitor Visa (Temporary Resident Visa) Made Outside of Canada) - this is your application form. Once you have filled-up everything, you have to click on the Validate button in the PDF form. If all required information are filled in, then it should generate bar codes at the last page of the form. If not, then it will point you to those fields that need to be corrected.
    • UCI (Unique Client Identifier) - this is issued once you have applied for a Canada visa. If it's you're first time to apply for a Canada Visa, then you can leave this blank. Future applications will require this though when you have already got one.
    • Since you are applying online, you may leave the signature blank. A digital signature will be asked once you're ready to submit all the documents.
    • Travel History - I compiled scanned copies of my previous passport (should be within the last 10 years), phone snaps of entry and exit stamps from the countries I've visited before, hotel and flight bookings. You may also include visa/s or study and/or work permits.
    • Passport - Provide a snapshot of the page with your details (name, birthdate, country of origin, etc) and pages with stamps and visas.
    • Invitation Letter - this should come from the person you are visiting in Canada stating your purpose and duration of visit, relationship with the host, and contact information of the host. Since our purpose it to conduct business in Canada, the following are included and printed in our company's letterhead:
      • host's full name, title and business contact information
      • brief summary of the reason for the invitation, including details of the business or trade to be undertaken
      • full names of all employees from your company who are being invited by your host
      • intended duration and a detailed itinerary of the visit
      • statement specifying who will be responsible for all travel-related expenses
    • Digital Photo - Photo studios should be familiar with the size already. Just let them know it's for Canada visa. In case they don't have an idea on the size, a very detailed specifications are indicated in the website where you have to submit your documents.
    • Purpose of Travel - this is a compilation of proofs for your visit. Samples are your flight tickets and travel itinerary. 
    • IMM5645 (Family Information) - this is a form where you'll have to supply information about your family - spouse, parents, children, siblings (including half and step brothers and sisters)
    • IMM5257B (Schedule 1 - Application for a Temporary Resident Visa Made Outside Canada) - difference with IMM5257e is that this one is about your personal history - affiliations with organizations, military or government service

    There are also some optional documents that you can submit along with your application. A application fee of $100 (CAD) is also required and you can pay online using your credit/debit card. There are also other requirements like medical exam, biometrics, and some additional documents but I think it depends on the type of visa you are applying for. 

    Reviewing and processing a visa application will take about 11 days (or longer). Whenever there are updates, we receive emails notifications and we just had to login to the site again to check the status.


    It took about 10 days before we got a notice that our application got APPROVED and we need to submit our passport for stamping. Since we're running out of time and our trip is fast approaching, we personally brought our passports to VFS Global's office in Makati. They are accepting passport submissions in their office until 3PM only. You may also send it through a courier but that would take days before it reaches them. Visa stamping will take about 3-5 days and another 2 days if you opt to have it delivered back. I suggest you choose to have it shipped instead if you are not in a hurry since we waited for more than an hour on queue when we picked it up ourselves.

    Hopefully, these information helps you in your visa application. I wanted to put download links for the application forms but it would be better if you just get those directly from the application website to ensure that you are using the latest versions.

    Now that I have my Canada visa, I can now think of my OOTD and list down nearby tourist destinations that we can check out after work hours. Got any suggestions? Please comment down below and I'd be glad to squeeze it in our busy schedule 😁

    Edward Santos

    EDnything is a lifestyle and entertainment blog featuring great deals and happenings in the Philippines. It also features food reviews, gadgets, showbiz, movies and theater plays, and more!

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