Canada Courtesy Visa

Due to some political matters, there are special visas dedicated to those who hold diplomatic and official positions as well as those who are of special importance because of their rank and their country’s relationship with Canada.

However, some people, despite having a similar status to a diplomatic, can’t obtain the diplomatic visa. For such situations, Canada offers special permit known as the Courtesy Visa. In this article, we’ll review major aspects of courtesy visa and all the details you need to know in order to apply.

What is the Courtesy Visa?

The courtesy visa has the same rules as the diplomatic and official visa has which means the courtesy visa holder can’t do a number of things that a Visitor Visa holder could do. First of all, courtesy visa holders are allowed to go to Canada for a specific period; meanwhile, they have to attend their duties in the country.

A Courtesy Visa holder can’t apply for Canadian benefits, neither obtain or claim Canadian citizenship. If you don’t have official duties in Canada, then this visa is not for you. Instead, you can apply for the Canada visitor visa.

What are the requirements of the Courtesy Visa?

Since this visa is for people who have government duties in Canada. There is a list of requirement that the applicants must fulfill in order to qualify for the visa. What follows are some of the major courtesy visa requirements:

  • You must hold an important diplomatic or official position
  • Submit photocopies of your current immigration status in Canada or another country
  • Pay the Canada Visa fees and the processing fees
  • You must have official duties in Canada
  • The Government of Canada must have a bilateral interest or agreement with your country
  • There must be an official invitation from a Canadian governmental or international institution
  • You must have a valid passport issued by your government with validity for more than the time you will spend in Canada.
  • You must have at least one blank page in your passport other than the last page.
  • You must have a clean criminal history and prove it through valid court documents.
  • You must submit your biometric information if the Canadian Consulate asks you to
  • You must submit your bank statements or other financial documents to prove you can afford to stay in Canada

You may not meet these criteria since it’s all about to convince the Canadian Consulate on why they should give you this particular visa, you can be asked to submitt further documentations .However, if you cannot prove that you are eligible for the visa, then your application will be rejected immediately. If Courtesy Visa is denied, the only alternative after that is to apply for a different type of Canada Visas.

How to apply for the Courtesy Visa?

The application process for the Canada Courtesy Visa is different from other Temporary Resident Visa applications but similar to that of diplomatic and official visa.

First, you need to fulfill all the requirements mentioned above. After that, you submit a direct visa application to the Canadian Consulate or Embassy in your home country.

This application must include these forms and additional documents:

  • Form IMM 5257, Application for Temporary Resident;
  • Form IMM 5707, Family Information Form;

In some cases, (if applicable) you need to fill these forms too:

  • Form IMM 5409, Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union;
  • Form IMM 5476, Use of a Representative;
  • Form IMM 5475, Authority to release personal information to a designated individual;

After filling the forms, remember to include these supporting documents:

  • Your valid government-issued passport
  • Your bank or other financial statements to prove you have enough funds for the trip to Canada
  • One of the following statements
    • A written requires from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the state to which the head of mission or post is accredited, or for which the diplomatic mission or consular post has jurisdiction in visa matters
    • A written request from a diplomatic mission or consular post of your government
    • A written request from an international organization listed in the Temporary Worker Guidelines
    • A letter from the Secretariat of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for which the diplomat or official will work with, signed by or on behalf of the Secretary-General
    • Other official invitations from a governmental or international agency or institution in Canada
  • A Declaration Letter from you to the Government of Canada where you explain why they should give you a visa
  • An itinerary of what your official duties in Canada will be for the time you are there
  • Two (2) photos that meet the Canada Photo Requirements
  • Your employment or education status through a resume or diplomas, as well as a letter from your employer stating that you have contractual obligations to fulfill and you must return to your home country.

All these documents must be presented in English or French. 

If your documents are in another language, you must submit the translation of each one with a certified translator ID which is specialized in this of legal documents. You must also pay the application fees when you submit the supporting documents.

When you submit these documents, the officials at the Canadian Embassy might ask you a few questions about the purpose of your visit to Canada and your official duties.

Remember, you are not a diplomat or government official; for this reason, there is a high probability that you might also be asked to submit your biometric information and/or go through a medical examination. If that happens, you must submit the fingerprints and photos of you at your interview appointment.

You should also submit the medical form to a licensed doctor and go through the necessary tests. The medical report must also be in English or French, and you have to submit it to the Canadian Consulate with the documents mentioned above.

Unlike other application processes, the Consulate will act quickly. It might take a few days or weeks to process the application depending on their workload; sometimes they will immediately respond to your visa application.

The courtesy visa is a stamp on your passport. If you denied the visa, they will let you know about the reasons for the denial. Keep in mind that the Courtesy Visa is given on a case by case basis and it is not a usual visa that the Canadian Consulate approves.This is the main reason you must have a strong case for them to approve it.

What are the Courtesy Visa fees?

Like the application fee for all Temporary Resident Visas, you have to pay CAD 100, and you must also pay that fee for the Courtesy Visa. Since you are not a diplomat, you may also be asked to pay the biometrics fee of CAD 85 if you need to give your biometric information. Finally, to have your passport processed, you will also have to pay the processing fee of around CAD 45.

How long is the Courtesy Visa processing time?

As mentioned before, it can be processed quickly depending on the workload of the Canadian Consulate. However, in general, it can take from 1 week to 2 months for this visa to be processed by the officials and for them to inform you of their decision.

How long is the Courtesy Visa valid?

The visa works as a multiple-entry visa with a validity of up to 3 years. This means you can enter and leave the country every time that you have some duties to attend. Nonetheless, the Courtesy Visa is still a Temporary Canada Visa, which means that you are not allowed to stay in Canada for more than 6 months at a time.

It is usually recommended to stay in the country only for the time that you have official duties and then return to your home country. As long as you don’t stay in the country for more than 6 months, there won’t be any trouble.

Can I bring my dependents with me with a Courtesy Visa?

Yes, you can. Since the Courtesy Visa is similar to Diplomatic and Official Visa, you are allowed to bring your dependents with you to Canada for your trip. Dependents, in this case, are your spouse or common-law partner and children under 22 years old. Even your children who are over 22 years old may accompany you as long as they are full-time students.

However, if you have children who are over 25 years old, then they cannot accompany you on a courtesy visa, they need to apply for a Visitor Visa.

In addition to your family members, your staff members are also allowed to accompany you if they belong in any of the following categories:

  • Private servants.
  • Live-in caregivers.