What should be included in the invitation letter?
There are certain official requirements that have to be met
Generally speaking, the term "guest visa" is often used when it comes to a visa that allows to come to Canada temporarily as a guest. This wording is, however, not accurate as it describes not the type of visa (there are only two general types: immigration and temporary visas), but the basis on which it is issued.
In a situation when a Canadian citizen (or even a temporary resident – for example a foreign worker or student) invites a relative or a friend as his guest, an invitation letter is required, and it must meet certain requirements.
The invitation should answer the following questions:
- What is the purpose and the dates of the planned visit?
- How are expenses associated with the trip going to be covered?
- Why the guest would leave Canada on time, before the authorized period of stay ends?
- What is the relationship between the inviting party and the guest – are they relatives, friends etc.?
- What is the legal status of the inviting individual in Canada?
- Where does the inviting party live and how they can be contacted if necessary?
Purpose of the invitation
Preparing a guest visa invitation can be quite difficult. To achieve the ultimate goal of obtaining a temporary visa, you need to convince the immigration officer that there are legitimate reasons for this trip, that the guest is financially secure and that the guest will not stay in Canada after the expiration of the visa.
According to the current legislation and procedures, it is the burden of the applicant to satisfy an officer that all requirements are met. Since it is almost impossible that an applicant would be called for an interview to have an opportunity to talk to an officer in person, the application for a temporary visa and the supporting documents (including an invitation) must give answers to all possible questions, and therefore play a very important role.
As such, the invitation should not only give short answers to the above questions, but also elaborate and provide details to better understand the situation.
Drafting an invitation
There is a common misconception that the invitation has to be certified by a notary or other authorized person or authority. In fact a letter of invitation is written in simple form without any certification.
There is a speculative opinion, that greater weight may be given to an invitation made in the form of a sworn affidavit. Content-wise there is not much difference, and swearing an affidavit for issuing an invitation is not strictly necessary.
The invitation must be written in English or French and signed by the inviting party. A photocopy of the document showing the inviting party's status in Canada must be included with the invitation letter – for example a permanent resident card or a Canadian citizenship certificate. There is no formal restriction that prohibits temporary residents in Canada, for example, students and foreign workers, to invite guests from abroad.
When done, an invitation letter and any supporting documents are sent to the applicant to be enclosed with the application for a temporary visa. Sending scanned images by email is totally fine for this purpose.
This is neither a legal advice, nor a complete guide. This article only gives a general idea about preparation of an invitation. Make sure to check the applicable official requirements and follow them carefully to write an invitation letter for your guest.