So I am back,yes I am back from my great Canadian visit.And everyone including my friends and folks are asking me "How was it"?It was spectacular,Canada is truly multicultural.One of the places I might love to settle in(if at all) after I retire or I would love to be there not just as a tourist but a permanent resident for like 4-5 years or may be more.It's one of those places with a super cool positive vibe around,one of the places where immigrants are the residents.One of the places where every culture is given equal importance and celebrated in the form of festivals.We haven't explored much of Canadian culture have we?The culture of Canada is the total sum of the cultures from around the world.
Here's a short 30 seconds self-made trailer which takes you through the vibrancy and the celebrations + the interviews of people in Ontario Canada.
If I sound heavily exaggerated,listen to what a fellow traveler "Isar Ahmed" has to say about Canada
It's a pleasure to read your blogs and get to know your insights on travel. I see that you have become a true globe-trotter in recent times. In your most recent Canada blog you had asked a few suggestions reg. Toronto. Find the same as below, to the best of my knowledge:
- Where to eat for free :P or almost on a budget ? - Indian Food on Jerrard Street. For indian people – they can go in Indian grocery stores and get ready-to-eat indian spices. And roti from Indian store or Pita bread from Arabian stores as roti. Maggi from Indian Store.
- What food is famous in Toronto? - Regular American/Canadian food – pan cake, spaggetti, waffles….lots of india population – so many indian restaurants and grocery stores too. Mississauga, Brampton – biggest indian concentrated areas.
- Best shopping buys in Toronto - Flea Markets
- What else can be seen or done in and around TORONTO? – CN Tower, Niagara Falls, African Safari (about a 2 hour drive).
Planning Canada for your next trip shouldn't be a long task as Canada is one of the places which is very organized including its visa system.If your documents are at place,no one can stop you from entering this fairy land with open arms.
The two previous blogposts on Canada are:
Canada pre-plan and excitement
A warm hi from Canada
Canada Visitor Single Entry Visa:Here's how
1)Visa Application Procedure
Apply for visa online through Visa Application
You need to fill up both the Visitor form and the Family Information Form.Download both the forms and make sure you have the current version of Adobe reader installed(11.0).If it isn't installed in your system,the forms would not open.So you will have to install the current version from either the notification which says that the current version needs to be installed or from adobe website directly.
Once you have your latest adobe reader,you can open up the form,fill with the required details while online and validate the form.Then the form is issued a bar-code. The form needs to be printed, signed and submitted with all the required documents.
When submitting your completed and signed application form, be sure to include the last page (page 5 of 5) that will contain your data in barcodes in 02 copies.
Please note that it is advised to carry xerox of 2 copies for each form.
I applied for a single entry form and it was for around Rs 4000.
The cost list is as: Visa Fees Canada
[Please take along with xerox copies of the originals at the vfs center]
a)The documents which are required are mentioned on the vfs-canada page at Documents required for Canada Visa
b)Write a detailed cover letter addressing to the nearest Canadian embassy explaining why would you want to go to Canada,how do you plan to fund your travel,invitation letter,previous visa to other countries,duration of stay.Take a print,with your signature. Eg:
The Visa Office
High Commission of Canada
c)Print a no-objection certificate(NOC)
-If you are working,the certificate has to be printed on the company's letterhead addressing the Canadian embassy
-If you are not working,the certificate has to be approved by your parents addressing the Canadian embassy
d)Take a photo as per Visa_Photo_Guidance, please note that this is very important point we ignore which might be reason for delays or rejection in future.The face should be neutral with no-expression,it is advised to tell the photographer to click as per Canadian visa requirements.
Link for photo guidance: Photo Specifications Canada
e)Financial proof(all needs to be attached) - All xerox
- IT returns of last 3 years
- Pay slips of last 6 months
- Bank statements
This isn't mentioned anywhere but you need to have a proof of sufficient funds on your duration of stay in your account,not recently deposited or transferred. If someone is sponsoring your trip you need to attach all the required documents of his/her as well along with.
f)Address proof(All xerox) - Voter's ID,Driving License etc for current address proof.If you do not have,get a address proof certificate from your company.If you have adhar card,that also works.
g)Letter from your sponsor.
h)Letter of your confirmed hotel reservation(if you have booked,I suggest you should,as this could be proof that you can afford at least your stay).Please book from pay when you arrive sites like booking.com so that if your visa is rejected or delayed you can easily cancel the reservation.
e)Birth certificate,Class x certificate,Marriage Certificate(All xerox)
And any other document which you think would make your application strong.
3)Apply for the visa at VFS
Once you are ready with your documents,submission at the vfs is fairly simple.The document and passport submission timings are from 8am-12am and 1pm-3pm and no appointment is required.You would be given token number and would be called upon when your token number gets highlighted.You can either pay on counter as cash or demand draft.I chose cash over demand draft.
Vfs will then give you the receipt with which you can track your application status.
Visa_Application_Where_To_Apply and Timings
4)Visa Processing Time
Processing times are subject to change and hence it is safe to have a margin of 10-15 working days for the visa application to be processed for Canada.However,I got my visa in 5 working days couriered at my home in Bangalore and many of my friends living in Delhi got in 2-3 working days.
Visa Office Holiday List: VFS_Holiday_List
Visa Application Tracker: Visa Application Tracker
Planning Canada First Time:Here's what you should know
1)Currency of Canada is Canadian Dollar
1 Canadian Dollar = 58.05 INR(current rate - Subject to change)
2)To know the current exchange rate
Google 1 CAD = INR
To convert the money
Avoid the airport counters as the exchange rate is a little lower than the usual
You can try Centrum or banks ( axis,icici) or other authorized foreign exchange counters within your city for better exchange rate
The Travel Card
A convenient alternative to cash.Split your expenditure into half or 3/4 and deposit the maximum amount in the travel card.Advantage -it acts as your debit card overseas.So you need not always carry the hard cash which is anyways not advisable.You can get it from any exchange counters.
Please do not swipe your travel card as pre-authorization for hotels as they block certain amount of money from your card and you will get the same amount back after 14-15 days.It is advised to either pay by your credit card or better by cash and then get a refund while check out.
3)Carrying liquor:Allowed/Not Allowed?
If you purchase liquor of more than 100 ml from duty free shops in airport,make sure to get it sealed.Since my plane was via frankfurt,I had to go through security twice.In that case the purchase from the duty free shops are valid.
4)What to carry at Immigration checkpoints
Make sure you carry your passport,boarding passes,return tickets,where are you staying documents,financial proofs and invitation letter(if any).
Please do not carry luggage of more than 20kg checkin or else you'll have to pay extra.It is also advised to carry your electronic gadgets i.e laptop,camera etc in your carry on luggage.
How to reach Canada
Regular flights to Canadian cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Quebec, among others are available from almost all major international airports in India. Tourists can book their flights from Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru to fly to Canada. Major airlines that operate between India and Canada are Qatar Airways, Jet Airways, Air India, Etihad Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa and Air Canada.
We'll discuss about what to buy and from where to buy,where to travel and how to travel,what to eat and where to eat,what did I like about Canada the most and how can you plan or backpack Canada very very soon.Stay tuned!
Your inputs please..
I know it's not every body's cup of tea to write a sweet and nice comment,but your blessings can make my day or may be help one or two folks still confused on how Canada can be done.We have sea of information everywhere,its called Internet junk.We get lost,we give up.I help you with what I have faced,what I have loved,and how can you be in my pajamas and roam around the world.All I need is a little push every morning to get me going.
If you have been to CANADA,feel free to drop in your comments or write a mail to me on where to shop in Ontario,what you loved about Ontario,which country would you like me to visit next.All mails will be consolidated in a nice blog post :)
If you haven't been to CANADA,you can still write about what you feel about the blog or even random stories.
Most welcome everyone..!