Thursday, September 13, 2012

Travelling Canada : Part 6 Canadian Visa Application Procedure

The Canadian High Commission in Malaysia ceased operation as of May 1, 2012. As part of their global plan of operation consolidation, the High Comm has relocated their operation to Singapore, specifically, they are at the 11th Floor of Tower B, One George Kent.
Photo taken by Huaiwei from Wikipedia
The new office is situated in the swanky One George Street which is a walking distance away from Raffles Place MRT. For those of you not familiar with Raffles Place MRT, look for Exit C (if i recall correctly) or look for the signage that says CHULIA Street or UOB Plaza (1 or 2 doesn't matter). To make it easier, I took some trouble to prepare the walking map below.
(Dotted Red Line) Get out of the MRT gate, turn left, walk straight, go up the escalator, turn left go up the escalator. You will be out between UOB Plaza 1 and 2.
(Solid Red Lines) Singapore is a fine city. Please do not attempt to cross at non-designated spot. SO, please do cross at pedestrian crossing and please look before you cross. Most cars will stop, but don't discount one or two that might think you are a nuisance to their daily life and might run you down.
5minutes walk or about 500meters. Sweat a bit, it's ok. Image taken from GoogleMap and re-edited by Me.
Now that you know how to get to the High Comm and you had read so far in this blog entry, here is how you can apply for a temporary resident visa (TRV) from outside of Canada.
Caveat and Important to know before you read on:
1. I do not take responsibility should your Visa application is unsuccessful for whatever matters and this guideline serves to the best of my own (successful) knowledge and for Visa to Canada specifically applied in Singapore.
2. Bear in mind that this procedure is not the same as applying for a student visa or "immigration as PR" to Canada. This is based purely on my own experiences applying for one, to be in Canada for a meeting (i.e. as a VISITOR-BUSINESS).
3. Also, as this is a guidance and meant to assist or consolidate what i applied for, this reproduction is a copy of an official work that is published by the Government of Canada and that the reproduction has not been produced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada. Full copyright per required for NON-COMMERCIAL use can be obtained here : Important Notices
4. All images used in this entry is duly credited and belongs to the Canadian Government unless stated otherwise.
5. I do not make any money out of this. Again, this is a guide, based on my own personal experience and will serve, at best, a reminder for me in the near future to apply for the visa when it expires.
Lets get started.
Firstly, make sure your Passport is still valid i.e. not expired or still have at least a year worth of validity. If not, I would strongly suggest that you renew the passport before applying for the visa, more so if the TRV to be applied for involved multiple entry privilege. Reason for this is that the TRV last up to a month before your passport expires. So, if you present your passport with 18 months of validity, you will get 17months of TRV. If your passport is brand new, you will get 4 years 11 months of TRV. I did not know this, and lost out in this, having to "renew" the visa at additional processing payment when time comes, if i am still travelling to Canada.
Step 1 : Filling Up All The Relevant Forms
The following are the forms that must be filled out and submitted:
The only optional form is:
Next, you must fill up all the forms (download a copy, save, fill up) and then press VALIDATE. By validating, you will generate a BARCODE that is essential to the whole application process. If you do not VALIDATE it, your application WILL be rejected. So, make sure you VALIDATE and ensure the forms has a barcode that look similar like this (as no two barcode are the same) in your application form.
Image from Canadian High Comm website
Once you have all the forms filled and validated, PRINT them out and SIGN the forms where required. Set all the copies aside with the Document Checklist to be on the top of the application. This will be your Submission documents.
IMPORTANT : A detailed explanation on how to fill up all the forms above can be obtained from this link here.
Extra Note: If you are travelling to Canada for work/meeting purposes i.e. not to be EMPLOYED there (as you will then need a WORKING VISA), you will need an invitation letter from the company that you will be visiting/working with. You will also need proof of employment from your current employers to justify that all your cost/expenditure will be undertaken by your company, or the host company. They will need proof of you having money to survive in Canada, and that including your bank statement, if so required.
Step 2 : Taking TWO Photographs per needed specification
This is important because if your photo do not meet the required dimension, your application will be rejected. As a rule of thumb:
  • You need TWO photos taken with a WHITE background or a LIGHT background
  • Make sure the photos are taken by a photo shop that knows what they are doing
  • Tell the photographer it is for CANADIAN VISA and it need to be crop to 35mm(width) by 45mm(height)
Full Requirement could be obtained here. They suggest that you print it out, bring to the photo shop and get the photographer to understand what is needed.
Do not smile. Frown. Bend sideway, upside-down. Put your face squarely onto the camera
Step 3: Preparing Payment for your Visa
A list of payment schedule is available at the website here. It list down the three most basic payment for Visa application. Prepare a bank draft or cashier order only. No other form of payment will be entertained (i.e. no cash, no cheques, no IOU). You can pay either in Canadian currency or in Singapore currency. Payment is for processing and does not guarantee that you will get your visa. It will not be refunded. If you underpaid, they will inform you to top it up. If you overpay, they will refund you the differences soonest. To avoid any issues, prepare the bank draft or cashier order ONLY in Canadian currency. That will put to rest any currency fluctuations (Singapore to Canada) and ensure a timely processing. I manage to get a complete list of payment from the High Comm as there is a need for my boss to transfers his Canadian Visa to the new Passport. Same process applies except the payment is lesser. So, if any of you find yourself in this situation, i suggest you follow the same method to apply.
Click for larger view. The above belongs to Canadian High Comm and can/will change without notice. Use as guidance only. Highlighted row is the fee for replacement/transfer of Visa. My office paid C$150 for my MULTIPLE ENTRY visa.
Step 4: Your Passport
This is stated in the checklist form but by far the most ignored instruction. If you are living in Singapore AND will not need to use your Passport for the duration of the Visa Application, you can put your passport into the envelope and submit along with the forms in Step 1, 2 and 3. However, that is not a wise thing to do in my opinion. What if you suddenly need to travel for work or leisure?
For myself and the colleague that i am acting on behalf, this is not an option. More so I WILL need the passport to get in and get out of Singapore! So, for this reason, the High Comm requires you to PHOTOSTAT every single pages of the passport (i played it safe by photostatting the FRONT and BACK cover).
With Step 1, 2, 3 and 4 done, place all the documents into an envelope and seal it up. You are ready for submission.
Step 5 : Submitting the Application
There is two method of submission.
1. Submission by hand and drop into the box at the Canadian High Comm. at One George Street
If you do not mind travelling down to Singapore for this, you need to drop the envelope that you sealed with all the items above into the correct slot at the High Comm. IF you mistakenly placed your passport and need it back. You will have to come back to the High Comm between 2.30 and 3.30 the same day to collect it. NO, they will NOT open the box for you to retrieve your passport. If you booked your flight earlier to go back - you will miss the flight if it is before 3.30pm. (please do an estimate of travelling time between Raffles Place to Changi, I will not be responsible if you miss you flight).
2. Submission via Post
The High Comm allows you to submit the application via post. I would suggest you send all items with a trackable post or a courier company to ensure that the whole application will reach the High Comm safely and on time. You can also send it via normal mail. Take note of the address per below. (Mail meant NORMAL MAIL, to a PO BOX, not trackable).
Do not confuse yourself with the mailing address! Taken from "The How To Apply At The High Commission in Singapore" available at the High Comm  
Now assuming Step 1 to 5 has been executed flawlessly, you will then just have to wait for the Visa to be ready. The duration or processing time varies. As mine was a visitor/business visa, the slotted KPI was 14 days. I submitted the application by hand (drop into box) on May 16 and was asked to return on May 31. Bear in mind that application received every weekday before 12.30pm will be taken in for processing starting that day - anything after 12.30pm will be processed only the next day.
Taken from "The How To Apply At The High Commission in Singapore" available at the High Comm
Step 6: Submission of your original Passport/Decision on the Visa
I went back to the High Comm on May 31. In fact, i travelled a day earlier to be in Singapore on May 30. This is important as the High Comm WILL ONLY accept passport submission for the decision on Visa between 8.30am to 9.30am and this only happen on Tuesday to Thursday. So, if you think your Visa application is ready on Thursday, there is no point to be there on Friday or following Monday, as they will NOT process it.
Taken from "The How To Apply At The High Commission in Singapore" available at the High Comm
Now, assuming that you are there on the day to submit your Passport. Get yourself via the direction i stated above. Clear the first security at the bottom of Tower B. Any form of identification will suffice. Get into the lift, tab the access card and press the 11th Floor. Upon exiting, there is two end of the High Comm. Go to the end where it is for Visa Application. You will need to:
1. Sign in
2. hand over all electronics including your cell phones, laptop, ipods, ipads etc etc.
3. Walk through the metal detector and allow the guard to do his duty.
Assuming you did all that, walk through the second door and please get a number from the ticketing machine. It is a manual ticket that you need to pull down and tear the ticket. Take your number and wait.
If you are Malaysian (chances those that were applying for a visa were), do not try to pull a fast one by going to the counter if you noticed the number being called has no one going (to the counter). They will request that you HAND over the ticket as proof...
Now assuming that your number was called (i got a 25 and i arrived at the High Comm at 8.45am), go to the counter and hand over your passport. If you are acting on behalf of someone, remember to bring along an authorization letter and show it to them. Take the letter back as that will be shown (and collected) later when you come back in the afternoon to collect the Passport (hopefully with the Visa inside).
Once you submit your passport, you can leave. If you have friends or a place to stay in Singapore, well and fine. If not, you will end up like me, wandering everywhere to kill time. I suggest you get back to the High Comm only at 2.30pm. If you are earlier, you will be asked to leave. I believe this is for security reason. As a rule of thumb, the MRT trip from Orchard to Raffles, including walking from Raffles MRT to One George Street, took me about 20minutes. So, again, time yourself properly.
Sharp at 2.30pm, repeat the same process you did in the morning - register at the security downstairs, get up to 11th Floor, clear the security again (but this time, you don't need to sign in) including leaving all electronics at the security and DO NOT NEED to take any tickets. JUST line up.
Collection is fast and dependent on the crowd in front of you in the queue (if they encounter further queries, it will be delay, obviously). I lined up for about 10minutes and got my passport (and my other colleague's via the authorisation letter) with the Canadian TRV.
Taken from my Instagram here
With all of that done, you are now LEGALLY able to travel to Canada and remain up to 6months at any one time, or dependent on the Immigration officer's discretion. Bear in mind that my application was considered as "smooth" as i do not need to present any medical check up, not called for interview etc etc. This is greatly dependent and do not be surprised if you are called up.
Good Luck!

6 comments:

  1. Like those "WANTED" picture la wheyyy :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. :D It's hard to be good looking all the time ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi stupe Kevin Siah's wife Li-Ann here! kevin and i are moving to canada for 2 years- because of my work. This was so helpful- you have no idea! Originally I was supposed to apply for my work permit in Sydney (2 months!)- now I think I'll do in Singapore instead (45 days according to their website).

    I have a few questions:
    1. the picture of processing times- where did you get it from? That doesnt seem to be from the website? The website says 45 days for work permit. I'm really hoping its sooner (30 days)!

    2. Is there an option of mailing your passport in if you can't physically be in Singapore for Step 6: Submission of your original Passport/Decision on the Visa?

    Don't feel obliged to find out if you're not sure-- I figured no harm asking....its all so confusing!
    Thanks heaps!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know you Li-Ann. :) Good to know you both are moving to Canada for 2 years. It is a beautiful country and i was told there were only two season there - Winter and Construction. :) LOL.

      OK. ON a more serious note, all the items above were obtained from the website and also me personally being at the High Comm to submit my application.

      You know you can submit via courier to them. Just take note of the address (Step 5, item 2). Make sure you photostat ALL pages (including front and back of the passport). Also, if your passport is expiring like within the next two years, i suggest you renew them as the validity of the visa goes concurrently with your passport expiry (minus one month). That way, you will prevent any need to re-apply the visa again and pay additonal fees to transfer the visa to a new passport.

      Take note of the Step 5 item 2 for mail submission. You however, have to be present at the high comm between Tuesday and Thursday BY 9am to submit your original passport for them to stick the VISA on.

      Make sure you get all paperwork done and it is always better to overfill forms than not filling them at all. :)

      Also, the date of the application starts from the (working) day they receive your submission. So, if you are couriering, suggest you keep track of the delivery and email the High Comm to ask if they gotten your application and seek advice on when you need to be there to take the visa.

      And yes, you can also take on Kev's behalf. Just make sure you got an authorization letter signed by Kev.

      Delete
  4. thanks..your explanation really help me..

    Sally

    ReplyDelete
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