For Filipinos, an application for a Canadian visa can seem daunting. The rewards, however, can be great. Canada offers a free high-quality education system, a discrimination-free job market, a free healthcare system and a wide network of social services. What’s more, Canada is home to people who come from all over the world and from all walks of life.
Filipino student, Nel Jayson Santos, who won an LGBT scholarship to study at Memorial University of Newfoundland, says “I was amazed at how culturally diverse and environmentally rich the country is.”
“It’s home to a lot of people coming from all around the globe making Canada a cultural mosaic where everyone has a right to celebrate their unique identities whatever it may be,” he adds.
Rhea Santos — former “Unang Hirit” host and the longest-serving female morning newscaster in Philippine TV history — now calls Canada home too. She recently completed a two-year programme at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and now works for Canadian television broadcaster OMNI Television.
To follow in the footsteps of these illustrious students, you’ll first need to know how to go about your application for a Canadian visa. Here’s what you need to know:
How much time will it take?
Be sure to prepare ahead of time. As soon as you’ve been accepted to the uni or institution of your choice, you should already start your application for a Canadian visa. Ideally, you should do this four to six months before your programme starts.
After you apply, you’ll need to wait about a month and a half for a reply.
What will it cost?
There is an initial fee of 150 Canadian dollars (≈5,900 pesos at the time of writing) for an application for a Canadian visa. On a case-to-case basis, Canadian authorities can allow you to pay this online or at a location visa application centre in the Philippines. The Embassy of Canada in Manila is located at Levels 6-8, Tower 2, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
As healthcare is free, you won’t need to get health insurance, but you will have to pay for a medical exam at the application centre — this costs CA$16 (≈635 pesos).
What documents do I need?
In your application for a Canadian visa, the most important thing you need to prove is that you can support yourself during your programme. You’ll need to prove you have a minimum of CA$833 (≈33,100 pesos) a month (except Quebec which requires CA$917 (≈36,400 pesos) a month).
You’ll also need a completed permit application form, your letter of acceptance, recent passport-sized photographs and a statement of purpose. As you’ll be moving to a country that primarily speaks English and French, you’ll need to prove your English proficiency through tests like the IELTS or TOEFL.
What happens after this?
After organising your required documents, you can apply online using the CIC official website. This can be done three months before your intended date of travel to Canada. Once your application fee is paid, it’s officially considered your application date.
If successful, you’ll be notified via email. If you want to stay in Canada after your programme is finished, you’ll have to apply for a completely different visa through the immigration office.
With your student visa, you can leave Canada during your studies but you might have to prove you’re enrolled in your uni or institution when you return.