Canada is the largest country in the Western hemisphere and the second largest country in the world after Russia. The country comprises of ten provinces and three territories with the longest coastline of 243,977km.
Canada is a very fascinating country to live in. The natural coastline, varied lakes, great wildlife, stunning national parks and beautiful landscapes makes it a spectacular place to inhabit.
To travel to Canada, you need to apply for a Canadian visa, and that will give you clearance to enter and reside in Canada. Obtaining a Canadian visa in Nigeria is not as difficult as people speculate. As long as you follow the due process in applying for it, you have high chances of getting a Canadian visa in Nigeria.
Understanding the Basics.
A lot of people wonder if Nigerians actually need a visa to go to Canada.
The answer to that is a resounding YES! The major thing that guarantees your entry into Canada is your visa. As a matter of fact, applying for a visa is the first step to living your Canadian dream.
For whatever route you intend to use to get into Canada, it is absolutely necessary to acquire a visa specific to that route.
Types of Visa
There are various types of Canada visa available. The one you will apply for depends on what you are going to do in Canada at the moment. Some of the visa types include:
- Visitor Visa
A visitor visa, also known as a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Canadian Tourist Visa, is an immigration document that allows foreigners from various countries, including Nigerians, to travel to and enter Canada.
There are two types of Canadian visitor visas: single entry visa and multiple entry visa. A single entry visa allows citizens of other countries to enter Canada for one-time only. If anyone with a single entry visa leaves Canada and wishes to return back to Canada, such a person has to apply for a new visa. A multiple entry visa, on the other hand, allows holders to enter and leave Canada as often as they want as long as the visa is valid.
With a visitor visa, you can stay in Canada for up to or less than six months before returning back to your country. A visitor visa is mostly used by individuals who are traveling for business meeting, conferences, leisure purpose or to pay a brief visit to someone residing in Canada.
- Study Permit/Visa
A Student Visa is known as a study permit in Canada. It is a type of visa that allows an individual to study in Canadian institutions and in some cases, work in the course of their study. A student visa allows you to stay in Canada for up to a year, two years and even more depending on the duration of your course.
To study in Canada as a Nigerian, you will need a combination of both a study permit and a visitors visa.
You can only get a Canada student visa if you are enrolled in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). DLIs are schools or universities which are approved by the provincial or territorial government and allowed to host international students. So ensure to check that your school is a DLI before applying for your student visa.
- Work Visa
A work visa is a type of visa that grants its holder the permission to work and earn an income in Canada. This type of visa is often sponsored by specific licensed companies in Canada.
There are two ways through which you can get a Canada work permit:
- Through Temporary Work Visa
- Through Permanent or Immigrant Work Visa
The first group of visa allows you to work in Canada for six months or less as a temporary worker, after which you must leave Canada or apply for an extension. The second group of visa is specifically for those who are immigrating to Canada because they have found a suitable long-term job.
Preparing for the Application
To ensure that you are adequately prepared to apply for a Canadian visa, it is essential for you to research extensively on the types of visa available and also note the requirements.
The reason for which you are traveling to Canada will determine the type of visa you will apply for.
Some of the requirements needed to apply for a Canada visa includes:
- Valid International Passport.
- Two coloured background photographs.
- Download Canada Checklist, fill and sign a Visa Application Center (VAC) consent form.
- Medical report showing that you are healthy and fit to travel.
- Payment receipt of visa application fee and biometric fee.
- Documents to prove the absence of criminal or immigration-related convictions.
- Recent Bank statement showing sufficient funds for the duration of the trip. The banks statement must not be more than 3 months old.
- Proof of ties in Nigeria ( This could be through jobs, financial assets and family members).
- Proof that your stay in Canada is temporary and that you will return to your home country at the end of your visit.
- Letter of invitation from host in Canada.
- Valid acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) with the following information: an official letterhead of the school, the program and degree you will obtain, the amount of tuition fees you must pay, the start and finishing dates of the program. This is specifically for those applying for a Canadian student visa.
- Previous passports with visa pages.
- A travel itinerary and a copy of your flight tickets showing a return flight has been booked. (For temporary visas).
- Marriage certificate (if married).
- Letter of consent from both parents or legal guardian (for minors under the age of 18).
- Birth certificate (if applicable).
The cost of a Canada visa fee varies depending on the type of visa you are applying for.
The table below a shows a summary of the Canada visa fee in Nigeria.
|Amount in CAD
|Amount in NGN
|Visitor visa with biometric
|Restore your status as a visitor
|Student visa with biometric
|Restore your status as a student
|Work permit with biometric
|Restore your status as a worker
|Open work permit
Whether you are applying for a study visa, visitor visa or work visa, there is a general visa application process which you need to follow. You can apply online on the IRCC portal to save your time and money.
The following steps will guide you on how to apply for your Canada visa in Nigeria.
- Decide on the type of visa you will be applying for depending on the purpose of your travel to Canada.
- Download the checklist form, and gather all the required document for your visa application. Some of the documents include your photograph, international passport, bank statement, employment letter, travel itinerary, medical report, acceptance letter from a DLI, letter of invitation if applicable, etc.
- Fill and complete the Canadian visa application form.
- Scan and upload the relevant documents online.
- Pay the corresponding visa application fee.
- Book an appointment for biometrics capturing at a visa application centre either in Abuja or Lagos.
- Visit the visa application centre at the designated time to submit your application and biometric data. Note that if you fail to arrive at exactly the time you were given, you may not be attended to. It is better you arrive earlier than your scheduled time to prevent any hitches. Also remember to bring the necessary documents.
- After completing the process, a receipt will be issued to you. It will contain a unique number which you can use to track the progress of your application online.
A lot of people often wonder how much funds they need to have in their bank account in order to be granted a Canada visa.
While there is no fixed amount of money required by the Canadian government, it is expected that you should have sufficient amount of money in your account for a period of four months. You also need to be making consistent financial transactions with that account over the period of four months. Do not put the money in there and leave it dormant.
The cost of living in Canada for a single adult is approximately between CAD900 – CAD1200 a month depending on where you’ll be residing in. So if you are applying for a student visa, you need to have at least CAD 10,000 for each study year apart from your tuition fees.
Then if you’ll be taking your dependents with you, you should budget at least CAD4000 per year for each dependent.
Verification by the Canadian Immigration Officers.
To maintain a healthy financial profile, it is important for you to present a bank statement that is issued by a recognized financial institution and has integrity. The visa officers will eventually verify the authenticity of your bank statements, so you must ensure that yours is void of any fraudulent activity.
The immigration officer will also access whether the funds in your bank statement can cover for certain estimated expenses like your accommodation, feeding and upkeep, healthcare and transportation. They will also look out for whether you have a consistent cash flow through salary or investment that can sustain you throughout the duration of your stay in Canada.
If your bank statement is in naira or a different currency other than the Canadian Dollar, the visa officers will do the conversion to ensure that your funds meets the financial requirement. So, it is crucial for you to use the latest conversion rate and possibly do a top-up just to be on the safe side.
You will also need to provide a proof of sponsorship and show the relationship between you and your sponsor, if someone else will be sponsoring your visit to Canada.
It is advisable to carefully review the official guidelines provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and submit genuine and accurate financial documents to support the visa application.
Timelines and Planning
Visa processing time vary depending on the type of visa you applied for, the documents you submitted and also your personal situation.
If you are a Nigerian applying for a Canada Visitor visa, then you should expect your visa processing time to be from 23 days to 8 months. The processing time for your Canada Visitor extension can take up to 6 months, while the processing time for work visa is 6-36 weeks.
If you are applying for a student visa, it might take between 1 to 3 months for you to get your visa. So, immediately you get your letter of acceptance from your institution, make no hesitation to apply for your visa. Prepare your mind that it could take longer than expected, so you need to apply as early as possible.
Several factors can cause a delay in receiving a decision concerning your Canada visa:
- Invitation to interview: if the immigration officers need further information about your application or need more clarification about discrepancies in your documents, you may be scheduled for an interview. This may prolong the duration of your visa processing time. However, as long as you are able to prove that you have genuine intentions and your application was done with integrity, you have nothing to worry about.
- Incomplete or Incorrect Documentation: Delays often happen when applicants fail to submit all the required documents or provide inaccurate information. In such cases, the visa officers will take some additional time to request and review the missing or corrected documents. To avoid this delay, ensure that you submit the right document at the designated place during your online application and double check before finally submitting.
- Admissibility Concerns: Another major cause of delay is when the immigration officer has concerns as to whether the applicant can be allowed to enter Canada or not. If an applicant has a history of criminal convictions, health issues, or other admissibility concerns, further assessments and clarifications may be necessary before a decision is made.
During your visa application process, you may be required to submit your travel itinerary. A Canadian visa travel itinerary is a document that shows a detailed planning of your trip from arrival to departure. This document basically tells the officers all that you plan to do upon entry into Canada. It should include the dates and names of the places which you will be visiting during your stay. If you will be lodging in a hotel or family apartment, you ought to include all the details there. This would help to facilitate your visa application.
As a Nigerian, if you plan to stay in Canada for more than six months, you will need to do a medical test called Immigration Medical Exam (IME). This test is approved by the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and is used to determine if you are medically fit to enter into Canada.
You need to complete your medical test before applying for student, visitor, or work visa. However, if you are applying for a permanent residence visa, you have to wait till you are instructed to go for the medical screening after submitting your application.
Currently, there are only two approved healthcare facilities where you can do the medical examination in Nigeria. They are: Q-Life family clinic and the IOM Migration Health Assessment Centre (MHAC). Both facilities are based in Lagos and Abuja.
Contacting the Canadian Embassy/IRCC
If you are yet to get a feedback concerning your visa application, it means that your application is still being processed. So you may not need to do anything else.
However, if you need to give new information about your application or change your contact information you may need to contact the IRCC. Also, if your application has taken a much longer time than the normal visa processing time, you may also need to reach out to them on +1-613-944-4000 or 1-888-242-2100.
Otherwise you can check your application status online or find answers to your questions in their Help Centre.
For inquiries or assistance, you may wish to contact the Canadian embassy in Nigeria. Their contact details are as follows.
Address: 15 Bobo Street, Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria
Fax: (011 234 9) 413-9932
Phone: (011 234 9) 413 99 10
Canada is truly an interesting and safe country to live in and that is the reason why people from all over the world are trooping there in large numbers. The first step to living your Canadian dream is to be adequately informed and then subsequently make thorough preparations to apply for a visa. It is essential for you to know the required documents, get them prepared, submit the scanned documents online, book and attend your biometrics appointment at the visa application centre and track your application online.
When you follow the due processes outlined above, getting a Canada visa will certainly be a seamless and smooth process for you.
If you have any question or experience to share, do so in the comment section below. Also endeavour to stay updated by checking the official Canadian immigration website.
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