Canadian Visa Application Guide and How to Apply as an African

Canada is a beautiful country in the North American continent blessed with hospitable people, quality of education and a good security system. This is why many people desire to travel to the country and explore. However before you can travel to some countries, you would require a visa depending on your home country. There are different types of visas and the suitable one for you depends on how long you want to stay in Canada and what you want to do there. If you are an African seeking ways to apply for a Canadian Visa, then this article is for you. In this piece, we would be taking you through the application process of getting a Canadian Visa and other relevant information.

But before we proceed let’s briefly discuss what a Canadian Visa is.

What is a Canadian Visa?

A Canadian visa simply gives you access to travel to Canada. It is a stamp on your passport that lawfully allows you to travel to the country and live there temporarily or permanently. With a Canadian visa, you are qualified for entry into Canada by the Embassy in your country. However, the officials at the border still have to determine if you are fit to enter the country. Positive feedback from them depends on the honesty of your application if otherwise, you would be sent back to your home country even though you have a visa.

What are the Types of Canadian Visas?

As earlier noted, there are different types of Canadian visas and the one you would get depends on what you want to do in Canada. Hence, the type of visas are:

A. The Canadian Temporary Resident Visa

This is also referred to as a Canadian visitor visa. As the name implies, this type of visa allows someone to stay in Canada for a limited period which is usually specified by the Canadian Consulate or the Border Services Officers (BSO). To get this visa, you would need to apply online or on paper through the Canadian Embassy in your country. Temporary visas are either single entry or multiple entry.

Single entry visas permit you to enter Canada only once after which you would not be allowed in again after leaving the country. Multiple entry visas allow you to travel in and out of the country as many times as you want as long as the visa remains valid.

What are the Types of Canadian Temporary Resident Visas?

1. Canadian Tourist Visa

As the name implies this visa allows individuals to visit Canada for the purpose of tourism.

2. Canadian Super Visa

If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada and your parents or grandparents wish to visit you for a prolonged stay, then this visa is for them.

3. Diplomatic and Official Visa

This permits officials and diplomats from other countries of the world to visit Canada for official duties.

4. Courtesy Visa

This is similar to the above but it is for people who could not get the Diplomatic and Official Visa but are still accepted because of their ranks.

5. Canada Business Visa

If you or a group of people are travelling to Canada for business, then this is the appropriate visa for you.

6. Visa to Give Birth

This is given to pregnant people who want to stay in Canada temporarily and give birth to their babies making their child a Canadian citizen.

7. Organs Donor Visa

This is given to individuals who want to travel to Canada to donate an organ to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

8. Canada Felicitation Visa

This is given to citizens with dual nationalities who don’t have a Canadian passport.

9. Canadian Student Visa

This visa is given to those who want to pursue their education in Canada after they have received an admission offer from a Canadian university. Note that school in Canada for less than 6 months would require a TRV visa but longer periods would require a student visa.

10. Temporary Work Visa

This visa is for those who have gotten a job offer to work in Canada for up to 6 months.

B. Permanent Residence Visa

This visa allows individuals to settle and work in Canada. The different types of permanent resident visas include:

1. Immigrant Investor Program

If you want to make investments in the Canadian economy, then this is for you. However, you must have a net worth of CAD800,000 and they should invest a minimum of CAD 400,000 which the government of Canada would return in 5 years, without interest.

2. Startup Visa Program

This is also for people that want to add value to the Canadian economy. If this is you, your net worth should be a minimum of CAD 300,000 and you must decide to own and manage one-third of the Canadian business to qualify for this visa.

3. Self-Employed Persons Visa

If you want to start your own business in Canada, then this visa is for you. You must be able to show your skills in your desired areas and provide proof of how you intend to fund the business.

4. Family Sponsorship Program

This enables spouses and dependents of Canadian permanent residents or citizens to permanently move to Canada.


5. Express Entry Program Visas

This includes three types of visas that pertain to the Canadian economy: Canadian Skilled Worker Visa, Canadian Skilled Trades Visa and Canadian Experience Class Visa.

6. Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP)

Workers who are semi or low-skilled but have the potential to make a positive impact on the Canadian economy are eligible for this visa under the Provincial Nominee Program.

What are the Requirements for Obtaining a Canadian Visa?

1. A Valid International Passport

To apply for any Canadian visa you would need a valid international passport. It is necessary that you have a passport that is valid all through your desired stay in the country. You may also be required to submit photocopies of the information page of your international passport. The important details include:

  • Your passport number.
  • The date of issue and expiry.
  • Your personal information which includes your name, photo, place of birth, and date of birth.

2. Proof of your payment of the required visa fees

You must pay the necessary visa fees before applying for a Canadian visa. This is because you would be required to attach the receipts to your application. There are two types of visa fees:

  • Biometric fees
  • Application processing fees.

Note that the amount that should be paid varies depending on the kind of visa you want to get.

3. Passport Photographs

Two passport-sized pictures that fulfil the specifications are needed if you decide to submit your application offline. For an online application, you must obtain a digital copy of the photo, which should be no more than 4MB. Other requirements include maintaining a neutral facial expression, having a plain background, and not wearing a head covering unless your religion forbids it. Additionally, the photograph must be recent—not older than six months.

4. Proof of Financial Ability

You would need to show that you are financially capable when applying for a Canadian visa. You would have to prove that you would have enough money to cover your expenses and that of those coming with you. Your proof could be your bank statements, employment letter indicating how much you earn per year, proof of income of your host or family member, evidence of intention to receive financial support to cover the expenses throughout your stay etc.

5. Proof that you would Return to your Home Country after the Expiration of your Visa

You may need to attach proof to convince the officials that you would be returning to your home country as soon as your visa expires. This could be through a proof of employment, ownership of properties in your African country, proof of family members in your country etc.

6. Identity and Civil Status Documents

It is important to attach a valid ID document so you can be properly identified. This could be your national card, voter’s card, driver’s license, marriage certificate, birth certificate etc.

7. Proof of Good Character

Canada has zero tolerance for crimes and embraces individuals that are law-abiding and do not pose a threat to the country. You would need to provide that you have good character and you have never committed a crime. This can be done by providing a Police Character Certificate from your home country.

8. Proof of Good Health

You would be required to prove that you are disease-free and this can be done by submitting a medical certificate from a valid hospital. You must attach copies of your medical certificate to your application.

How to Apply for a Canadian Visa as an African

The application process differs depending on which visa you are applying for. However, to apply for a visa you need to follow the instructions below:

1. Determine your Eligibility for the Visa Type

The Canadian government has made it quite simple to determine if you are eligible for a visa so as not to waste time.They have created several evaluations that use an applicant’s responses to an online questionnaire to determine their eligibility. Depending on the type of visa you want, you will need to answer a series of questions. The system will then let you know if you are qualified to apply or not. It will also provide you with the instructions and suggestions you need to follow in order to fulfill all the requirements. Your results would be provided to you following completion of the evaluation.

2. Create your Online Account

Once you are determined eligible for the visa, you would get instructions which may be sent to the email address you provided. You can apply for the visa online or physically, but online applications are more common. Applying for the visa online requires you to open an online account. You can create this online account in two ways:

  • You can use your online bank details.
  • You can create a Canadian government login(GCKey).

3. Get your Documents Ready

As soon as you create your account and log in, you can begin your application for the visa. Make use of the reference code that you have been given to apply for the visa you are eligible for. As soon as you enter the reference code, you would see the documents required for the visa application. Make sure you submit the documents correctly and cross-check, then submit your application.

4. Pay the Required Visa Fees

Once you have successfully submitted your documents, the system would automatically take you to the payment page. Then you would have to pay the required fees depending on your visa type. Once this is done, you would submit your application.

Note that if you apply in person, you only need to take those documents to the Canadian Embassy in your country in Africa. However, it will take about 5 working days for you to see the application on your account if you apply online.

5. Wait for your Visa to be Processed

The Canadian Embassy will then require two or more weeks to process your application, depending on the type of visa you are eligible for. Additionally, they might ask for additional documents from you, your biometric information, or set up an interview. If the Embassy requests your biometrics and schedules an interview, you will still need to go to the Embassy even if you submitted your application online. You should keep in mind that the Embassy will send notifications to your account, therefore you must often check it.

6. Submit your International Passport and Processing Fees

After you have received a notification that your visa application was successful, submit your passport and processing fees to the Embassy. The amount you are to pay as processing fee differs depending on the type of visa. The embassy staff will receive your passport along with the processing fees, stamp your passport with the visa, and send it back to you. You will need to pay the processing fees there and obtain the passport right away if you are informed of their decision following the visa interview.

7. Travel to Canada

After the whole process has been completed, you can travel to Canada. At the border, you would be requested to present your passport and documents and be asked a few questions by the officials. Your answer to these questions would determine whether they would let you in or not. Hence, note that the Canadian visa is not a guarantee that you would travel to Canada, this is left to the officials at the border to decide.

How does the Application Process Take?

Each visa application has a different processing period depending on the type. It might take two to four weeks, maybe even longer. Only until the Canadian authorities have received your complete application will your visa start to be processed. The processing period will be extended if they require you to deliver more paperwork.


As an African, you may think that the Canadian visa application process is a tough one. We however hope that this article has made your journey easier. Note instructively that you must submit all the necessary documents correctly so your application would not be rejected.