Visa and eTA

A temporary resident visa may be required for certain Centrallia 2016 participants to enter Canada. The purpose of this document is to serve as a reference guide to provide basic information regarding the Canadian visa application process for Centrallia 2016 participants coming from abroad to Canada.

Since the very first edition of Centrallia in 2010, the World Trade Centre Winnipeg (WTC Winnipeg) has worked closely with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to ensure that participants who require a visa to travel to Canada have the necessary information to reduce the possibility of any visa complications.

General Information about the Canadian Visa Process

  • The visa process is controlled by the Government of Canada and can be complicated, requiring the necessary supporting documentation.
  • CIC receives and processes a high volume of applications, and individual officers have a very heavy workload. It is up to applicants to ensure that their applications are complete with all the necessary documents. If the application has empty fields, if information is missing, or if necessary documents are not submitted, the application will likely be refused. Visa officers do not investigate or request supporting documentation. Only the applicant can request a review of his/her case, and this process may take weeks to unfold.
  • Although CIC is interested in facilitating international trade, its primary responsibility is to determine that applicants are admissible under Canadian law in order to ensure the health and safety of Canadians and the security of Canada. This should be kept in mind when working with participants wanting to attend Centrallia 2016.
  • It is important to remember that visa officers assess both the individual applicant and the company which he/she represents. Therefore, the documentation to support the applications must clearly demonstrate not only the intention of the individual to return to his or her home country (e.g., personal finances, marriage certificate), but also the reason the company is participating at Centrallia 2016 (e.g., the company is already engaged in international trade, has participated in international trade shows in the past) and the reason why that applicant in particular was chosen to represent the company at Centrallia 2016.

Submitting the Visa Application

  • Consult the web site of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and fully read the instructions.
  • Ensure the application form is completed properly with no empty fields or missing information.
  • Ensure the CIC special event code for Centrallia 2016 is included in all visa invitation letters.
  • Clearly indicate the purpose and justification of the visit to Canada.
    • When CIC assesses the purpose, they are referencing the intent of the individual. The largest concern of visa officers is that visitors will not return home and that they may look to use a business trade show, such as Centrallia, as a way to get into the country and stay improperly. Therefore, it is important to address any possible concerns up front and to provide enough supporting documentation to satisfy the visa officer that the participant has a valid reason to attend Centrallia 2016 and sufficient reasons to return home. These elements may include:
      • Information about the history and activities of the company, such as a statement that explains the business objectives for the company’s participation, more relevantly why traveling to Canada to participate at Centrallia 2016 is necessary to developing their business; and
      • Personal information such as family ties (e.g., spouse, kids), owning a home, money in the bank, and a good job. As much as possible, the participant should provide documents to support his/her case (e.g., bank statements, marriage documents).
    • It is imperative for the participant to include the visa invitation letter provided by the WTC Winnipeg with the Centrallia CIC event code.
  • Provide evidence of a detailed travel history.
    • If the participant has a relatively short travel history, this may not be seen favourably. Any proof of previous travels to countries similar to Canada (e.g., U.S., Europe, and Australia), such as copies of previous passports showing visas and travel stamps, will be very beneficial.
  • Provide evidence of personal assets and financial status.
    • It is very important for applicants to show proof of their personal financial situation, such as bank accounts, home ownership or other investments, that demonstrate links with the country of residence. If a company is paying for the participant to travel to Centrallia 2016, it is also important to submit a letter from the company stating their financial support and evidence of the company’s financial ability to support the trip.
  • Any accompanying members must ensure to submit a separate application and are clearly dissociated from the event and business delegation to avoid any potential misunderstanding in the CIC officer’s decision process.
  • WTC Winnipeg cannot insist enough how important it is to ensure that each participant’s application is completed accurately, that there is no missing information, and that the application contains enough information to clearly address the purpose of visit, detailed travel history as well as personal assets and financial status information.

Visa Refusals

  • In general, applicants should:
    • Ensure all required information and supporting documents are submitted with the application.
    • Ensure the application is properly completed and submitted as early as possible to allow sufficient time to review.
  • Nevertheless, in some cases, visa applications are refused. The majority of visa refusals may be attributed to:
    • The quality and completeness of the visa application (i.e. lack of sufficient supporting documentation, incomplete information).
    • The timeliness of the application (i.e. submitted without sufficient turnaround time for a decision, not enough to respond if necessary).
    • Doubt regarding the genuineness of the company or business the applicant is representing, and the true nature of the trip to Canada (i.e. concerns that the applicant intends to remain illegally or improperly in Canada).
  • If the application is refused for the reason of “the purpose of the visit”, this is not a judgement about Centrallia 2016, but concerns of the visa officer that the applicant is using Centrallia 2016 to travel to Canada in order to attempt to remain illegally or improperly, or to enter Canada for another purpose unconnected to Centrallia 2016.
  • There is no formal appeal process if your application for a temporary resident visa is refused. WTC Winnipeg CANNOT intervene directly, lobby, or pressure the Canadian Ambassador or High Commissioner at the Embassy or any other Canadian government official to request the reversal of a negative visa application.
  • Should an applicant wish to re-apply following a refusal, the applicant should do so only if the situation has changed substantively or if the applicant has significant new information to submit.

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

Starting March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travelers with a valid Canadian visa. However, from March 15, 2016 until fall 2016, travellers who do not have an eTA can board their flight, as long as they have appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport.

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