Do you need to write a letter of invitation for a family member or a friend applying for a visitor visa to Canada? If you’re not sure what to write, here’s a guide on how to make one and an actual sample that I used when I applied for my mother’s visitor visa. I also included a template that you can use so you don’t have to start from scratch.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not meant to substitute professional advice. Information was gathered from both the author’s actual experience and IRCC’s website. To verify the most-up-to-date information, check www.canada.ca.
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What’s a Letter of Invitation?
If you’re in Canada and you have a family member or friend applying for a visitor visa to Canada, IRCC usually requires that they submit a letter of invitation from you. In case you’re not familiar with IRCC, the name stands for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. It’s the government department that processes immigration requests, and that includes visitor visa applications.
There are two different kinds of a visitor visa to Canada: the visitor visa, and the parent & grandparent super visa. Super visa is a “special” type of visitor visa where the holder is allowed to stay in Canada for up to 5 years straight. For a typical visitor visa, holders can only stay a maximum of 6 months straight. But both visas are valid for up to 10 years. In this post, I’ll only talk about the visitor visa.
A letter of invitation for a visitor visa to Canada is simply a letter where you write all the information that IRCC needs to know about:
- Your family member or friend that you’re inviting to visit Canada, and
- You, your family, and your household members.
3 Things You Should Know Before Writing an Invitation Letter
You might be asking, “how do I write a letter that will guarantee a visa approval?”
The first thing you should note about a letter of invitation is that it won’t guarantee that your family member or friend’s visa to Canada will be approved. IRCC will assess the person, not you, who’s applying for the visitor visa. It’s your family member or friend’s responsibility to submit proofs that they meet Canada’s immigration laws. And while a letter of invitation is required, it’s not the basis of whether a visitor visa to Canada will be approved or not.
So, there’s no need for you to stress so much about writing one. Just make sure to include all the details required by IRCC and be honest.
Second, writing a letter of invitation does NOT mean that you’re legally responsible for those you are inviting. So for example, if your friend whom you invited comes here as a visitor, and then he overstays illegally, IRCC won’t come after you. Your friend will be the one to pay for whatever fine he needs to settle. But because you’re a good friend, just try to make sure this never happens.
And lastly, you don’t have to prove in the invitation letter that you can financially support the person you’re inviting. You don’t need to show that you’re employed, or how much you’re earning. We did anyway just in case.
But to be clear, it is your family member or friend who should prove to IRCC that they have enough funds to pay for their expenses here in Canada. Even if you write in your letter that you’ll provide for their housing and meals, they need to prove that they have their own money. And that money is enough to pay for their expenses during their visit to Canada. Most importantly, they must prove that they’ll return to their home country and not do anything illegal, like working or overstaying. Otherwise, IRCC might not approve their visitor visa application.
What to Include in the Invitation Letter for a Visa to Canada
So, what information should you include when you’re writing a letter of invitation for someone applying for a visa to Canada?
I’m quoting here the exact information from IRCC’s website which you can verify here.
When you write your letter of invitation, “you must include this information about the person you are inviting:
- complete name,
- date of birth,
- address and telephone number,
- your relationship to the person,
- the purpose of the trip,
- how long the person plans to stay in Canada,
- where the person will stay, and how he or she will pay for things, and
- when the person plans to leave Canada.
And then, “you must include this information about yourself:
- complete name,
- date of birth,
- address and telephone number in Canada,
- job title,
- whether you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident,
- a photocopy of a document proving your status in Canada, such as
- a Canadian birth certificate, if you were born in Canada,
- a Canadian citizenship card, if you are a naturalized citizen, or
- a copy of your PR card or your IMM 1000 proof of landing, if you are a permanent resident,
- details of your family, such as names and dates of birth of your spouse and dependents (this is mandatory for the parent and grandparent super visa), and
- the total number of people living in your household, including people you sponsored whose sponsorship is still in effect (this is mandatory for the parent and grandparent super visa).”
Sample Letter of Invitation
If you’re wondering, “is there a format or template from IRCC that I can use?”.
I couldn’t find one from IRCC’s website itself. But I’m sharing with you here the actual letter I wrote for my mother when she applied for her visitor visa in December 2019. Her visa got approved after one month.
But using this letter as your template doesn’t guarantee that your family member or friend’s visa will get approved. Again, as I’ve said already, IRCC will assess the person, not you, who’s applying for the visitor visa. It’s your family member or friend’s responsibility to submit proofs that they meet Canada’s immigration laws.
So, without further ado, here’s the sample letter of invitation.
You can also download the PDF file with a template that you can use.
Final Words on Writing a Letter of Invitation for a Visa to Canada
As mentioned in this post, a letter of invitation is among the required documents that your family member or friend needs to submit for their visa application to Canada. You should be the one to write and sign this letter. And in some cases, IRCC might ask you to notarize it. If this is the case, then you must send the notarized letter to your family member or friend. Then he or she must then send this letter to the Canadian embassy or consulate outside of Canada when he or she applies for a visitor visa.
In my mother’s case, IRCC didn’t ask us to notarize the letter.
Before you write the letter, remember these 3 things:
- The letter of invitation doesn’t guarantee visa approval.
- Even if you wrote the letter, it doesn’t mean you’re legally responsible for the person you’re inviting.
- And, if you’re the one writing the letter of invitation, you don’t have to show any financial proofs.
So while the letter of invitation is required, IRCC’s decision to approve the visa application of your family member or friend will not be based on this letter. IRCC will assess the documents to be submitted by the visa applicant. These documents must prove that
- your family member or friend has enough money to pay for their expenses while in Canada,
- and that they will return to their home country as they promised.
I hope that this post, along with the sample letter and template, helps you to write your letter of invitation for your parents, siblings, or friends’ visa application to Canada. Best of luck with their application!
About the author:
JK Legaspi is a permanent resident of Canada since 2018. She and her family lives in the beautiful Niagara Region. As the founder of Detour To Canada, she aims to help aspiring and future immigrants reach their Canadian dreams by sharing her family’s own immigration and newcomer story.
Publishers note: This post was updated to reflect updated information on March 25, 2023.
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