In short, there’s just no perfect time for all of us to go home even for a short visit. And this year was no exception.
But since we’ve never travelled out of UAE as a family since 2011 (last year’s visit to Germany doesn’t count because Hubby and I were the only ones who went), and Sophie has never gone on a plane ever, I was adamant that our whole family go on a trip out of the country this year. The only question was where.
After several suggestions, I casually suggested to Hubby “What about Canada?” After all, my eldest brother and his family were there; at least we would have a place to stay and they could show us around. Hubby immediately agreed, and thus started the exchange of messages between me and my brother.
Kuya and his family thought it was a great idea! The last time we saw each other was seven years ago when Hubby and I tied the knot, and his teenage girls were excited to meet their little cousins. So I began researching on the steps and requirements to apply for a visit visa to Canada. Although the process was pretty simple, we were still nervous and worried that our application might be denied.
But as you can guess, we were all granted visit visas…valid until a day before our passports expired! Hurray!
As I mentioned, the process was fairly easy and can be found here and here, but I’ll share what we did so you have an idea how we applied. Applications can be done online or on paper. We chose the latter.
From my brother, I needed an invitation letter and a copy of his passport, Permanent Resident card, and Driver’s Licence. Some sites mention that the invitation letter needs to be notarized, but ours wasn’t; it was just a scanned copy sent by e-mail which I printed.
In just a few days, we managed to gather all of the requirements. We didn’t need to book an appointment, so on the 23rd of April, Hubby and I headed to the Canada Visa Application Centre at the 3rd floor of Wafi Mall with these in hand:
• Completed Application Forms: Document Checklist (4), Visa Office Instructions – Visit (4), Application for Temporary Resident Visa --- validated, with the bar code (4), and Family Information (2)
• VFS Consent Form (2)
• Original Passports with UAE Residence Visas
• Original Employment Certificates
• Bank Statements for the past 3 months (printout of the online bank statement was sufficient)
• Flight Tickets
• 2 Photographs each (white background)
• Photocopies of our passports and visas
• Photocopies of my brother’s Invitation Letter, Passport, PR Card, and Driver’s Licence
Just like when we applied for Schengen visas last year, there weren’t that many people at the Centre so we only waited a few minutes before it was our turn. But of course, since we were submitting 4 applications, it took us a while. Not that long, though…just around 20 minutes.
Everything that we needed to pay for was settled at the same counter:
• Visa Processing: Dhs295 × 4
• CVAC Service Fees: Dhs194.50 × 4
• SMS Service: Dhs5.75 × 4
• Courier Service: Dhs16 × 4
• Collection & Remittance Charges: Dhs2 × 4
Expected processing time is 2 weeks. And even though I regularly received SMS and e-mail updates on the status of our applications, the wait was still nerve-wracking. But yesterday (10 days after we submitted our applications), our passports were delivered to my office…all with multiple-entry visit visa stamps. I was so relieved and happy!
|Canada, here we come!|