Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Canada tourist VISA for Indian citizens in USA

I recently applied and got a multiple-entry 10 year tourist VISA to Canada and below is my experience through the entire process.
The document submission process is almost entirely online and can be done by creating an account on their website
The Canada Tourist VISA
However, before you create an account, you need to check your eligibility for an online application, and get a unique confirmation code that you will need, when creating the application.
Please note, the maximum validity of the VISA can only be until the passport expiry date.

Once you get the key and create the account you can start filing out the form based off the application.

The list of documents I submitted online are as follows:
1) Current Passport Scan
2) Application for Visitor Visa

3) Invitation letter from my friend with his passport and Canadian PR card scans.
4) Proof of Means of Financial Support (Bank statements, pay stubs etc.)
My cover letter
5) Cover Letter
6) Digital photo
7) Travel History (Previous Passport scan)

After submitting the application, you're provided with a unique applicant ID and an application number. You can monitor the progress of the application by logging in to your CIC account. Once the processing is completed by CIC, you will find a PDF letter in your CIC account online, asking for your passport to be sent to the Canadian consulate.

Now this is the tricky part, as the New York consulate website is very confusing as to what are the next steps. There's another $31.99 fee (at the time of this writing) that needs to be paid to the VAC via Money order or cashier's check. This fee needs to be sent to a lock-box in Philadelphia, PA and a copy (as a confirmation) of the money order needs to be sent to the New York VAC processing center.
PS: If you're sending your Passport to the LA consulate, there's a lock-box in Salt lake city, UT that you need to send the $31.99 fee to.

Here are the documents that need to be mailed in:
A) $31.99 money order/cashier's check to the below address. (Name with pencil written on the back)
CSC Consular Services Inc
Lockbox 3352
PO Box 8500
Philadelphia, PA 19178-3352

B) 1. 2 signed copies of VAC consent form
2. Copy of the $31.99 money order/cashier's check 
3. Original current India passport
4. UPS return shipping label

Above documents mailed to:
Visa Application Centre – New York
290 Madison Ave, 2nd floor
New York, NY 10017

Here is the entire timeline for my application process:

January 18th: Online application submitted in CIC, received an application # and an applicant #
In CIC: "Application Status" was "Open" and "Final Decision" was "Not Started".

January 20th: Letter asking for Passport submission in CIC
January 25th: Passport reached New York CSC

At this point, I received another tracking # from NY CSC and the below statuses started showing on their tracking website.
January 26th: Passport in Transit to the Visa Office
January 27th: Passport Received by the Visa Office - Under Consideration
January 28th: In CIC: "Application Status" Changed to "Closed" and "Final Decision" to "Approved".
January 29th: Application Processing Completed - In Transit to the VAC
February 1stApplication Processing Completed - In Transit to the Applicant from the VAC

After this my UPS tracking status was updated and I received my Passport in hand with the VISA stamp about 2 days after the last status.