Temporary visa to Canada: Motivation to return

We decided to dedicate this article to a very tricky issue every applicant faces when applying for a TRV – the motivation to leave Canada, which is one of the three cornerstones of every successful TRV application.


As we mentioned in the previous article, there are three key factors considered by immigration officers when processing TRV applications.

Firstly, the reason for a visit: every applicant must clearly demonstrate why he or she is applying for a temporary visa to Canada.

Secondly, the financial aspect: no application will be approved if an applicant fails to prove that he or she has sufficient funds to cover all expenses incurred with the trip, including flights to and from Canada.

Third, the most important and tricky one, is the motivation to return. Since the very purpose of a TRV is to allow a person to visit Canada temporarily, it implies that an applicant must leave Canada soon after arrival.


Why is it so important?

So why we say that motivation to return from Canada is so important when applying for a temporary visa?

The answer is quite simple: temporary visa, as the name implies, allows only temporary visits to Canada. That is a TRV holder can come to Canada but must leave the country by the deadline set by the border officer upon arrival. Every day spent in Canada beyond that deadline (called the authorized period of stay) is spent illegally, without the right to be in Canada.

Therefore it is of utmost importance to issue temporary visas only to those applicants who can convince an immigration officer that he or she will leave Canada on time and will not overstay illegally under any circumstances.

If an applicant cannot satisfy an officer that he or she will leave Canada, the visa will not be issued.

An immigration officer cannot know for sure the intention of an applicant when he or she is asking to issue a temporary visa to Canada. An applicant can either be a genuine visitor who will come to Canada and then leave on time, or he can have the intent to remain in Canada for good on his hidden agenda, in which case his application for a visa must not be approved of course.

Immigration officer’s duty when processing a TRV application is to weigh all information in front of him or her, and to come to a conclusion regarding the applicant’s true intents. Applicant’s file is assessed using a principle called the balance of probabilities, which simply means that an officer makes the decision based on the probability of the fact that the applicant will leave Canada versus the probability of the fact that he/she will not. Remember, just the probability – because there cannot be a hundred percent certainty in such a case.

As an applicant you are absolutely unable to prove that you will leave Canada in due time – no document, be it a reference, a notarized affidavit or any other, cannot serve as a guarantee that an applicant will conclude his visit to Canada on time.

Instead, it is your duty, as stipulated by the Canadian immigration legislation, to convince an immigration officer, that you have genuine intention to visit Canada with temporary visit, and no reason to overstay in the country.

An officer, in turn, is free to make own decision based on everything he or she sees in front of him, including information in the application forms, supporting documents and even information obtained from open sources (yes, they can simply “google” everything you tell about yourself!).

If an officer decides, that on a balance of probabilities you are likely to stay in Canada beyond the authorized period, your TRV application will not be approved.


Major factors considered by officers

Here are the major factors considered by an officer: applicant’s ties to Canada and applicant’s ties to his or her home country. Every TRV applicant in this model is a person choosing between staying in home country or in Canada, and an officer’s duty is to estimate as accurately as possible which country an applicant will prefer.

In this model the term “ties to country” is used. If ties to home country are much stronger than ties to Canada, then the application will likely be approved. Otherwise it will be rejected, because Canada does not welcome people with potential to stay illegally.

Now we came to the trickiest part of it all: what are those ties to home country, and how they are to be shown?

Basically, everything that will make an applicant to return home after visiting Canada is considered ties to home country. Here are some examples:


  • The relatives. If an applicant leaves relatives behind, family ties obviously become ties to home country. The closer the relatives, the stronger the ties. Conclusion: it is not always reasonable to apply for temporary visas for the entire family at once.


  • Elderly relatives are to be specially mentioned: if, for example, an applicant has elderly parents depending on him or her financially or otherwise, it is considered a strong tie to home country, just because they really need support in their age, and this humane necessity is out of doubt.


  • The employment. Sure enough, if an applicant is employed, he or she is expected to return to job duties sooner or later. Therefore, profitably employed candidate has more chances to have the application approved than an applicant with low-income employment, let alone an unemployed one. Similarly, when an applicant demonstrates that he/she has been employed for a long time, it speaks in favor of the intention to return to his/her country and continue the employment.


  • Likewise, own company (or proprietorship) tells an officer that the applicant will likely return to continue the business rather than stay in Canada and abandon it. Again, active, long-standing and profitable business means much more in this context than a newly established one, or a business that generates low income, or the one that requires no or little management efforts on place from its owner.


  • Real property is also considered a factor contributing to the applicant’s decision to come home. Usually, real property means just that – an applicant’s home, or place of residence, where he or she is living permanently with close family. Not all real properties are equal in this context – owning some land, or a garage, or a warehouse may not be deemed strong enough tie to a home country.


  • A commitment as ongoing studies is also a very good factor to mention. Indeed, if an applicant is a third year student in good standing looking forward to graduate from the university next year, it is natural to assume that the studies will be resumed and completed after an applicant returns from Canada, especially if the visit is scheduled during vacation.


  • Another example of strong tie to home country is – guess what? – Pension. Not all applicants are young and proactive; some are nearing their pension age. If this is the case, it is a good idea to mention that in the application cover letter, because if an applicant will become eligible to receive pension payments soon, he or she will likely stick to this opportunity rather than abandoning employment and making future pension void.


Our story will not be complete without mentioning ties to Canada – they are also assessed by an officer against ties to a home country.

First and the strongest tie to Canada is Canada itself. Being a well-developed western country – safe, civilized, friendly, free and offering numerous opportunities – Canada is the number one attraction for everyone applying for a TRV. Even if you don’t have anything else connecting you with Canada – no relatives here, no job offer or anything else – you already have very strong potential ties to Canada. “Potential” means that you cannot benefit from them yet, but what if a visa is issued? Will you still return home after the visit?

Other ties to Canada usually include relatives and potential employment. Many applicants apply for TRVs to visit their relatives in Canada – brothers, parents, children, cousins. On the one hand, this is the genuine reason for a visit to Canada. But on the other welcoming home and help of relatives can contribute to applicant’s decision to stay in the country.


What should I do to convince an officer?

At this point you should already have a question in your mind: how do I support all this with documents? This is also very important because an officer won’t talk to you, and you won’t have the opportunity to provide verbal explanation of your situation and intents. Everything you want to say to an officer you must say in your paperwork. Ties to home country exist in the eyes of an officer only if they are documented or otherwise 100% obvious.

If you leave behind your relatives, make sure to enclose appropriate documentary proof with your TRV application – usually the birth certificates.

Proof of employment is obvious – a reference letter (that includes all important information), pay stubs, a work contract – these documents are considered sufficient proof of employment (if they are genuine of course).

If you wish to delivery more information to an officer, include it in the cover letter – it is a good idea to draft one and to write to the officer everything that speaks in your favor as if you were talking to him or her.

And remember – even though there is an official checklist of documents to be included with a TRV application, this checklist only guarantees that the application is complete and will be accepted. If you want it not only to be processed, but also to be approved, in most cases you will have to enclose more documents than required by the checklist. In other words, the checklist describes the absolute minimum set of papers, but it does not limit you in enclosing much more documents to convince the officer that you are eligible to receive a visa.


If you would like to apply for a temporary visa to Canada, licensed immigration practitioners of LP group will gladly help you.

Please feel free contacting our professional team and we will assist you in full.

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