Can You Visit Canada Without an Invitation Letter?

A temporary resident visa (also known as the visitor visa) is one of the crucial documents you need to visit Canada. To get your visitor visa approved, you will be required to submit several supporting documents. Top among these documents is the invitation letter which is written by the person inviting you to the country. 

So, can you visit Canada without an invitation letter? Yes, you can. However, while an invitation letter is not a mandatory document in visa application, you may be required to submit one in some cases. Therefore, to improve your chances of getting your visa approved, it is advisable to have one ready to avoid surprises and delays during the application process.

An invitation letter allows the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to understand the reason for your visit to make an informed decision about approving your visa. If you do not know how to write one, this article is for you. Keep reading to learn the steps you need to follow and how to improve your chances of getting your visa approved. 

What is an Invitation Letter, and Do You Need it to Visit Canada?

An invitation letter is a document that is written by the person who is inviting you to visit them in Canada. In the letter, the host confirms that they will accommodate you throughout the entire period you will be in the country. 

However, for this letter to be considered valid, the host must meet the following requirements:

  • The host must be a legal and permanent resident of Canada.
  • You must have a relationship with the host: It can be your friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, or relative.
  • The host must have enough room for you.
  • They must have a registered house or apartment to host you during your stay in Canada.

The invitation letter can be addressed to the applicant or consular’s office.  It is then submitted by the applicant when applying for their visitor’s visa. 

In some cases, you can apply for a visitor’s visa without being required to submit an invitation letter. However, you cannot tell for sure if the immigration offices will require you to provide one during the application process. For this reason, it is advisable to have your host craft one just in case it is required. This way, you will not waste any time trying to get one when you are supposed to be finalizing the visitor visa application process. (Source:

Providing an invitation letter is not a guarantee that your visitor’s visa application will be approved. The officer reviewing your application will consider multiple factors to decide whether or not you meet Canada’s Immigration Law requirements. 

 Some of the requirements you will have to meet include: 

  • Provide a medical examination that shows you are in good health.
  • Provide a valid travel document, i.e., a passport.
  • Convince the immigration officer that you will not overstay your visit in the country.
  • Show that you have strong ties to your home country.
  • Have enough money for your stay in Canada.
  • Have no criminal activities or convictions related to immigration.
  • Not be involved in any organized crime.
  • Not be involved in any human rights violation activities.

(Source: Bellissimo Law Group and  Government of Canada)

What Should You Include in an Invitation Letter?

Since an invitation letter is a legal document, it is crucial to follow the right format and ensure you have included all the necessary details. Below are some of the must-have details in a Canada invitation letter.

Visa Applicant Details

When you are planning to write an invitation letter, you may wonder whether writing the document implies you are legally responsible or the applicant – it does not. Nonetheless, how you write the letter may affect the outcome of your friend’s visa application. Therefore, it is vital to ensure you get all the details right, provide all the required details, and keep the promises you make in the letter.

In your invitation letter, you must include details about the applicant. Some of the visa applicant details you will be required to include are:

  • Full names
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • How you are related to the applicant
  • Why you are inviting them to Canada
  • How long they will be staying
  • Where the person will stay during their time in Canada
  • How they will afford to pay for things they need
  • The applicant’s expected day of departure

Host’s Information

It is not enough to provide details about the applicant and why they are visiting you. The immigration offices will also need information about you as the host to decide whether the arrangement is per the Canadian Immigration Laws.

Some of the details you will have to include about yourself are:

  • Full names
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Your Canadian address
  • Job title
  • Whether you are a permanent resident or Canadian citizen
  • Proof of your status in Canada: It can be either a birth certificate, citizenship card (for neutralized citizens) or a PR card if you are a permanent resident
  • Details of your spouse and dependents (a mandatory requirement for someone applying for the parent and grandparent super visa)
  • The number of people living in your household, including those you have sponsored (if the sponsorship is still valid). This is also a requirement for individuals applying for the parent and grandparent super visa.

If you are applying for the parent or grandparent super visa, you’ll also be required to provide a signed promise of providing financial support to your parents or grandparents during their stay in Canada. The immigration offices will require you to prove that your income is either above or meets the low-income cut off for the total number of people living in your household, including your parents or grandparents. (Source: Government of Canada)

Other Documents You Will Need

Although an invitation letter is not a mandatory document, it helps to include as many supporting documents as possible that may help your friend’s visa to be approved. Since you will be required to prove your commitment to hosting the person when they get to Canada, some of the supporting documents you should attach to your invitation letter include:

  • Proof of leave from work: If you have decided to take some time off work to be with your guest during their stay in the country, it is a good idea to include a document that proves it. Such a document will show the immigration department that you are taking your hosting duties seriously. 
  • Proof of financial capability: The immigration department needs a guarantee that your guest will be able to afford necessities during their stay in the country. Attaching a document that shows you are in a financial position to support them will be an excellent addition to your supporting documents.
  • Proof of home or rental apartment ownership: This document provides evidence that your guest will have somewhere to stay while visiting Canada.
  • Itinerary of activities planned: Again, this shows the immigration department that you are committed to your hosting duties.
  • Identification documents: Do not forget to attach a copy of your birth certificate or passport.

How to Write An Invitation Letter

An invitation letter must follow a specific format, and you should always maintain a professional tone when writing one. Below are some of the must-have sections in your invitation letter.


Remember that this is a professional letter. Therefore, you should keep the introduction brief and straight to the point. Here is an example:

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to certify that [Visitor’s Name] will be visiting me in Vancouver, Canada, from [Dates of Arrival and Departure]. [Visitor’s Name] and I are cousins. He/She will be staying with me at my apartment during her visit.

Residence Details

Do not forget to indicate where you stay after the introduction. Consider the example below.

I am a Canadian citizen by birth. I live at [Resident’s Address], and my phone number is +123 -456- 789. Attached, please find a copy of my birth certificate. I currently reside with my spouse and two children and have sponsored my brother to stay in Canada. Please let me know if you need further details about [Visitor’s Name] visit to Canada.


[Resident’s Name]

Guest’s Details

Once you have written your introduction and included information about your residence, the final thing you need to include in the invitation letter is information about your guest (refer to the above Visa Applicant Details). You can include it in a bullet point list.

Sending the Invitation Letter – Do You Need to Notarize it?

Unfortunately, you cannot be certain if the immigration department will require a notarized invitation letter. Therefore, it is best to prepare beforehand in case they do. If the IRCC requires you to submit your biometrics as part of your visa application, it is advisable to ask the person inviting you to notarize the letter before sending it to you. (Source: Immigroup)

If you are not sure whether you will need to provide biometrics, you can get this information on Canada’s official website. To do this, you will need to select your country and indicate your age to know if you will be required to submit biometrics. (Source: Akrami&Associates).

Once everything is in order, your host can send the letter to you in the following way:

  • Via email: When the letter is ready, the person inviting you can scan and send a copy of it to you via email. This is a faster method because you can get the letter as soon as they are done, which eases your application process.

Improve Your Chances of Getting Canada Visitor Visa Approved: Our Top Tips

While the letter of invitation improves your visa application approval chances, it does not guarantee that your visa will be approved. However, there are several things you can do to better your chances. 

Write a Cover Letter

You should not rely on the invitation alone when applying for a Canadian visitor visa. To better your chances of getting approved, include a cover letter in your application as well. The cover letter should provide the officer as much information about you, where you reside, your reasons for visiting Canada, and your intentions to leave when your stay period is up.

You should also include:

  • Job details: The officer in charge of your visa will want to know if you will be able to cater to your financial needs in Canada during your stay. This information is especially crucial if you do not have an invitation letter to support your visit.
  • Sponsorship details: If you are visiting Canada on a sponsorship agreement, this is worth mentioning in your cover letter. It will support our financial and residency claims and may improve your application.
  • Explain why you chose Canada: If you don’t have an invitation letter and you’re visiting Canada for other purposes other than to see family or friends, you need to indicate your reasons for visiting the country and why you chose the country.
  • Supporting documents: You should also indicate the other documents you will include in your application in the cover letter. Also, mention if you will leave out certain documents and explain why.
  • Intentions to return home: You need to convince the immigration officer that you will go back to your home country once your stay period has elapsed. 

Show You Have Strong Commitments in Your Country

A visitor visa is a temporary visa where the applicant is expected to go back home after the visiting period is over without fail. Therefore, you may benefit from proving to the immigration officer that you have something to go back to, and you are not fleeing to Canada. (Source: Visa Place)

You can do this by:

  • Detailing commitments such as school, work, and daily activities you must go back to
  • Providing information about your family, such as kids and a spouse
  • Listing assets you own in your home country

Show You Have Sufficient Funds to Cater to Your Needs on the Trip

Most visa applications are declined if the applicant does not show proof of significant financial capability on their trip. If it seems like you are going to struggle to survive in Canada during your trip, chances are your visa will not get approved. Therefore, it is crucial to show you will have enough financial support during your trip.

Here is where the letter of invitation and sponsorship comes in. If you are visiting someone, you need to have them indicate that they will offer financial support when you’re visiting them in their invitation letter. If you have a sponsor, it may also help to get a written document from them showing financial support.

Providing a list of assets you own and proof of monthly income will also go a long way in helping you prove you’ll be able to manage your expenses during the trip.

Reasons for Visitor Visa Decline

There is a plethora of reasons why the immigration department in Canada would decline your visa application. Some of them include: 

Insufficient Information to Support Your Return Home

To qualify for a visitor visa, you need to provide the immigration officer enough information showing your connection to home and that you will not overstay your visit to the country. If the information you provide is not satisfactory, chances are your visa application will be declined.

An Invitation Letter That is Not Detailed Enough

An invitation letter that is too brief may also cause you to be denied a visitor visa. Remember, the immigration officers need proof that you will have lodging and food during your stay in the country. Therefore, your host needs to put this in writing and indicate that they will offer a place to stay and support you financially.

More than that, your host needs to provide a valid address and contact information in case the immigration department wants to verify the information they have provided. Therefore, ensure the letter is as detailed as possible.

Other possible reasons for visitor visa rejection include:

  • Not providing all required documents
  • Not attaching affidavits to support the application 

(Source: Ackah Business Immigration Law)

Wrapping Up

If you are planning to visit Canada or want to invite someone, an invitation letter is one of the documents you may need to get a visitor visa. This document is written by the person inviting you to the country and must contain detailed information about the visitor, the host, and the financial arrangements during the entire stay. 

Find out from the immigration office if you need one before you begin the application process to avoid any delays or surprises. Also, do not forget to find out if the letter needs to be notarized beforehand.

However, do not just focus on the invitation letter. Take the time to craft a convincing cover letter and ensure you have all the supporting documents required to improve your chances of getting approved.


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