Do I need assistance with filing my visa for Canada?


A number of people are able to master the art of completing the entire process of visa applications and preparation to travel by themselves while some others require travel agents, immigration experts, and consultancy services. A lot of information can be found online and you do not necessarily have to use an immigration professional to help you apply to Canada.  However, you may find that using a professional makes the process easier for you as a professional can impart her expertise with you and guide you through the entire process. There are a variety of considerations to take into account when deciding if and whom to use for assistance.

There are several reasons people travel: for business opportunities or a better life, for tourism, to study, for visiting family, friends, or significant others, or to explore new cultures and lifestyles. Some key notes to take on why some people are refused visas are failure to provide proper and accurate supporting documents, failure to show adequate financial resources to finance their travel and stay in Canada, failure to meet security standards such as in cases where the applicant has a criminal background, failure to meet health standards or perhaps the visa officer has reservations regarding the applicant’s honesty and intentions. For temporary stay categories, visa officers need to know that you will go to Canada and return as per the conditions of your stay and that you will not pose a risk to Canadian society. For permanent stays, visa officers need to know that you are indeed going to contribute to the Canadian economy and society and that you will not be an undue burden on the medical system or risk Canadian society due to criminality.

The complacency of some applicants is that they generalize the procedures in applying for a visa and traveling to one country as having the same requirements as another. The procedures and laws differ!  Each country’s processes include its own set of forms and documents and visa officers expect to see a different package of documents depending on which country you are applying to. In Canada, one of the most common types of visas is the Temporary Resident Visa, which covers short-term stays such as vacations or business trips. For longer-term visas like work permits, applicants must submit additional paperwork such as, but not limited to, proof of genuine employment/job offer (for many applicants), approval by the Government of Canada to work in Canada (for many applicants), and medical and criminal background checks. For students, you also need to show medical background checks and show that you are a genuine student who has sufficient funds to pay for your studies and living expenses in Canada. It is thus effective to do due diligence in your research before applying. Relying on advice from a variety of inexperienced sources may lead to refusal.

As a newcomer seeking to apply for a visa to a foreign country, you may wish to get the assistance of an external party to take you through the necessary steps to complete the process. The “right” immigration professional can help assess your eligibility and advise if you should be applying in the first place or not.  While many people who apply are qualified or eligible, many are not.  Those who do not qualify sadly lose significant resources such as time and money and pin their hopes on a successful outcome which sadly turns out not to be the case.  Having your eligibility assessed first can give you a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your application and can save you significant time and resources.  Beware, however, that the “wrong” immigration professional can also advise you to apply for the visa when you do not qualify so you need to make sure that you are dealing with someone who is competent, knowledgeable, and honest.

After eligibility comes the stage where you work towards applying for the visa and this is where the individual who is assisting you must guide you with gathering and preparing the required documentation. This is also a stage where you will get a good idea if the person you are working with is competent and knowledgeable or not.  Some may give you a basic list of documents to provide them and to submit the visa application, but to submit a strong application you must always go well above and beyond the basic checklist.  A professional will know how to help you demonstrate to the visa officer that you are eligible and fulfill the required criteria whereas an individual who is not competent will stick to the basic requirements or less.  A professional should aim to go above and beyond to ensure that she puts in a strong application on your behalf and takes her time to put in the work and effort required to make a good submission.

Some ways to differentiate between the various professionals out there are to:

  • Check accreditation with the relevant government bodies
  • Read reviews from previous clients on LinkedIn or google reviews
  • Rely on trustworthy recommendations from close family or friends
  • Verify that the company’s pricing structure is within industry standards
  • Verify the professional’s experience in the field and any qualifications or specializations they may have
  • Request an initial consultation to discuss your needs and expectations and scrutinize the professional
  • Assess transparency and consistency in expectations, processes, and pricing
  • Expect written agreements rather than verbal terms

While you may decide to go ahead and apply on your own, if you do decide to use external assistance, please be advised that they are unlicensed agents or consultants out there.  While some are honest and upfront, many are not, and moreover, Canadian law requires that you use only regulated professionals. There are two main types of regulated professionals who are allowed to assist you.  These include Regulated Canadian Immigrational Consultants (RCICs) who belong to the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants of Canada or immigration lawyers who belong to a bar association in Canada.

If you would like to seek assistance, please reach out to us at One Heart Immigration Services.  Why One Heart?  Because we are a team led by a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant right here in Ghana.  We aim to provide you with professional and honest services from start to finish.

You can check our website at for more information or contact us on +233 55 005 5888 / +233 54 012 7766 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm GMT. Kindly note that we are not a recruitment agency and are not authorized to aid clients to get job offers in Canada.  We can, however, help you apply for a Canadian work permit (after you have secured a job) and to apply for visitor visas, study permits and immigration/citizenship to Canada.

Niloufer “Niki” Ali
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, ID: R706415

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