Jamaica Gleaner / Dear Miss Powell,
I am a single woman looking to apply for a visa to study in Canada. Since I’m single, what information can I present about ‘family ties’ to the officer?
Many individuals are faced with this issue when they apply for a temporary resident visa such as a student, work, or visitor’s visa. The standard question that is asked of an applicant is: ‘Why would you return home after your trip?’ Many individuals are offended by the question, but it is a legitimate one as the visa officer needs proof that you will not be a flight risk, will not break the immigration laws of Canada, and that you honour the terms of your temporary resident visa.
That means that you will need to present substantiated facts that at the end of your studies, you will not remain in Canada illegally but that you will return to your home country when required to do so.
The visa officer is looking for proof that you have established social and economic ties, connections, or bonds to your home country that will motivate you to return at the end of the time granted. So they will need details concerning your home, family, employment, assets, and financial situation. You could consider including a sworn statement of why you are likely to return that details your obligations to your family or business.
There are several ways to establish economic ties to your home country. You should consider presenting evidence of a scholarship from an organisation or your existing employer that demonstrates that you are under a bond to return to your home country to serve at the end of your studies. Other proof could be a copy of any monetary bonds that you may have to the government, scholarship funders, a signed contract or letter stating your obligation to return and the penalties if you did not.
You should include documents that show that you have had a stable, permanent job, preferably with the same employer for a minimum of one year; pay stubs and/or a letter from your employer that contains information about the period of time that you have been employed and the vacation time that you are entitled to or that they are granting you a leave of absence. If you are self-employed, you should show copies of your business registration or incorporation, proof of contracts or projects, tax returns, details of your business structure, and a clear indication of who will be responsible for your business in your absence.
You should present the latest original bank statement or letter from bankers on their letterhead that shows that you have sufficient funds to pay for your tuition fee, living expenses, and return ticket if it is a one-year programmes. You should present copies of bank statements showing that you maintain accounts in your home country.
PROOF OF ASSETS
Present proof of assets such as registered land title, major equipment, and vehicles. If you have unregistered land, then you will need to show receipt for payment of property taxes in your name or a statutory declaration with a copy of the survey. You should also consider making an application to bring the land under the Registration of Title’s Act to make your life simple in the future.
If you are not financially responsible for your trip, then you will need to present a sworn affidavit from your parents or the person undertaking this responsibility. The affidavit should list the dependant family members, especially if they live in your home country. You parents will need to present evidence that they have a stable family life and job, and consider including financial details, as mentioned above, to show that they are all firmly settled there.
The key is to show that your studies will not be a burden on you or your family and that you or your family will not be economically burdened as a result of undertaking this study.
Most people emphasise the economic ties and ignore the social ties or emotional bond to their home country and people. While it is good to show that you have relatives in Canada who may be able to assist you with some living arrangements, it is more important to emphasise that you have a community of people to whom you are responsible and who rely on your return to Jamaica once your studies have been completed.
If you are married or in a common-law relationship, I would suggest that you present evidence that you would be leaving a spouse and children behind. Documentation includes marriage and birth certificates or a statutory declaration of common-law union. A very strong family tie is proof of a minor child or children. You are not required to leave your family behind, but if you do plan to leave them, be sure to include evidence of this and provide an explanation of who will be responsible for their care and protection in your absence. You could include an affidavit from the person.
Another important factor is showing that you have done your research about economic prospects when you return to your home country. This question is usually asked, so you will need to do your research and even present documentation of your career potential in your home country. Consider including statistics from a reputable source, such as your government, showing that people with your skills are in high demand. If you own your own business, show how your new skills would improve your organisation.
This list is not exhaustive as there may be other compelling reasons to support you return to your home country. The key is to outline them and show that you have a stronger connection to your home country than to Canada. Do not simply complete the forms and provide proof that you can afford the studies. You will need to provide tangible evidence to convince the visa officer that you have intentions to return to your home country and outline the circumstances that would require you, or inspire you, to return at the end of your studies. Another important factor is striking a delicate balance between showing enough proof and not showing too much. If you have issues or concerns, I suggest that you consult with an authorised immigration lawyer.
– Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada Law Society with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, commercial, real estate, personal injury, family and administration of estates. Email: [email protected] . Subject line: Immigration. Call 613-695-8777 or follow her on facebook.com/jamaicanlawyer.