What Is a Canadian Invitation Letter?

In some cases, a letter of invitation is required as part of the visa application for Canada. This is a letter written by somebody who already lives in Canada, who essentially vouches for the would-be visitor.

A Canadian invitation letter strengthens a visa application, whether the traveler is applying for a business visa or a Canadian tourist visa at embassies or consulates (which is not a Canadian eTA). Invitation letters do not, however, guarantee that the visa will be approved.

Who needs a Canadian visa letter of invitation? How can you get one and what must it include? This quick guide provides all the answers.

Do You Need an Invitation Letter to Visit Canada?

The majority of visitors to Canada will not need an invitation letter to travel to the country. Individuals who are eligible for the Canadian eTA (electronic travel authorization) do not require an invitation letter as part of their application.

Citizens of other countries (apart from the USA) traveling to Canada must apply for a paper visa at Canadian Embassies or Consulates. Most applications will not require an invitation letter for a Canadian visa.

However, in some cases, applicants are asked to provide one. Submitting an invitation letter does not guarantee that the visa will be issued, but it strengthens the application with the backing of a Canadian citizen or resident.

Why Do I Need an Invitation Letter to Apply for a Canadian Visa?

Although it is not necessarily required in most cases, applicants who go to a Canadian embassy with an invitation letter are more likely to have their visa approved.

If a Canadian citizen or permanent resident invites the applicant to visit, it helps in the following ways:

  • It validates the reason for the visa application.
  • It assures the Canadian immigration authorities that the applicant has a place to stay during their visit.
  • It shows the applicant has financial and social support while in Canada.

How Can I Get an Invitation Letter from Canada?

To get a Canadian invitation letter for a visa application, the applicant must know someone living in Canada whom they are planning to visit.

If during the application process for a Canadian tourist visa a letter of invitation is required, the applicant can ask the person they are visiting to write them one. The person writing an invitation letter must be one of the following:

  • A Canadian citizen
  • A permanent resident of Canada

Invitation letters for business visa applications must come from the Canadian host company. A representative of the company should write the letter.

Business visitors that would need an invitation letter from a Canadian company include:

  • Investors
  • Partners
  • Employees
  • Conference visitors
  • Existing or potential buyers
  • People coming from overseas for training at the company’s Canadian premises.

How Do You Write a Canadian Letter of Invitation?

If you are asked to write a Canadian invitation letter for friends or family members, it is important to include the following details about the person you are inviting to Canada:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Contact telephone number
  • Relationship to the invitee
  • Purpose of the visit to Canada
  • Length of stay in Canada
  • When the invitee plans to leave Canada
  • Where the invitee will stay while in Canada
  • How the invitee plans to pay for things while in Canada

The Canadian citizen or permanent resident writing the invitation letter must also include the following information about themselves:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Telephone number in Canada
  • If they are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident
  • Documentation of their status in Canada (photocopies). This could be:
    • Birth certificate
    • Citizenship card (for example for naturalized citizens)
    • PR card or IMM 1000 proof of landing (for permanent residents)
  • Job title
  • Details of your family members (mandatory for the parent and grandparent super visa)
  • Total number of household members (mandatory for the parent and grandparent super visa)

Although the invitation letter is written by the Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is inviting the visitor, it may have to be notarized by a Notary Public, depending on the visa office.

The letter must be sent by post to the individual you are inviting, who must provide the original letter to a Canadian embassy or consulate along with their visa application.

How do you write a business invitation letter for a Canadian visa?

Company representatives writing an invitation letter for a business visitor must include the following information about the visitor:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth (if known)
  • The visitor’s company and position
  • Address
  • Contact numbers (work and home, if possible)
  • The relationship between the representative’s company and the visitor and business history
  • If the representative knows the visitor personally
  • Purpose of visit
  • Length of visit
  • Accommodation and living expenses covered by the Canadian-based company
  • The date the visitor intends to leave Canada

The company representative must also include the following information about themselves:

  • Full name
  • Job title
  • Canadian address
  • Canadian phone number
  • Work email address

Finally, they must include the following information about the company that is inviting the visitor:

  • Company name
  • Address of company HQ
  • Address of company facilities that the invitee will be visiting
  • Company website, if applicable
  • Date the company was registered or incorporated
  • A short description of the company, including type of business

Am I Responsible for the Person to Whom I Provide a Canadian Invitation Letter?

Writing a letter of invitation for a friend or family member does not make the writer legally responsible for the person they invite. Once they arrive on Canadian soil, visitors are held accountable for their own actions in the eyes of the law.

A letter of invitation simply helps to reassure immigration authorities that the visitor has a legitimate reason to visit Canada and has both a place to stay and financial security.

Find out more about which nationalities are eligible and other requirements for the Canada eTA.