Dear Ms Powell,
I saw one of your articles in an old newspaper and decided to write you about my situation. A few years ago, my son, who has been living in Canada for the past 10 years, invited me to visit to meet his girlfriend and to spend Christmas with them. He sent me the invitation letter and copies of his documents to show he is legit. However, when I applied for the visa, they turned me down, saying I don't have enough ties. I gave them my land title and bank account information, so why would they turn me down?
Now my son is getting married to the young lady and invited me to the wedding. I want to apply for the visa to go, but I don't want to waste my money and time and go through all that hassle if they are going to turn me down again. Can I appeal the case? I really want to go to the wedding. Can a lawyer guarantee that I will get a visa to go to the wedding in February?
Citizenship and Immigration Canada is known for its reasonable policy regarding issuance of temporary resident visas (TRV) to parents and grandparents who wish to visit, but do not intend to immigrate to Canada. This is part of their emphasis on family reunification, and so they have adopted a flexible approach to their decision-making policy, especially to parents. I'm not privy to the information provided in your original information, so I cannot state specifically why you failed to convince the visa officer to grant you the visa. I can advise you that the information you provide to CIC must convince the officer that you do not intend to stay in Canada and that you will in fact return to Jamaica at the end of the time granted.
There is no formal process to appeal the decision once a TRV application has been refused. There is the possibility of seeking a judicial review in the Federal Court, however, you would be too late to make such an application and the process is more time-consuming and costly. Your best recourse would be to reapply, especially if your situation has changed substantially.
Since there is actually a wedding coming up, that is a substantial change in circumstances, so you should apply for a 'super visa'. A super visa is usually issued to a parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. A super visa is slightly different from a regular temporary resident visa. This visa will be valid for a maximum of 10 years and you may visit with your son for up to two years without making an application for extension of time or renewing your status.
MINIMUM INCOME REQUIREMENT
Both you and your son will be required to satisfy some basic requirements. Your son will need to prove that he meets the minimum income requirement or low income cut-off (LICO) based on CIC established guidelines. So if he currently lives alone, he would need to provide proof of earnings of at least CDN$23,298 per annum. If he has a household of two, he will need to be earning at least $29,004. He will also need to submit a letter stating that he will be financially responsible for you.
You will need to have your fingerprints taken if you are under 80 years old and be able to pass the medical and security checks. Another requirement is that you will need to get valid Canadian medical insurance coverage for at least one year and provide proof of earnings, assets to establish solid financial ties in Jamaica.
I would recommend that you be more detailed in your application to establish your social, financial and family ties in Jamaica. So if you are the member of a committee, organisation or group, you should include a copy of your membership card and letter from the organisation president. If you have other children and grandchildren in Jamaica, you may even include copies of their birth certificate.
The super visa application requires a little bit more than your standard TRV application and, therefore, if you feel that you need a representative to guide you with the application process, then consult with an immigration lawyer to provide you with personalised assistance. Remember, nobody can guarantee you a visa except a visa officer. Immigration lawyers and consultants can only assist with the preparation of the documents and provide you with advice and tips on how to meet the requirements of the visa officer.
Unfortunately, we can't guarantee that you will get a visa. Since the wedding is in February, you should act now.
Best of luck to you and your family.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in Immigration, Real Estate, Commercial, Personal Injury, Family and Administration of Estates. She is on the roster of Mediators for Ottawa, Toronto and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Immigration. Twitter: @deidrespowell