San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

What They Won’t Tell You At the Canadian Embassy

Dear Nica Times:

Recently, I assisted my girlfriend in Nicaragua with her application for a Temporary Resident Visa (a visa to be a tourist) from the Canadian Embassy in Guatemala City so that she could spend the summer with me in Canada. I spend the winters in Nicaragua.

After submitting more information than I thought was necessary, the visa was refused because they thought she would not return to Nicaragua when the visa expired after six months.

Unbelievable. The information we provided showed that she is a professional with a psychology degree and a license to teach children. She is currently employed as a counselor for abused women and children.

Additionally, she has written permission from her boss to travel to Canada (unpaid leave). The information also stated that I am a retired Canadian military officer who was going to pay for all her travel and living expenses.

Essentially, the nameless, faceless person in the Canadian Embassy based the decision on three factors, and I quote: 1) your travel history. 2) length of proposed stay in Canada and/or the purpose of visit. 3) your personal assets and financial status.

Her travel history. She has had one vacation to Costa Rica and Panama, whereby, her passport showed that she followed the visa rules of those countries. How many more trips would be necessary to rectify this deficiency? They won’t tell you.

Length of stay.Would a short two-week or one-month visit be more acceptable? Why would a longer visit cause a person to not want to return home to their family and job? They won’t tell you.

Purpose of visit. She applied for a tourist visa and she was going to be living at my house.Was a detailed itinerary of things we were going to see required? They won’t tell you.

Personal assets. It is true that she does not have much; however, I would have transferred money to her account if that would have made a difference. How much? They won’t tell you.

Actually, giving a person 10 or 15 thousand dollars would provide them with the money to overstay their visa. Should I have bought her a motorcycle and some land in Nicaragua? They won’t tell you.

The thing that really bothers me is that they expect her to commit a criminal act by overstaying her visa and that, as her de facto sponsor, I would assist her with this criminal action. Insulting. There is no other way for me to view this.

We are both aware of the serious consequences that a violation of the visa rules would have on subsequent applications.

I am angry and frustrated with my government and the embassy. It appears to me that because she is a Nicaraguan who is not rich or well traveled, she is deemed to be a potential criminal who is not worthy of visiting Canada.

This is an honest, Christian woman of very high moral and social values. She does not smoke, drink, do drugs or even drink coffee. In fact, in her presence, I am not permitted to swear in English or Spanish. Damn. Canada would benefit from a few more visitors like her.

What now? Nothing. There is no appeal and the matter is closed. The embassy says to reapply only if her situation has changed substantially. So how could we satisfactorily improve her application so that she could become a tourist to Canada? They won’t tell you.

David Francis

Edmonton, Canada


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