If a friend wants to visit Canada from Russia, would it increase the likelihood that my friend’s visitor visa application (by invitation) would be approved, if my friend first got a Schengen visa?

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    I don't know that just getting a Schengen visa would be all that much help. Getting and using (complying with all of the rules and returning home) would probably have a greater positive impact. – brhans Aug 7 '18 at 14:19
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    Being granted a visa to (and particularly traveling to and returning timely from) western affluent countries is a positive event on ones immigration history. Of course getting denied is also a possibility, and that is a negative. – user 56513 Aug 7 '18 at 14:20
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    If your friend has a job in Russia, probably he should not have problem. [Russia is much more expensive then Canada]. If she is a girl, check out Russia embassy website (of your country) and read about the girlfriend scam. – Giacomo Catenazzi Aug 7 '18 at 14:33
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    @GiacomoCatenazzi "much more expensive"? How so? Even Moscow looks cheap (-30 to 40%) compared to Toronto and most of Russia is much poorer. Of course local purchasing power is similarly lower. It's definitely not a third world country, if that's your point. – Spehro Pefhany Aug 7 '18 at 19:57
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    Is getting a Schengen visa so much easier than getting a Canadian visa? I wouldn't think so. If your friend can get a Schengen visa without first having traveled to Canada, your friend can probably also get a Canadian visa without first having traveled to the Schengen area. – phoog Sep 10 '18 at 1:05

Travel history is what is considered in some visa applications, not merely issuance of a visa. If your Russian friend has never visited another country, with a visa or visa-free entry, then obtaining a Schengen visa may have little value.

An invitation to house and feed your friend could help; financial sponsorship, however, may not be favorable. The visa decision process takes into account many factors, and no one can predict the outcome.

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