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So my host wants to print out the invitation letter, sign it, scan it again and email it to me. My host will also send me a scan of their citizenship card and bank statements. The visa office does not require the letter to be notarized.

This is for a temporary visitor visa. I will be visiting my friends in Canada.

I will print out these papers and hand my application by hand.

Are these letters valid?

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    An invitation letter to what? What sort of host? I'm confused. – Azor Ahai Feb 10 '16 at 22:47
  • @Azor-Ahai Sorry I have added more information. – Aborted Feb 11 '16 at 7:57
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You only need to supply an invitation letter if the consulate has advised you that you need one. This typically is not the case for tourist visas. If they have not advised you to supply an invitation letter, then it is optional.

If the consulate instructs you that the invitation letter must be notarized, then your sponsor must print it out, have it notarized in Canada, and post it to you. If it does not need to be notarized, then a copy sent by email should be sufficient.

If you're not sure if you need an invitation letter, contact the consulate serving your area. They can tell you if you need an invitation letter for the visa type you are applying for, and whether it must be notarized.

Note that, according to the instructions, the sponsor's proof of income is only necessary for the parent and grandparent super visa. If this is not the visa you are applying for, then your sponsor does not need to supply bank statements.

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    While technically an invitation letter is optional, in many realistic cases when someone is going to visit a specific host in Canada it is a very bad idea to omit it - see my answer. – Eugene O Feb 11 '16 at 2:05
  • This answered it for me: If the consulate instructs you that the invitation letter must be notarized, then your sponsor must print it out, have it notarized in Canada, and post it to you. If it does not need to be notarized, then a copy sent by email should be sufficient. – Aborted Feb 11 '16 at 12:15
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I am assuming you are applying for a TRV ("tourist visa"/"visitor visa")?

For a TRV, a scan of a signed invitation letter should be ok for an electronic visa application. For a paper application, you will probably need a notarized physical version, so you should do an electronic application if you can. At least these were the rules when I last looked at them (a bit more than a year ago), they may have changed. Such rules also tend to vary by visa office (my experience is with several successful visits with visas issued by the Moscow one).

By the way, the other answer says that the invitation letter is "optional". I think this is a bit misleading. On the application form, you have to truthfully state your reason for visiting Canada, and the people you intend to meet in Canada. If your primary reason for visiting is to see friends or family, and you don't have an invitation letter, your application will look very strange, and anything that looks strange and unusual will have a higher chance of rejection. Furthermore, you have to specify how you will afford to live in Canada during your visit, and if you intend to rely on your host (even if it's just for providing you with a place to live), you really do need the invitation letter to prove that the host agrees to accommodate you. Also, while you technically don't need proof of income of the host, it does help to provide it, especially if the visit is long, if you plan on rely on your host, and/or if the relationship is close (e.g. inviting a relative, girlfriend/boyfriend, etc). Finally, the invitation letter is an excellent place to make your case if you word it right; As I understand it, immigration officers read it carefully and it's one of the few places in the application where you have an opportunity to provide free-form information. So unless you're going to visit a complete stranger (e.g. CouchSurfing or AirBnB host), I would strongly suggest including an invitation letter.

  • I have asked the office where my application will be submitted if the letter must be notarized and they said it's not necessary. But due to lack of time to receive the letter via mail, I need it emailed to me by my host to proceed faster with the application. – Aborted Feb 11 '16 at 7:54

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