How to write SOP for Canada Tourist Visa
So, you are planning to travel to Canada but are not sure if you will get a Canada visitor visa or not. You have heard from your family or friends about someone who had made all the arrangements only to have his (her) visa application rejected and you don’t want that to happen with you.
Canada visitor visa application has a purpose of travel letter that the applicant needs to write. This letter also referred to as Statement of Purpose (SOP) for tourist visa by some, is a critical document that can make or break one’s chances of travelling to Canada if not written without giving much attention.
While examining a visa application, there are certain red flags that an officer looks for and based on their presence or absence, decides whether to grant the visa or not. So, before we decode those red flags, it is important to first understand the contents of a purpose of travel letter.
A Statement of purpose (SOP) for visitor visa should have the following:
- Reason for travel – Applicant should clearly write the reason of his (her) travel – if the travel is for work or leisure.
- Reason for choosing Canada (not any other country) – It should also be stated as to why the applicant chose to travel to Canada and not to any other country. This reason should align with his (her) reason for travel.
- Detailed travel plan – The detailed plan should be shared so that it gives a visa officer clear idea about the whole trip, its duration, places one would visit and stay.
- Details of travel sponsorship (self-financed or sponsored by someone else) – Who is taking care of the entire expenditure of this travel? This should be mentioned in detail along with all the supporting documents.
- Sources of income if the travel is self-financed – One needs to enlist his (her) income sources if the travel is self-financed. This gives confidence to the visa officer that the traveler is financially capable to finance the entire travel.
- If travel is sponsored, then the reason of sponsorship and relationship with the sponsored – In case the travel is sponsored by someone else, then the reason for this sponsorship should be mentioned in detail. Also, the relationship with the sponsored should be specified in the letter.
- Applicant’s aim to return to his home country – This is one of the most critical aspects of the whole SOP. A visa officer is mainly interested in understanding the intent of an applicant to return to his home country after the travel ends.
- Details of documents submitted & reason for non-submission of documents (if any) – All the documents that are asked for the processing of the visa should be attached and enlisted in this SOP. Also, in case of non-submission of any of the required documents, clear reason must be stated and alternatives must be attached.
In order to reduce illegal immigration to Canada, visa officers critically examine every visa application to find clues if a particular traveler would go back after the visa expires or would continue to stay illegally. These are referred to as red flags. Let us dig deeper into the red flags that a visa officer looks for:
- A very short letter of purpose – a short to very short letter of purpose may imply anything like applicant was in a hurry, was not keen on sharing much information, had something to hide, did not think through or plan much before writing it etc. It clearly raises suspicion in the mind of a visa officer.
- Travel history – One of the areas that the visa officer observes keenly is the travel history of the applicant. Is he (she) a frequent traveler, a first time traveler, has travelled to Canada in the past – are some of the questions that give a hint of how probable it is that the applicant would return to his home land after this travel.
- Financial health –It is critical to understand if the applicant is financially stable enough to take care of all his (her) expenditures during the travel. To ascertain this, a visa officer looks at the employment status of the applicant, bank balance and sponsorship details, if any. The last thing that a country would want is travelers stuck in it due to lack of funds!
- Family members – Is the applicant single or married? Does he (she) have partner and (or) kids, parents in his home country? – These are some of the personal aspects that a visa officer looks into.
- Assets – This is another way of understanding about the traveler’s aim to go back to his (her) home country after the travel ends. The more assets an applicant has in his home country, higher is his (her) chances of going back.
- Previous record of visa rejection – Visa officer looks for instances of previous visa rejections in an application. That gives a clue about whether an applicant was denied entry to any other country earlier.
- Criminal record – This is self-explanatory. No country would want people with criminal records. Hence, it becomes important to check this record for every application.
Ways to write a more convincing SOP for visitor visa
If there is one thing that will surely turn off a visa officer is a very casually written SOP. One need not be super creative or an English wizard. A SOP becomes convincing when all the relevant points related to the travel are mentioned precisely and a strong willingness to return to home country is exhibited throughout. You may do this by highlighting some of the following aspects:
- Why are you travelling to Canada? Is it for professional or personal reasons? If for personal reasons, what all do you intend to do and the places that you wish to visit. Please note that while writing the reason for your travel; it is better not to talk about anything that would raise a suspicion about your plans to return to your country.
- How good is your financial status? Irrespective of whether a trip is self-financed or sponsored, a visa officer would be keen on knowing the applicant’s financial status through his (her) job, bank balance, employment status (permanent or contractual, employee or owner).
- Highlight few personal details like family (spouse and/or kids) residing in home country, assets like land/home purchased in home country or permanent residency in home country, previous travel records to Canada or other countries. This will give confidence to the visa officer that an applicant is travelling to Canada for a specific purpose (which is stated) and will go back to his (her) home country after the trip.
- Details about an applicant’s health should also be clearly mentioned in the letter. Especially with Covid still being a major concern for many economies all over the world, this has become a critical factor in deciding a visitor visa. Adhering to the new Covid and other health related issues and declaring them clearly in an SOP for travel visa goes a long way in improving one’s chances of a visa. After all, one of the major concerns of a visa officer is that a person travelling to Canada should not pose a health risk to the Canadians.
Writing a letter of purpose for travel visa requires clarity of thought, preparation and some edits to produce a final version that wins the deal for us. It may be done by the applicant or by a professional SOP writing service agency. Are you ready to write your letter of purpose?