I leave for LA on Monday but rather than being excited to see my family and for our West Coast road trip, I am extremely anxious about the possibility of not being able to fly at all. As of this morning, I still don’t have my passport and visa back from the Canadian Embassy.
I know. Probably not the best time to crack jokes about Canada, eh?
Ok. It’s my fault. I was careless about my application and failed to fill out one form. The embassy returned my documents two weeks later, setting me back, big time. I thought I was fine since I was able to send the documents back on the same day, but 8 working days later, still now word. Gulp. In my panicked state, I called the hotline to inquire about my application’s status and was enlightened by the embassy representative. Thanks to that call, I am now extremely worried about the fact that I messed up and have no one to blame but myself. So, in an attempt to make myself feel better and preoccupied, here are some tips when applying for a Canadian tourist visa in the Philippines.
1. Send your application at least a month before planned departure. According to their site, the embassy needs 10-15 working days to process an application. But try not to cut it too close, like I did, in case anything goes wrong, which it did.
2. Make sure that all your documents are complete. Tourist visa applicants need to fill out two forms : a) Application for Temporary Resident Visa [IMM 5257] b) Family Information [IMM 5645] . Submit this along with the other required documents and photos.
3. Send your application through the call center and NOT a courier. Once all your documents are complete, you may call the embassy call center to have your documents picked up.
I tried to do this, believe me. The hotline was on redial the whole day but I could not get through. I tried calling both their Smart (1 909 101 8888) and Globe (1 900 101 8888) numbers but kept giving me a busy tone. I called their inquiry line instead (8459200) and the representative suggested that I have my documents picked up by a courier. This option was confirmed through their website. So that’s what I did.
Apparently, if you have your documents sent through a courier and NOT through their pick up service, there is a chance that your application will not be processed right away. According to the call center agent from the 1 909 number (which I easily got through today), they prioritize applications that were processed through the call center. In fact, the representative could not even monitor the status of my application as it was not reflected in their system.
Panic levels: HIGH
I’ve contacted the embassy and am now waiting for their response.Unfortunately, I may have to withdraw my application just so I can get my passport back. Inasmuch as I would really love to see The Rockies, I need to be able to fly out on Monday. I hope I hear from them within the day so I can finally be excited for my trip.
Until then, I will bite my nails, watch hockey, eat bacon and hope that the Canadian gods hear my plea.
William Shatner, can you help me?