How to Tell if a Canadian Visa is Real or Fake
May 26, 2023
Immigration is a very complex process and an important life choice that is not made easily. With all the effort into the application process, not to mention all of your hard-earned money spent on Canadian visa application fees and immigration professionals handling your case, the last thing you want is to find out that you have a fake Canada visa.
Canadian visa scams are prevalent, and awareness of them is important. Scammers may pose as government officials on the phone and say that you have done something wrong or owe fees. Another major scam is getting would-be immigrants to pay lots of money toward a fake Canada visa, even though these applicants have not even applied for or do not qualify for that particular visa.
To protect yourself from immigration fraud, identify fake websites, emails, and phone calls and learn what happens if you give false information. So, is your Canadian visa real or fake? Well, lucky for you, we have all the tips to ensure you know what to look out for when determining whether you have received a visa from a scam or an honest immigration company.
How to Identify Fake Visa from Canada
Check the Font
One of the quickest ways to spot whether or not your Canadian visa is a scam or natural is to check if the font used is the same as other visas. The font on a fraudulent visa may look similar. Still, it will have a recognizable difference on closer inspection as scam artists often need to pay more attention to finer details as they do not expect you to either.
Another thing to look out for regarding fonts is that the font used is consistent throughout the document. Often, fake Canada visas will have different fonts and different-sized fonts. If you pick up either of these in the visa you received from your immigration professional, be very careful, as it is more than likely that your visa is not real.
Look for Errors in French Words
Canada has two official languages: English and French. This means that you can submit your application in either language. However, a French translation accompanies the English information in an original Canada visa. Although scammers are skilled in duplicating visas, they are not necessarily proficient in French, which means some sections may need to be corrected in the translated references.
Suppose you suspect that your visa may be fake. In that case, it is always a good idea to either contact the Canadian Government (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada or IRCC) or have a Canadian French translator take a look at it.
Top tip: Also remember that Canadian French differs slightly from French spoken in France or other countries where French is the official language. Fraudsters may overlook this finer detail, and it will be a dead giveaway that your visa is fake.
Ensure Your Visa Has Watermarked Surname
An original Canadian visa will always contain a watermarked surname. What does this mean? Your visa should have a watermark on the document, which will then have your surname printed on top of the watermark. A fake Canada visa may contain a watermarked surname, but the watermark and printed surname will appear with the watermark on top. This may be slightly difficult, but you can see the difference carefully.
Check if The Layout of the Visa Under the Title "Canada" is Incorrect
An original Canadian visa will have a heading that says "Canada." Fraudsters often do not pay attention to detail, especially the layout of original visas. What often occurs is that the spacing underneath the heading is a lot narrower than that of the original visas.
This is because it is expected that first-time applicants will never have seen what an original document looks like. However, if anything looks strange, do not hesitate to have it checked by a professional, as the last thing you want to happen is for you to arrive in Canada and get turned away at border control because you have a fake Canada visa.
Check if Your Visa Number is Registered on the Government Website
Every visa processed by the Canadian Government is issued with an original visa number. There is no reason that it should be duplicated. A simple way to check if your visa or permit is real is to attempt to log on to the official government website and check the status of your visa application.
How can I Check the Status of my Visa Application?
If you apply online, which is highly recommended for various reasons, it will be very easy to track how far the Government is with processing your application. All you have to do is use your GCKey ID and password to log in to your profile. Then, you should be able to check that your application has been submitted to the proper authorities and whether your visa number corresponds with the one on the government website.
Once logged in, all you have to do to check your status is to complete these two simple steps:
- Go to "view my submitted application and profile"; and
- Click on "check status and messages."
What is Canada's GCKey ID?
A GCKey ID is a unique identification (username and password) used to protect and access various Canadian government programs and services.
How do I Find my GCKey Username?
If you have applied for your Canada visa through an accredited immigration professional, they will have created an online profile for you on the Canadian Government website. This means that they should have your password and username on hand for you to check your application process. If you have registered independently and have forgotten your username or password, you need not worry. You can easily request to create a new password by clicking on the "Forgot your password?" link, where you can follow the prompts. This usually requires you to answer a few security questions to ensure that you are who you say you are.
Note: Your immigration professional or the Candian Government cannot recover your original password. If your visa professional claims they can, this immediately indicates that you are dealing with a fake immigration agent or visa company.
Check the Expiration Date
Your visa's expiration date is when the visa must be used to seek admission into Canada. If you have a multiple entry visa, it will be valid for up to 10 years or one month before your passport expires, whichever is shorter. On the other hand, if you have a single entry visa, it will only let you travel to Canada one time.
The visa validity date will coincide with the first anniversary of the initial medical examination of the main applicant. If you have a multiple entry visa, it will be valid for up to 10 years or one month before your passport expires, whichever is shorter. If you have a single entry visa, it will only let you travel to Canada one time. If the expiration date does not align with your medical exam's first anniversary, this may prove that the visa is not legitimate.
You can verify the status and expiration of your visa by using the Check Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) status tool. You will need the eTA number noted in the email to do this.
Look for Spelling Errors or Other Mistakes
A real Canadian visa should be free of any errors or mistakes. Check the visa carefully for spelling errors or other mistakes that may indicate that it is not genuine.
If you receive a Canadian visa, but something doe not seems right, it is always helpful to get a second opinion from someone well-versed in the Canadian immigration and visa process. The best people to discuss this with before you go to the Canadian Government are certified immigration professionals like Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs).
What to do if You Receive a Fake Canadian Visa
If you suspect you have been a victim of immigration fraud, report it to your local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. If you have been issued a fraudulent Canadian visa, here are some steps you can take based on the search results: Contact the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate: If you suspect your Canadian visa is fraudulent, you should contact the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate to report the issue and seek assistance. They will be able to verify whether your visa is genuine or not.
Report the Fraud
You can report the fraud to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). You can also report suspicious border activity, a marriage of convenience, or someone who has given false information on any immigration application.
How to Avoid a Canada Visa Scam
To avoid being issued a fraudulent Canadian visa in the first place, you should take steps to protect yourself from immigration fraud. This includes identifying fake websites, emails, and phone calls and learning what happens if you give false information. Here are some of the best ways to avoid being scared. If you are unsure if the immigration agency you are working with is not up to standard, here are five ways to ensure the legitimacy of your immigration agency.
Here are some tips from the search results to avoid a Canada visa scam:
- Be aware of internet and telephone scams. Identify fake websites, emails, and phone calls.
- Be cautious of websites that offer special, too-good-to-be-true immigration deals or guarantee entry into Canada, high-paying jobs, or faster application processing. IRCC only charges fees to process your application.
- Do not pay to access application forms and guides. IRCC only charges fees to process your application.
- Do not believe unsolicited emails, phone calls, or text messages from people or businesses claiming to be able to help with Canadian immigration.
- Do not believe phone calls or text messages claiming that you have won something in a competition that you have not entered.
- If you suspect you have been a victim of immigration fraud, report it to your local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
- Be cautious of immigration scams perpetrated over the phone.
How Can I Tell if an Immigration Website is a Scam?
A website might be a fake or a scam if it asks you to pay to access application forms and guides, offers special, too-good-to-be-true immigration deals, guarantees entry into Canada, high-paying jobs, or faster application processing. To avoid getting scammed, you can find out how to identify common scams and report them to your local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
I Received an Email from an Immigration Officer. Is it a Scam?
To avoid email scams, remember that IRCC NEVER emails applicants to confirm basic personal information provided on application forms or asks for banking or credit card information to collect payments by email. The email you received might be a scam or a phishing scheme if you did not expect the email, it is from a private address or a free Web mail address, and not from a government of Canada "gc.ca" email account, or it contains an attachment that you did not request. If you received a suspicious email, do not reply to it. You can also report the incident to local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Start Your Journey to Canada Safely
Scam artists have found ways to trick unsuspecting victims into parting with their hard-earned money. This leads to a lot of time and money wasted, leaving thousand of hopeful immigrants with disappointment and frustration, and rightly so. Taking the advice above, plus utilizing the services of accredited immigration professionals, can make all the difference when starting your Canadian journey the right way.