July 24, 2018
Canada to Open New Visa Application Centres
The Government of Canada recently announced that it will be expanding its biometrics program for identification and security purposes. It is also expected to reduce processing times related to identity verification. Anyone applying for a visitor visa, work/study permit or permanent residence will now have to submit biometrics, regardless of their country of origin and/or citizenship. The biometric information collected will consist of a photo and fingerprints. This new requirement will be rolled out over 2018; Beginning 31 July 2018, applicants from Europe, the Middle East and Africa will need to provide biometrics. Biometrics for applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas will be collected from 31 December 2018.
In order to accommodate the expected increase in demand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, new Visa Application Centres (VACs) are being opened in 2018, with more planned for 2019:
• Kigali, Rwanda (September 2018);
• Stockholm, Sweden (September 2018);
• Tel Aviv, Israel (September 2018);
• Athens, Greece (November 2018);
• Berlin, Germany (November 2018);
• Lyon, France (November 2018);
• Vienna, Austria (November 2018);
• Antananarivo, Madagascar (December 2018);
• Cape Town, South Africa (December 2018).
Visa Application Centres (VACs) are not operated by the Government of Canada. They are operated by private owned companies which the government contracts with to provide administrative services in various countries around the world. This is more efficient as the government does not have expertise in operating in different jurisdictions.
Applicants who need to provide biometrics between now and the time that the VACs listed above become operational can go to certain Canadian embassies in Europe. Applicants from Sweden and neighbouring countries will be able to provide biometrics at the Embassy of Canada to Sweden in Stockholm from 31 July to September 2018. The Canadian embassies in Athens, Greece; Berlin, Germany; and Vienna, Austria will serve applicants from Greece, Germany, Austria and neighbouring countries. Finally, applicants from France and neighbouring countries will be able provide biometrics at a commercially leased space in Lyon, France from 31 July to November 2018. It is crucial to note that these locations will only collect biometrics; applications will not be accepted.
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