When COVID-19 was identified as a global pandemic in March, 2020, the Canadian government took unprecedented steps to limit the spread of the virus. This included closing Canada’s Visa Application Centres, commonly known as VACs, all around the world. As many countries around the world regain some control over the spread, VACs are reopening with limited services in some countries.
Jump ahead to find out what you need to know about VACs.
Which VACs are open right now?
Canada has reopened VACs in some countries around the world, although with limited services. To get the most up-to-date information, you can look up your VAC using the VAC search tool from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
During our latest update, the following countries had opened some or all of their VACs with limited services.
VACs providing services
VACs are subject to opening and closing without advance notice. For the most up-to-date information, refer to the IRCC VAC search tool. Refer to your VAC’s website to determine which services are available.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Burkina Faso
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- The Netherlands
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States (New York)
What services are VACs offering right now?
As certain VACs reopen around the world, they are offering limited services. The services offered by each VAC vary, so be sure to check the website for your VAC. You can find your VAC using the IRCC VAC search tool.
At this moment, VACs will not accept or process paper applications for visitor visas, study permits, or work permits. You can still apply for these things, but you must submit your application online.
What measures do VACs have in place to limit infection risk?
IRCC has put in special measures to protect the health and safety of staff members and clients. Common health and safety measures implemented at VACs may include:
- use of hand sanitizer by staff and clients
- limiting the number of people allowed inside the VAC at any given time
- checking temperature of staff and clients
- use of gloves, face masks and face shields by staff
- frequent cleaning of the VAC
You can look up the measures in place at your VAC by using IRCC’s VAC search tool.
How do I get biometrics if I'm applying from inside Canada?
To get biometrics from inside Canada, most applicants must follow the guidelines on this page. However, on July 15, Canada announced that certain temporary resident applicants who are inside Canada will be exempt from the requirement to provide biometrics (Source: IRCC). This is a temporary measure. The exemption includes those who are applying from within Canada:
- to extend your stay as a student, worker or visitor
- to restore your status as a student, worker or visitor
- for a work or study permit
- for a visitor visa
- for a temporary resident permit
As well, this temporary measure does not apply if you are outside Canada. Those applying for permanent residence from within Canada are still required to provide biometrics (note that biometrics deadlines for PR applicants are extended due to COVID-19).