What is the change? Officials have opened two temporary Visa Application Centres (VACs) in the United States to assist with biometrics collection.

What does the change mean? The additional VACs opened in Seattle and San Francisco. They will only collect biometric information for applicants, and were opened to help reduce pandemic-related delays in the applications process.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. The VACs opened on Nov. 23 and will remain open for one year.
  • Visas/permits affected: All ongoing or new visitor visas, work or study permits, permanent residence and refugee or asylum applications.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals attempting to apply for Canadian visas or permits in the United States.
  • Impact on processing: The additional VACs were opened with the intent to assist with and speed up the submission of biometric information that has been delayed because of VAC and Application Support Center (ASC) closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Business impact: Employees and employers can contact the temporary VACs about biometric information. All other VAC requests can be handled by the VACs in Los Angeles and New York.

Additional Information: The Canadian government has reassured applicants worldwide that their application won’t be disqualified if the applicant cannot give their biometric information because of  COVID-19 closures. More information is available here.

Analysis & Comments: The change should help ease demand for biometrics collection for Canadian visa and permit applicants in the United States. Applicants in the U.S. who have a Biometric Instruction Letter can make biometric appointments at any of the four VAC locations or 131 ASCs in the United States.

This alert was prepared by de Lint LLP, an independent immigration law firm, allied with Deloitte LLP in Canada.