Canada Reopens Many Visa Application Centres

Since March 18, 2023, Canada has enforced strict travel restrictions due to the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus. However, in a promising development, the Canadian government has announced the reopening of several Visa Application Centres (VACs) worldwide, offering limited services. This move aims to facilitate the completion of essential processes for foreign nationals, including biometrics for various visas such as visitor visas, work visas, study visas, and permanent residency.

List of Open Visa Application Centres:

As of now, a total of 23 VACs have resumed operations with limited services in different parts of the world. These locations include cities in Austria, Bahrain, China, Germany, Greece, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, The Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates.

Services Provided by Visa Application Centres:

VACs, privately-owned companies with legal contracts with the Canadian government, play a crucial role in securely handling visa applications and passports. They also provide official locations for biometrics, including fingerprints and photos, and offer services in local languages.

Health and Safety Measures:

To ensure the well-being of both staff and visitors, VACs are implementing stringent health and safety measures in adherence to guidelines provided by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). These measures include:

  1. Social Distancing and Hand Hygiene: Maintaining social distancing and emphasizing hand hygiene are at the core of VAC efforts.
  2. Cleaning Protocols: VACs will undergo frequent cleaning to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
  3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Staff members will utilize gloves, face masks, and face shields.
  4. Limited Capacity: The number of people allowed inside a VAC will be limited to facilitate social distancing.
  5. Temperature Checks and Sanitizers: Visitors and staff may undergo temperature checks, and sanitizers will be regularly used.

Important Considerations for Applicants:

Before applying, potential applicants are advised to:

  1. Check Exemptions: Ensure that you are exempt from travel restrictions.
  2. Stay Informed: Keep updated on changes to the application process.
  3. Check VAC Services: Visit the VAC’s website to understand the services they are currently offering.

Current Travel Restrictions:

While VACs are gradually reopening, travel restrictions in Canada are expected to remain in place until June 30 for most international travelers. Exceptions include family members of Canadians, essential service workers with work permits, and students with approved visas before March 18.

Anticipated Rush in Visa Applications:

As travel restrictions ease, a surge in visa applications is expected, potentially causing delays in processing. IRCC assures applicants that the reopening of VACs will expedite the movement of applications once travel restrictions are lifted. Importantly, IRCC emphasizes that no immigration application will be canceled due to the inability to collect or submit necessary documents during these challenging times.


The reopening of Visa Application Centres marks a positive step toward restoring normalcy in international travel to Canada. As the world navigates through these unprecedented times, the Canadian government’s commitment to facilitating immigration processes while prioritizing health and safety is evident. Prospective travelers are encouraged to stay informed and leverage the available services responsibly as they plan their journeys to Canada.

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