Changes to IRCC visa application centers

Canada will be opening, closing, and making changes at visa application centres (VACs) in the coming weeks.

Two new VACs will open in the Caribbean:

  • Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: this location will be open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays starting Oct. 9;
  • Castries, Saint Lucia: this location will be open from Monday to Friday starting Oct. 10.

In addition, current contracts with VACs in Europe, Africa and the Middle East will expire next month. New contracts will result in changes to fees, services, locations and websites.

Starting Nov. 2, VACs in Europe, Africa and the Middle East will charge a separate fee to submit applications and send documents. 

Other services and fees may also be introduced at these locations.

Also, they will no longer collect biometrics on a walk-in basis. An appointment will be required and can be made on their new webpages.

New VACs opening, 2 closing

New VACs are scheduled to open in:

  • Manama, Bahrain
  • Helsinki, Finland
  • Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan
  • The Hague, Netherlands
  • Novosibirsk, Russia
  • Rostov-on-Don, Russia
  • Yekaterinburg, Russia

VACs in Sofia, Bulgaria, and Podgorica, Montenegro, will close permanently on Nov. 29.

The following are important dates for the Sofia and Podgorica centres:

  • November 1 is the last day they will accept applications and collect biometrics;
  • November 4 to 29, the centres will let applicants know when they can pick up their documents;
  • After November 29, documents will be returned directly to applicants and they will get all the services they’ve paid for until this date. 

New websites coming for all VACs

All VACs in Europe, Africa and the Middle East will keep their existing service provider, according to the Government of Canada webpage.

Service providers will launch new websites for all VACs in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

The new websites come online November 2 and will allow users to book appointments to submit biometrics. These appointments are mandatory.

The new websites will also contain updated location information. 

Existing VAC websites will remain functional until November 1. 

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