Two New Visa Application Centres Now Open In The U.S

U.S. residents now have two new visa application centres at different locations to submit biometrics for their Canadian immigration application.

The two new Visa Application Centres (VACs) are now open in San Francisco, California and Seattle, Washington, as of November 23.

The new VACs will only be administering biometric collection services, a media briefing says. All other biometric services centres (VACs) can be accessed through the New York and Los Angeles locations. Applicants can give biometrics at any of these four VACs locations.

They can also lodge biometrics to the 131 Application Support Centres located in the United States, as long as they already have their Biometrics Introduction Letter.

The San Francisco and Seattle locations will be open for a period of one year. They have been chosen to make it easier for those affected by coronavirus-related service closures. Applicants for Canadian immigration application can lodge biometrics in support of their ongoing or new applications.

Who needs to give biometrics?

Canada normally requires foreign nationals to provide their biometrics, or fingerprints and photo, if they are applying for one of the following documents:

  • visitor visas;
  • study or work permits, unless they are U.S. citizens;
  • permanent residence;
  • refugee or asylum status;
  • extension on the legal status, visitor record; or
  • study or work permit extensions.

There are some exemptions holders of U.S. visa transiting through Canada, for instance, do not need to give biometrics. Other exemptions include children under age fourteen (14), applicants over age seventy-nine (79) and not applying for asylum, diplomats, heads of government, people who already gave biometrics, visa-exempt foreign citizens coming to visit, and Canadians.

People in Canada applying for temporary residence are presently exempted from biometrics, for a limited time. This measure was put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. It applies to people who are applying to extend their stay in Canada as a worker, student or visitor, as well as those who are applying to restore their status. It also covers individuals who are applying for their permit or visa in Canada.

Biometrics only need to be given once every ten (10) years. If they were given as part of an application for a Canadian visa within that time frame, they are not required to be provided for a new application.

As part of a temporary coronavirus measure, permanent residence applicants do not need to give their biometrics again if they have already lodged them within the past ten (10) years.

However, if these applicants have never given them, or it has been more than ten (10) years, they have to provide them to the closest biometrics collection centre that is offering services.