Canada is expanding its visa application centers to make it easier and more attractive for people from Latin America to visit the country.
Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs with responsibility for Americas and Consular Affairs, has announced a series of improvements.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is expanding its visa application centre (VAC) network. In August, nine VACs were opened in various countries in Latin America, including one in Santiago, Chile, with eight more set to open in September. With these openings, there will now be VACs in 35 countries.
‘Service improvements are key to making the system for processing visas more effective and responsive to the needs of travelers. The outcome is a better use of resources, which will benefit both travelers to Canada and Canadians alike,’ said Ablonczy.
VACs provide valuable administrative support by phone, by email or in person to individuals submitting applications. In particular, client service agents at VACs are available to verify that visa applications are complete, thereby helping applicants avoid unnecessary delays or refusals due to incomplete applications.
‘VACs are an example of our government’s commitment to improving service to applicants and processing efficiency. By facilitating the process and making it easier to travel, we make Canada a preferred destination for visitors and business travelers alike,’ added Ablonczy.
Visa application centers (VACs) allow applicants to have access to client service agents to help them with their application. These agents are reliable and can explain, in local languages, how to apply and verify that applications are complete. By checking for accuracy and omissions, VACs help applicants avoid unnecessary delays or refusals due to incomplete applications. The service is at a low cost and offers a reliable option for applicants who would like assistance in completing their visa application, thereby lessening the potential for people to fall victim to fraud.
VACs play no role in the decision making process and are expressly forbidden to provide any visa related advice to applicants. All decisions on applications are made by Visa Officers at the Visa Office.
The use of VAC services is completely optional. Applicants can continue to apply directly to the visa office if they prefer.
VACs currently open in Latin America include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Venezuela. Those due to open this month include Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, and Uruguay.