Canadian government clarifies visa application process for OECS citizens

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By Caribbean News Now contributor

BASSETERRE, St Kitts – The government of Canada has clarified information published in a recent article regarding the need for Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) citizens applying for Canadian visas to travel to Trinidad effective December 2018.

In an email to Caribbean News Now, Stephanie Grundy, communications officer, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, said that an applicant does not have to go to the visa application centre (VAC) in Trinidad, they can go to the nearest of at least 11 VACs or to any of the 135 US Application Support Centers to provide their biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) if they apply on or after December 31, 2018.

Obtaining Canadian citizenship is a complex process. For instance, a prior conviction can seriously hinder your ability to become a Canadian citizen. That being said, you can remove your criminal record by acquiring a Pardons Canada. Above all, a pardons Canada is issued by the Government of Canada. It allows for the past convictions of an individual to be removed from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database.

Visa applicants applying online or by mail may give their biometrics at any biometrics collection point provided they have a biometrics instruction letter. Applicants applying at a VAC in person for a visa or permit do not need a biometrics instruction letter. They will provide their biometrics at the same time as they submit their application.

Applicants for temporary residence will only need to provide their biometrics once every ten years to facilitate repeat travels to Canada. Their biometrics may be verified at the port of entry to confirm their identity each time they enter.

Those applying for a visitor visa, or a work or study permit from OECS may submit an application online, by mail, or in person at any of Canada’s Visa Application Centres. An applicant will have to travel to a Canada’s Visa Application Centres or a U.S. Application Service Center to provide their fingerprints and a photo (biometrics) if they apply on or after December 31, 2018.

Those wanting to go to Canada will also have to prove that they can support themselves whilst in Canada. This could be a job or educational acceptance letting saying that they will have some sort of income or having a savings account. Individuals can use US Credit cards in Canada too, making it easier to keep all finances it once place rather than having to set up a Canadian card.

Additionally, on July 31, 2018, nationals from countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East will be required to provide biometrics if they are applying for a visitor visa, a work or study permit, a temporary resident permit, or permanent residence.

On December 31, 2018, nationals from countries in Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas (including OECS) will be required to provide biometrics if they are applying for a visitor visa, a work or study permit, a temporary resident permit (except US nationals), or permanent residence.

Some exemptions apply:

• Visa-exempt nationals coming to Canada as tourists who hold a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
• Children under the age of 14
• Applicants over the age of 79
• Heads of state and heads of government
• Cabinet ministers and accredited diplomats of other countries and the United Nations, coming to Canada on official business
• US visa holders transiting through Canada

Consult for further information.

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