By Caribbean News Now contributor
WASHINGTON, USA — Antigua and Barbuda’s non-resident high commissioner to Canada, Sir Ronald Sanders, said that he has been informed by the Canadian government that with effect from Saturday, November 2, 2018, nationals of Antigua and Barbuda may now submit biometric data for visas at the Canadian High Commission in Barbados in addition to Trinidad and Tobago.
“This is a welcome development for Antiguans and Barbudans who can now travel to Barbados, incurring less costs than going to Trinidad. We thank the Canadian authorities for responding favourably to our requests to ease the burden on our people,” Sanders said.
“The inclusion of Barbados as a location at which biometric data for visas can be delivered, gives Antigua and Barbuda nationals two locations in the region. For business people, this is a better option since, while in Trinidad or Barbados on business, they can call at a Canadian High Commission,” he noted.
Sanders said this decision by the Canadian authorities also makes it easier for regular travellers and visitors to see both the US and Canadian visa issuing offices in one location.
While welcoming the Canadian decision to include Barbados as a location to provide biometric data and to apply for visas, Sanders added that diplomatic efforts are continuing to reach an even better solution, particularly one where there can be mobile collection of biometric data collection, thus reducing the costs even further.
The Canadian government had announced earlier this year that effective December 2018, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) citizens would no longer be able to submit Canadian visa applications online and the process would then require applicants to present themselves physically at the visa issuing agency in Trinidad.
As part of its increased security processes, Canada said it now requires everyone from anywhere in the world that needs a visa to provide biometric data, including fingerprints and photographs information. Therefore, visa applicants from all OECS countries would have had to travel to Trinidad physically to provide the data from December.
Sanders stressed that the new option of going to Barbados to deliver biometric data is effective from Saturday.
It is not yet clear if the new option to provide biometric data in Barbados as well as Trinidad applies to all OECS citizens or merely Antigua and Barbuda nationals.
Clarification has been requested from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office of the Canadian government.