SONAM PENJOR | Thimphu
Canada will provide biometrics collection services in Thimphu for visa applicants to remove the single biggest obstacle for Bhutanese individuals applying for Canadian visas.
The first round of collection will take place for two days starting from 24 November at the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).
According to First Secretary (Political Affairs), Embassy of Canada, Colin Wetmore, Canada recognizes the challenges that Bhutanese nationals face in applying for visas and the need to submit biometrics out of country.
He stated that they have decided to conduct remote biometrics collection in Thimphu so that visa applicants won’t have to leave the country to complete that step of the application process. This is done to make sure that everyone who wants to visit Canada and study there can do so.
He further said, “We initially agreed to undertake remote biometrics gathering in early 2020, but the pandemic prevented us from visiting Bhutan. We are glad to finally be able to assist Bhutanese visa applicants now that travel to the country is once again permitted.”
Anyone who is in Bhutan or is legally permitted to enter, has applied for a student visa, a visitor visa, a work permit, or for permanent residence, and has paid the biometrics cost is eligible to participate, according to Colin Wetmore. He added that a biometrics letter (BIL) from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is also required for applicants (IRCC).
Colin Wetmore said that candidates must email to Canadabiometricsbhutan@gmail.com to make an appointment after paying the cost and receiving the biometrics letter. On the biometrics letter, their name, birthdate, phone number, and IRCC number should be included in the email.
After that, they will get a reply within 48 hours letting them know when their appointment is. “There must be an appointment,” he said.
Each year, about 300 Bhutanese students seek to enrol in Canadian universities, while the majority prefer to begin their studies in September.
It’s difficult to predict how many people will ultimately participate because this is the first time, according to Colin Wetmore.
“Our goal is to perform remote biometrics gathering more frequently going forward. Since September is when most students enrol in Canadian colleges and universities, we plan to return sometime in the first half of 2023 to accommodate international students,” he said.
Meanwhile, an individual must visit the nearest Canada Visa Application Centre (VAC) if they are unable to attend the abovementioned dates.
However, to collect biometrics at Canada VACs, a person must make an appointment in advance. The applicant must be in possession of valid travel documentation for the nation where the VAC of their choice is located.