Visa Application Centres to open around the world to assist travellers coming to Canada

News release

The Government of Canada announces the winning bid for new Visa Application Centre contract

February 23, 2018 – Ottawa, ON – Visa Application Centres (VAC) are a very cost-effective way for the Government of Canada to provide services to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) applicants around the world.

The Government of Canada is pleased to announce the winning supplier for the VAC contract: VF Worldwide Holdings Ltd.

On behalf of IRCC, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) awarded this contract through a fair, open and transparent process. The initial value of this contract is estimated at $26 M.

Canada uses a network of Visa Application Centres around the world, where each year, hundreds of thousands of people submit their applications and, if required, provide biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) to come to Canada.

Since 2000, VACs have helped provide administrative support to visa applicants before, during and after their application is assessed at a Canadian visa office.

Canada is expanding the network of Visa Application Centres over the next two years. By November 2019, there will be at least 149 VAC locations in 99 countries.

VACs are managed by third-party service providers. These companies are authorized to provide specific services to visa applicants under the terms of a formal contract with the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

VACs allow for a higher level of points of service in countries where there are few or no visa offices. VACs also ensure that visa applications are completed properly, reducing the number of incomplete applications that must be returned to the applicant.

Canada has one of the most extensive VAC networks in the world—more than 96% of applicants will be able to access a Visa Application Centre in their country of residence by November 2019.


“We are very pleased to announce the winning supplier of the Visa Application Centre contract. More than ever, people around the world are interested in applying to come to visit, work, or study in Canada. Canada competes with other countries for students, workers and visitors, who inject billions of dollars into Canada’s economy. VAC services, with competitive fees, help facilitate people’s travel, and ensure Canada remains an attractive destination.”

 – The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“Visa Application Centres are critical to the hundreds of thousands of people from around the world who choose to visit, work or study in Canada each year. This contract for the provision of visa application services in visa application centres was issued through a fair and transparent process. It will ensure visa applicants can easily access the services they need to come to Canada and contribute to our society.”

– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Quick facts

  • As of November 17, 2017, there were 137 VACs in 95 countries.

  • VACs offer extended hours of operation and more points of service that make it convenient and accessible for applicants to submit their application and provide their biometrics. VACs are the main service channel for biometrics collection abroad.

  • By ensuring that applications are complete, VACs help avoid unnecessary delays or refusal due to incomplete applications.

  • Under the terms of the new contract, the extended VAC network in Asia will open on November 2, 2018.

  • Similarly, on November 2, 2019, the extended VAC network in Europe, Africa and the Middle East will begin opening.

Associated links


Contacts for media only

Hursh Jaswal
Minister’s Office
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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