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Canada opens new visa application centre in Portugal


Immigration is critical to Canada’s long-term success. Newcomers and visitors fuel our economy and add vibrancy to our communities. As we continue to receive high volumes of visa applications from around the world, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is committed to improving processing efficiency and client service. This includes expanding our international presence when needed.

The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced today the opening of a new Canada visa application centre (VAC) in Lisbon, Portugal, on February 26, 2024. With this new centre, IRCC’s VAC network will consist of 163 locations in 110 countries around the world.

VACs are managed by private companies that have contracts with the Government of Canada. Their primary role is to accept documents required in the visa application process, securely transmit them to IRCC offices and provide biometric collection services. VAC service agents are available by phone, email or in person to answer questions in local languages and to help make sure that applications are complete.

The people-to-people ties between Canada and Portugal have grown stronger over time and, today these ties are underpinned by a vibrant Canadian community of Portuguese origin. That is why IRCC remains committed to making it easier than ever for Portuguese citizens to travel to Canada. The opening of a new visa application centre in Lisbon will offer them greater flexibility and accessibility to visit, study or work in Canada, and open the door to new opportunities for social, economic and cultural exchange that will benefit both countries.

“The opening of the first-ever Canada visa application centre in Portugal is another example of our commitment to improving visa processing efficiency and client service. Portuguese citizens already enjoy visa-exempt travel to Canada for up to six months, and the new VAC will make it even easier for them to apply to visit longer, study or work in Canada, all while contributing to our economy and deepening the ties between our countries.”

– The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Quick facts

  • IRCC began opening VACs in the mid 2000s. The first one opened in India, followed by one in China. VACs are not involved in making decisions on files nor are they authorized to provide applicants with advice about their visas or permits.
  • Portuguese citizens visiting Canada for up to six months typically only need an electronic travel authorization. Those who plan to visit or study for longer than six months or to work in Canada are required to apply for a visa and a study or work permit.
  • With the opening of the Lisbon VAC, applicants in Portugal will no longer need to travel outside of the country, which helps reduce costs as well as distance and travel time and improve client service. Non-Portuguese citizens living in Portugal who need a visa to come to Canada can also access services at the Lisbon VAC. Applicants can make an appointment as of February 12, 2024.
  • Canada and Portugal enjoy strong bilateral relations and celebrated 70 years of formal diplomatic relations in 2022. According to the 2021 Census, roughly 448,000 people of Portuguese origin live in Canada.
  • Canada and Portugal have a bilateral youth mobility arrangement. Under the arrangement, Portuguese and Canadian youth aged 18 to 35 can work and travel in each other’s country for up to 24 months.
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