TAMIL NADU

Canada visa process made simple

CHENNAI, MARCH 17 . Chennai is one of the nine cities in the country where the Canadian High Commission has opened a centre to make the visa process simple, convenient and less time consuming.

"We are doing what India does well ... it is a kind of business process outsourcing, a government-private sector partnership," said Sidney Frank, Counsellor (Immigration) for India, Nepal and Bhutan in the Canadian High Commission. It was to provide better service to visitors seeking all types of temporary visas, he told The Hindu here on Monday. The centres opened on March 9 would advise the applicants on the procedures, collect applications and documents and send them to the Commission. They would also be informed of the application status.

Earlier, those seeking short-term visas had to route their applications to the Commission in New Delhi or the consulate in Chandigarh through travel agents or by mail. "They can now submit the application at the centres, get information online and even fix the date and time for an interview in New Delhi, if required," Mr. Frank said.

VFS (India) on College Lane, Nungambakkam, which operates the centre in Chennai, would courier the return delivery of the passport and other travel documents to the applicants on payment of an additional fee. Tourists, business visitors and students could avail themselves of the temporary visa. Interview would continue to be an exception as it was today.

A Canadian consulate and trade office will be opened here on April 8. "Tamil Nadu and Chennai are very dynamic ... the economy is growing rapidly and we would like to maximise trade and travel opportunities," Mr. Frank said.

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