Dear Ms Powell,
I am a Jamaican citizen, and I have United States (US) residency, and am a green card holder. I have visited Canada several times without applying for a visitor's visa from Canada. I am planning to visit my daughter for Christmas and went to book my ticket. The travel agent said that I will now need to apply for a visitor's visa as she heard about a woman who was prevented from entering Canada with just her green card. Do I need a visa to visit Canada or can I use my green card? If I have to make an application for a visa, what do I need to do? A family friend would also like to apply for a visitor's visa and is not sure what to do.
Effective September 4, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) changed its rules relating to Jamaican citizens who wish to enter Canada or a temporary resident. Persons are now required to submit an application at one of the two Visa Application Centres (VAC). At these locations, persons are now required to provide biometric data as part of the application process. This means that applicants are now required to present a photograph and fingerprints before their visa will be granted.
Persons between the ages of 14-79 are required to submit their fingerprints as part of their application. The fingerprinting must be done at one of the two centres. The biometrics fee is CAD$85, payable through the Bank of Nova Scotia or by using a credit card at the VAC.
They will need to submit the usual supporting documents to prove social, economic and financial ties with Jamaica.
Applications may be completed online; then take your completed forms to the VAC to provide your biometric information. Keep a record of your reference number, and be prepared to pay additional fees, if required. Application forms and a checklist of documents may be found online at www.csc-cvac.com/en-JM/selfservice.
The VAC contact information are:
Visa Application Centre - Kingston
31 Upper Waterloo Road,
Phone Number: (876) 632-7370
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visa Application Centre - Montego Bay
14 Sunset Boulevard
Montego Bay, St James
Phone Number: (876) 632-7370
Email Address: email@example.com
There was no specific announcement about what this means for persons who are Jamaican citizens with a US green card. Checks with the CIC office reveal that there is no change in the rules relating to green card holders. In fact, the general information regarding green card holders is still posted on their website, which states:
"As a US green card holder, you do not need a temporary resident visa to travel to Canada. At the Canadian border, you will need to present your valid passport and green card."
If someone was stopped at the Canadian border when they presented their passport and green card, the border security must have had cause for concern. This could range from security concerns, expired documents, or the person's green card could have been flagged or revoked by the US.
If you have not violated the terms under which you have received your US green card, then there should be no cause for concern.
If the general rules relating to Jamaicans who are green card holders have changed, I invite the CIC officers to contact me so that I can update readers.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, commercial, personal injury, family and administration of estates. She is on the roster of mediators for Ottawa, Toronto, and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Immigration