Due to Continuing Violence in Syria, Government Closes Visa Office

Ottawa, January 31, 2012 — Due to the continuing violence in Syria, the Visa and Immigration Section at the Canadian Embassy in Damascus is closed and services have been transferred to neighbouring visa offices, Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announced today.

“Following this redistribution, the visa offices in Lebanon (Beirut) and Jordan (Amman) will become full service offices,” said Minister Kenney. “Now applicants in those countries will have access to full immigration services in their home country.”

The visa office in Jordan (Amman) will also be responsible for all applications from Iraq, while the visa office in Turkey (Ankara) will take care of immigration applications from Iran.

Once the Damascus office is able to reopen it will be responsible for all applications from Syria. Until that time, anyone in Syria who wants to submit a temporary resident application should apply through the visa office in Lebanon (Beirut) or Jordan (Amman). Syrian nationals outside of Syria can submit their application to any other Canadian visa office.

Permanent resident applications from Syrian nationals have been transferred to Jordan (Amman) where processing will resume.

The visa office in Damascus currently has approximately 300 active refugee files from persons residing in Syria that are at the final stages and are visa ready.  These files have been transferred to Jordan (Amman) for final processing and visa issuance.  The remaining refugee resettlement cases for persons residing in Syria have been transferred to a secure location and processing will resume once the visa office in Damascus is able to re-open. The refugee resettlement cases for persons residing outside of Syria follows the same regional redistribution where processing will resume.

The closure of the visa office follows an announcement made by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) on the Government of Canada’s reduced diplomatic staff in Syria.

“The situation in Syria is too volatile and we need to find a more permanent solution for processing applications in the area,” added Minister Kenney. “This redistribution means that we are able to bring more services closer to applicants.”

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For further information (media only), please contact:

Candice Malcolm
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

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