After two years of preparation, Canada has finally opened its embassy to all Qatar residents.
The office, located on the 30th floor of Tornado Tower in West Bay, initially launched in 2012, but since then has only served in a trade capacity for commercial activities between Canada and Qatar.
That meant the country’s 7,200 Canadian expats – and those seeking visas to the North American country – needed to send their paperwork to Kuwait and the UAE for processing.
Last fall, an ongoing staff strike at these diplomatic missions slowed procedures down considerably for those living in the Gulf, including in Qatar.
Though the embassy is officially open, services for non-citizens who wish to visit or study in Canada are still in the process of being set up, officials said in a statement:
“Regarding visa services, the Government of Canada is in discussions to open a Visa Application Centre in Doha that will assist people living in Qatar to apply for a visa for Canada. Until such time, visa applications still need to be sent to the Visa Application Centre in Abu Dhabi.”
However, last month, Canadian expats were sent an email stating that passport applications for citizens would start being processed on Sunday, June 8.
Speaking to Doha News, one resident called the development “awesome news for Canadians,” and said he was glad he’d no longer have to pay QR800 in courier fees to send his paperwork to Kuwait.