Diplomatic visas are the only confirmation of Canada’s approval of official visits by foreign officials. Even though Diplomatic visas are not identical to entering the country. Under international and domestic law, such approval is necessary as soon as the person sets foot in Canada or while in route to offer diplomatic, consular, or official privileges and immunities.
Diplomatic visa holders are released from immigration and customs checks when they enter Canada but must undergo security screenings at Canadian airports.
Diplomatic passports issued by the foreign national’s country of citizenship or nationality are just documents required to travel. They are irrelevant to the type of visa that should issue.
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WHO IS ENTITLED TO DIPLOMATIC VISAS?
Individuals who fall into one of the following categories may be granted diplomatic visas:
- Diplomatic visas will be granted to heads of state or members of organizations equally responsible as a head-of-state.
- Relatives of the head of state may also be granted diplomatic visas.
- Diplomatic visas will be permitted to cabinet officials from foreign nations.
- Diplomatic agents on their way to or from their diplomatic posts in Canada.
- Diplomatic agents on a brief assignment to Canada.
- Career consular personnel traveling back from their stations in Canada.
- Representatives from the international organizations will be granted diplomatic visas.
- Diplomatic visas are permitted for Delegates attending conferences organized by the latter.
- The Temporary Foreign Worker Guidelines include senior officials of the international organizations (Secretary-General, Assistant Secretaries-General, and holders of comparable posts, such as President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization).
- Senior officers of the ICAO Secretariat (appointed at the P-4 level and higher);
- Persons (wife/husband, father, mother, children) who are recognized as family members and are members of the household of diplomatic agents going to or from their diplomatic missions or on a temporary assignment to Canada or senior officers of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Secretariat;
- Foreign diplomatic couriers and special cases are dispatched on authorization from Headquarters (Diplomatic Corps Services (XDC)).
CRITERIA FOR DIPLOMATIC VISAS
PURPOSE OF A VISIT
The main point to examine when deciding whether a diplomatic visa should be granted is the purpose of the visit. So, a formal request in the form of a note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating the purpose of the travel to Canada is required.
The use of puzzling terms like “special mission” or “official visit” is not enough to justify the purpose of a diplomatic or official visa.
The purpose of the visit must be of such an official nature, as stated in the written request. The purpose will clear the grant of appropriate privileges and immunities in Canada under domestic law. Following relevant international conventions, headquarters agreements with international organizations, or international customary law.
When examining a request for a diplomatic or official visa, the following working definition of “special mission” or “official visit” should be used: A temporary visa is issued by a representative of a state who is dispatched by the latter and granted by Canada to deal with:
Mutually Beneficial issues
Questions about the sending state’s diplomatic mission or consular post in Canada and bilateral or multilateral connections with third countries or international organizations, including international conferences held by Canada.
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