FAQ for the High Commission in Ottawa, Canada

Who needs a visa to visit Trinidad and Tobago?

To find out if you need a visa, please consult the following list:

HC Ottawa - Visa Requirements for All Countries

Generally:
•Nationals of The People’s Republic of China, The Republic of China (Taiwan), Cuba, North Korea, North and South Vietnam, Yugoslavia and other Asian, African, Middle-East and Far-East countries require a visa.
•If you are a Landed Immigrant in Canada but also a national of a country whose citizens require a visa to enter Trinidad and Tobago, you will need a visa to visit Trinidad & Tobago.
•Holders of United Kingdom passports, and member countries of the European Union do not require visas to visit Trinidad and Tobago.

How do I apply for a visa?

Complete the visa application form, provide all the documents listed below and ensure that the relevant fee is payable via money order to the ‘Consulate General of Trinidad & Tobago’ . The completed application can be submitted in person or sent via mail to the office of the Consulate General for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.


Applications sent by mail MUST include a return prepaid self addressed priority post or courier envelope for the return of your passport and other documents.

Should an application be sent to the High Commission, Ottawa kindly note that it will be forwarded for the attention of the Consul Immigration at the Consulate General, Toronto for their processing.

Applications with all supporting documents  must be submitted at least fifteen (15) working days prior to departure, except for applications from nationals of the following countries: The People’s Republic of China, The Republic of China (Taiwan), Cuba, North Korea, North and South Vietnam, Yugoslavia and other Asian, African, Middle-East and Far-East countries which must be submitted four (4) weeks prior to departure.

Applicants must submit:
1.The completed Visa Application Form
2.A valid Passport (Passports and travel documents issued by the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS), MUST be valid for the duration of the applicant’s intended stay in Trinidad and Tobago)
3.One (1) recent passport- size colour photograph (taken within the last six months)
4.Proof of Canadian residence – copy of landed immigrant status or employment authorization document or student visa.
5.Business: Letter from Company stating Purpose of Visit.
Tourist: Letter of Employment or Letter of Invitation from host.
6.A money order for the respective amount made payable to ‘Consulate General of Trinidad & Tobago‘
7.A travel itinerary
8.Coloured photocopies of all relevant documents must be provided by the applicant


A personal interview and additional supporting documentation may be required.

Please note that completed applications cannot be received by fax.

Where can I get a visa application form?
 The application forms can be downloaded here.  A visa application form can also be obtained in person or by sending a pre-paid self addressed return envelope to one of the following offices:


High Commission for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
 200 First Avenue,
 Ottawa, Ontario. K1S 2G6
 
Consulate General for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
 185 Sheppard Avenue West.
 Toronto, ON M2N 1M9
 

Can I extend my visit to Trinidad & Tobago?

An application to extend your visit must be made in person at the

Immigration Division
 Ministry of National Security
 67 Frederick Street,
 Port of Spain
 Trinidad and Tobago

PLEASE NOTE:
•Applications with all supporting documents must be submitted at least fifteen (15) working days prior to departure,
•Applications from nationals of the following countries: The People’s Republic of China, The Republic of China (Taiwan), Cuba, North Korea, North and South Vietnam, Yugoslavia and other Asian, African, Middle-East and Far-East countries must be submitted four (4) weeks prior to departure.

Are there any incentives for persons returning to live permanently in Trinidad and Tobago?
In 1994, Government, in an attempt to encourage nationals to return home, took a decision to grant tax concessions on a motor vehicles and household effects imported by such persons.

The following is a summary of benefits to which a returning national is entitled.

MOTOR VEHICLES

(A) Requirements

In order to qualify for any relief of taxes, the person must satisfy all the following conditions:

    The person must be eighteen years old and over, and
        is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, or
        was formerly a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, or
        has citizenship of two (2) countries, one of which is Trinidad and Tobago, or
        is the spouse of a person referred to in sub-paragraphs (a), (b) or (c) above;
    The person is the registered owner of the vehicle for at least six (6) months prior to his return to Trinidad and Tobago;
    Must have resided abroad for a continuous period of at least five (5) years immediately prior to his return to Trinidad and Tobago;
        intends to reside in Trinidad and Tobago permanently;
        require the vehicle for his personal use;
        must import the vehicle within six (6) months prior to or after his return;
        must not sell or transfer the vehicle within two (2) years of its importation.
        Once all the above conditions have been satisfied then in the case of a left hand drive vehicle, the importer is not required to obtain an Import Licence.

(B) Relief from Customs Duty

Customs duty is normally payable at the following rates:

    Vehicles with an engine size not exceeding 1599 cubic capacity (cc)- 20%
    Vehicles with an engine size exceeding 1599 cc but not exceeding 2000 cc – 25%
    Vehicles with an engine size exceeding 2000 cc – 30%

Customs duty is based on the Cost, Insurance and Freight (C.I.F.) Value of the Vehicle.

A returning national can benefit from the relief of Customs duty at the following rates:-

    where s/he is the registered owner of the vehicle for more than six months but not more than one (1) year, 25% of the duty payable. In other words the importer pays 75% of the duty payable.
    where s/he is the registered owner of the vehicle for more than one (1) year but not more than two (2) years, 50% relief of the duty payable
    where s/he is the registered owner of the vehicle for more than two (2) years, 90% relief of the duty payable. In other words, the importer pays 10% of the duty payable.

(C) Relief from Value Added Tax (VAT)

Value Added Tax is payable at a rate of 15%. It is calculated in the following manner:

15% of the C.I.F. Value + Customs Duty = VAT Payable

There is no relief from the payment of VAT in respect of a motor vehicle imported by a returning national.

(D) Relief from Motor Vehicle Tax

Motor Vehicle Tax is normally payable at the following rates:

    engine size not exceeding 1599 cc Free
    engine size exceeding 1599 cc but not exceeding 1799 cc – $ 4.00 per cc
    engine size exceeding 1799 cc but not exceeding 1999 cc – $ 8.00 per cc
    engine size exceeding 1999 cc but not exceeding 2499 cc – $21.00 per cc
    engine size exceeding 2499 cc but not exceeding 2999 cc – $25.00 per cc
    engine size exceeding 2999 cc but not exceeding 3499 cc – $30.00 per cc
    engine size exceeding 3499 cc – $45.00 per cc

However, a returning national may be granted relief from the payment of Motor Vehicle Tax at identical rates in the case of Customs duty as specified in (b), (aa), (bb) and (cc) above.

HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS

Household Effects – Categories

There are two categories of household effects:-

    Those which are in the use and possession of the passenger for at least one (1) year – no duties and taxes are payable. Any person can benefit from this measure;
    In the case of household effects which are in the use and possession for less than one (1) year, a returning national may be granted tax concessions but must satisfy all the following conditions:-
        the national must have resided abroad continuously for at least five (5) years and is returning home to reside permanently;
        the household effects must be imported within two (2) months before or after the arrival of the returning of the national or such further period as the Comptroller of Customs and Excise may allow in any special circumstances;
        the household effects must be owned by the importer and must not be for sale or exchange;
        the goods must be allowed by the Comptroller of Customs and Excise;
        the total value of the goods must not exceed a C.I.F. value of $100,000.00 TT.


Relief from duties and taxes

Once the returning national meets the requirements in respect of household effects which have been in his use and possession for less than one (1) year, no Customs duty or VAT is payable on the first $100,000.00 TT. The returning national only pays a Special Tax of 10% of the C.I.F. Value. No other taxes are payable. In amounts exceeding the $100,000.00 TT, each item would attract the respective rate of Customs Duty and VAT.

Definition

The item “household effects” shall include such items as air conditioning units, bedding, carpets, clocks, crockery, glassware, cutlery, electrical fans, furniture, record players, household electrical appliances, irons, kitchen and other domestic utensils, lamps, lanterns, household linen, perambulators, pianos, pictures, sewing machines, silver and plated ware, stoves and electrical cooking and heating apparatus, tape recorders, computers and computer hardware, diskettes and other like items.

However, it excludes motor vehicles, building materials, power tools and foodstuffs.

Computer Hardware and Software

Computer hardware (i.e. hard drives, monitors, printers and other peripherals) and software (i.e. diskettes and software on diskettes and Cd Roms) may enter Trinidad and Tobago without the payment of duty.

Procedure

In order to benefit from the tax concessions the returning national must:-

    provide proof of residence abroad, e.g. passport, employment records
    provide proof of ownership of vehicle, e.g. registration certificate
    provide an affidavit sworn before a local Commissioner
    present two (2) passport-size pictures
    present a Customs declaration form (Customs entry) in person and attest that a licensed Customs broker prepare the Customs entry

After the Customs official accepts the Customs entry, Customs duty, VAT and Special Tax (Household effects) are payable to the Customs and Excise Division. Motor Vehicle Tax is payable to the Board of Inland Revenue (Miscellaneous Taxes Section).

***WARNING: Heavy penalties are imposed for false declarations***

Summary

The above generally describes the tax concessions from which a returning national may benefit, and are provided for general information. However, discussion in this article must not be substituted for law.


Can I bring my cat or dog to Trinidad and Tobago?

All animals and animal products enteringTrinidad and Tobago must do so under the conditions of an import permit, which must be applied for well in advance of travel to Trinidad and Tobago.  Persons should be aware that it might take several months for pets to qualify for entry into Trinidad and Tobago.

There are three categories of entry for dogs and cats into Trinidad and Tobago:.

 

1.      Direct entry without quarantine;

2.      Entry with 6 months quarantine;

3.      Entry with at least 1 month quarantine

How does the Trinidad and Tobago tax system work?

All employees, sole traders, partnerships and companies are legally obligated to register for a Board of Inland     Revenue (BIR) file number to be used in payment of taxes and filing of returns. This number must be quoted on all correspondence to the Board of Inland Revenue. A Pay as you Earn (PAYE) number must be obtained by all companies and sole traders who hire employees. The PAYE number is used to remit taxes withheld from employees’ earnings in accordance with the PAYE System. These numbers must be utilised for the duration of the life of the individual or company.

Canada and Trinidad and Tobago have concluded a Double Taxation Treaty. Under this agreement, the salaries of non-residents earned in Trinidad and Tobago, while attracting P.A.Y.E. tax, may be exempt under restricted provisions in the Treaty.

For further information contact

In Trinidad and Tobago

Inland Revenue Department
St Vincent St.
Port of Spain
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

(868)-623-1211/4

In Canada

International Tax Centre
Trinidad House
2204 Walkley Rd
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1A8

(800) 267-5177

Can I work in Trinidad and Tobago?

A non – national may enter Trinidad & Tobago without a work permit to engage in a legitimate profession, trade or occupation for a single period not exceeding thirty (30) days in every twelve consecutive months. Entry is on the basis of a “certificate” stamped in the passport allowing entry for a specified period.

If a person wishes to stay in Trinidad for a period exceeding thirty (30) days to engage in a legitimate profession, then s/he must obtain a work permit, which must be sought by the prospective employer on the non-nationals behalf, which is issued for a fixed period.

Generally, work permits will not be granted to non-residents unless there are no locals who are capable of filling the specified post. Work permits are issued for a specific time frame during which it is expected that a local resident will be trained to assume the post held by a foreign employee.
Who can authenticate a legal document issued by Trinidad and Tobago authorities?

Can I get a representative of the High Commission/Consulate General to witness a legal document?

Diplomatic and Consular Staff at the High Commission and the Consulate General are able to witness Affidavits, Affirmations, Statutory Declarations and other documents for use under Trinidad and Tobago law. There are varying fees for this service.

In addition to High Commission/Consulate General Diplomatic/Consular staff, the following persons may take statutory declarations in Canada for use in Trinidad and Tobago:

  • Judges
  • Commissioner of Oaths
  • Notaries Public
  • Justices of the Peace
  • Persons authorised by Canadian law to administer oaths for the purpose of judicial proceedings

In cases where there is any doubt over the form or stature of the witnessing required, this should be checked with the High Commission/Consulate General.

How do I register for Trinidad and Tobago citizenship?

A child born outside of Trinidad and Tobago after 1st August, 1976 becomes a Trinidad and Tobago citizen if at birth, either parent is a Trinidad and Tobago citizen otherwise than by descent.

A person born (out of wedlock) outside of Trinidad and Tobago after 30th August, 1962 whose mother was a Trinidad and Tobago citizen otherwise than by descent shall become a Trinidad and Tobago citizen.

A person being a former citizen of Trinidad and Tobago by birth/descent, having voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country after 29 July, 1988 does not lose his Trinidad and Tobago citizenship. If he becomes a citizen of another country before 29 July, 1988 voluntarily, he has to apply to have his Trinidad and Tobago citizenship restored.

If you would like to receive an application form or further information on this subject please send an explanatory letter, together with a self addressed stamped envelope to the Consul, at the Consulate General, Toronto. Please indicate the applicant’s date of birth and relationship to parent through which citizenship is being claimed.

How can I restore my Trinidad and Tobago citizenship?

A former citizen of Trinidad and Tobago by birth or by descent having renounced citizenship of Trinidad and Tobago in order to acquire citizenship of another country may make an application to have citizenship restored to him/her.

The Minister of National Security shall by the issuance of a certificate of restoration of citizenship restore citizenship to the former citizen.

A citizen of Trinidad and Tobago by birth or by descent who acquires citizenship of another country after July 29 1988, shall not lose his/her citizenship of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Child of a former citizen, whose citizenship is restored, automatically acquires citizenship by descent. No separate application or action is required in respect of the child.

Citizenship is restored retroactively to the date of renouncement.

Procedures for applying

1. The applicant must provide:

i. Three (3) completed copies of Form 16

ii. Four (4) identical passport size photographs

iii. A Police Certificate of Character

iv. Completed Medical Forms 40 and 40 (a)

v. Original Trinidad and Tobago birth certificate (when birth certificates are used Affidavits will be required for clarification if needed fo the names of the birth certificates). A marriage certificate will be required for the verification of the change of name from one’s maiden name to the married surname.

vi. Evidence of the date of acquisition of citizenship of the country of present nationality (Original must be seen).

2. The application forms and one photograph must be NOTARIZED.

3. Canadian passport (if available)

4. The sum of $15.00 (2000 fee schedule) must be paid on submission of the application form.

5. The balance of $153.00 (2000 fee schedule) must be paid on the collection of the Certificate of Restoration of Citizenship.

All restoration of citizenship applications should be forwarded to the Consulate General in Toronto for processing. Application forms maybe obtained from any Trinidad and Tobago mission/office in Canada.

How can your office help Trinidad & Tobago citizens in distress?

Consular Assistance

The Trinidad and Tobago High Commission in Ottawa and the Trinidad and Tobago Consulate General in Toronto are able to provide assistance and guidance to Trinidad and Tobago citizens in distress, who have been involved in a serious accident, have been hospitalized, arrested or detained, or have lost a passport). Serious cases of distress are handled in accordance with specific guidelines. Trinidad and Tobago citizens who find themselves in distress are urged to call the High Commission or the Consulate General in Toronto to discuss the specifics of their individual circumstances and agree on a course of action within given parameters. The above-named Offices may be contacted through the following numbers:

  • Trinidad & Tobago High Commission, Ottawa
    Monday-Friday 9:00 – 4:30
    (613) 232-2418/9  press 0 for immediate assistance.
  • After Hours:
    232-2418/9. Please leave a message after the tone and your call will be returned as soon as possible.
  • Trinidad & Tobago Consulate General, Toronto
    Monday – Friday 9:00 – 4:30
    (416) 495-9442/3
    After Hours:
    (416) 495-9442/3. Please leave a message after the tone and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

How we can help you?

Staff at the High Commission and Consulate General may be of assistance if you get into difficulties while in Canada. Within certain limitations we can:

  • give you guidance when in trouble with the primary aim of giving a proper orientation.
  • help arrange for the issue of an emergency or replacement passport if considered necessary.
  • help you to contact relatives or friends in Trinidad and Tobago to arrange a money transfer, if you get into financial difficulties.
  • provide you with a * list of English speaking lawyers in the case of detention or arrest.
  • provide you with a * list of undertakers in the case of the death of a loved one, and assist you to contact family and friends.

*The provision of this list shall not constitute a recommendation or guarantee of the service provided, and neither the High Commission nor the Consulate General shall be liable for any action arising from the provision of service by persons or entities therein listed.

 

There are limitations to what we can do however. For instance we cannot:

  • pay your hotel, travel or other bills, bail or medical expenses.
  • help you with arrangements which would normally be handled by local entities, e.g. banks, lawyers, travel agents, undertakers.
  • give you legal advice or get you out of prison.
  • assure you of prison or hospital conditions better than that accorded a citizen or legal resident.
  • give you a loan, other than in a real emergency and only after the deposit of equivalent funds into the Treasury by family or friends in Trinidad and Tobago..
  • trace missing persons or investigate a crime. These are police matters.
  • operate a personal mail service for you.

Do I need to take out medical insurance when I go to Trinidad and Tobago?
Visitors to Trinidad and Tobago must pay their own medical and associated costs, unless they are the victim of an accident.

Trinidad and Tobago’s universal health coverage system provides 24-hour, basic and emergency health coverage to all nationals and visitors to Trinidad and Tobago who are injured as the result of an accident, medical misadventure or certain types of behaviour for which criminal charges could be laid. The public health system is buttressed by a number of smaller private health institutions, which provide a variety of basic and advanced health care services on a “pay as you go basis” for private medical insurance subscribers.

As such, visitors to Trinidad and Tobago may wish to consider taking out, travel and medical insurance to ensure that all costs associated with injury, medical treatment or other losses associated with an unforeseen injury (For example, loss of money if you have to cut your visit short, or income replacement if you are unable to return to paid employment as a result of your accident) can be adequately met.

Am I entitled to a Trinidad & Tobago/Canada pension?
An Agreement on Social Security between Trinidad and Tobago and Canada was signed on 9 April 1997 and came into force on 1 July 1999.

This Agreement co-ordinates the operation of the Canadian and Trinidad and Tobago programmes which protect individuals in the event of old age, retirement, disability or death. It has two basic objectives:

    to ease or eliminate restrictions on the payment of social security benefits abroad;
    to assist migrants in qualifying for benefits based on the period they have lived or worked in each country.

The Canadian benefits included in the Agreement are those paid under the Old Age Security program and the Canada Pension Plan.

The Trinidad and Tobago benefits included in the Agreement are the super-annuation, invalids, widows and orphans, and domestic purposes benefits paid to widowers and orphans benefits payable under the Trinidad & Tobago National Insurance scheme.

If you need more information about the Agreement and assistance in applying for any of the Canadian or Trinidad and Tobago benefits, please call a Human Resources Development Canada office at 1-800-277-9914 (Canada and U.S. – English). Alternately, you may address inquiries to:

International Operations
Income Security Programs Branch
Human Resources Development Canada
OTTAWA ON. K1A OL4

Telephone:
(613) 957-1954

Fax:

(613) 952-8901

How does the Trinidad and Tobago tax system work?
All employees, sole traders, partnerships and companies are legally obligated to register for a Board of Inland     Revenue (BIR) file number to be used in payment of taxes and filing of returns. This number must be quoted on all correspondence to the Board of Inland Revenue. A Pay as you Earn (PAYE) number must be obtained by all companies and sole traders who hire employees. The PAYE number is used to remit taxes withheld from employees’ earnings in accordance with the PAYE System. These numbers must be utilised for the duration of the life of the individual or company.

Canada and Trinidad and Tobago have concluded a Double Taxation Treaty. Under this agreement, the salaries of non-residents earned in Trinidad and Tobago, while attracting P.A.Y.E. tax, may be exempt under restricted provisions in the Treaty.

For further information contact

In Trinidad and Tobago

Inland Revenue Department
St Vincent St.
Port of Spain
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

(868)-623-1211/4

In Canada

International Tax Centre
Trinidad House
2204 Walkley Rd
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1A8

(800) 267-5177