Are you a Canadian stuck in Bangladesh because of COVID? Here are some tips

Last updated: April 6th, 2020

IMPORTANT: If you have any new information, please email me at hello@mayur.ca or join my Whatsapp group below. Please note, I’m not an official representative of Global Affairs and I don’t work for the government, so please do your own research.

What you need to do

  1. IMPORTANT: Send an email to ROCA. The email is dhaka.consular@international.gc.ca . But also make sure you send the email to these also roca@international.gc.ca and sos@international.gc.ca. Scroll down this page to see the email template you should use.
  2. The departure flight and the loan are different. If you need a loan, describe your situation and send an email to CAN.finances.CV19@international.gc.ca. For more information about the emergency loan, visit https://travel.gc.ca/assistance/emergency-info/financial-assistance/covid-19-financial-help
  3. Register with Travel Abroad at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration, I’m not as sure that this is required as I don’t work with the government. Do it anyway.
  4. This could be helpful. Get everyone you can to sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/justin-trudeau-bring-back-canadians-stuck-in-bangladesh-home
  5. There are some social groups if you are feeling alone. Join the FB group here so that you can stay connected with others that want to come home: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2487683944680140/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/BackToCanada/
  6. I have also made a Whatsapp group here https://chat.whatsapp.com/CadFCL5S8GS9Hj6nzAmH0n
  7. People in the group have started writing personal letters. Scroll down to the bottom of this web page to see these letters. If you want to add your own letter, email me at hello@mayur.ca. I have sent these letters to a news reporter at Bell Media. I’m waiting to get this on news.
  8. Send a letter to your local MP in Canada. Anyone can do this. You can find your local MP by entering your postal code in this website. From there, you can obtain their email under the contact tab. To see a template of the letter you can send, use the one I have attached below (thanks Johnathan M for the letter by the way!)

Back Story

I have been in touch with many people stuck in Bangladesh as I have close family there. Initially, we registered with https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration. We did that in late March. I suggest you still do it.

A few days ago, I ended up finding a group on Facebook run by the community. Because some don’t use social media much, I made a Whatsapp group as well.

I also wrote this blog post because some members aren’t aware of all the details. One of the group members suggested we make our own list because Global Affairs hasn’t been releasing numbers on who is registered.

There is also a petition with over 1000 signatures at https://www.change.org/p/justin-trudeau-bring-back-canadians-stuck-in-bangladesh-home.

One of the Whatsapp group members came up with a great idea – handwritten notes that we might use in social media. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see those letters.

It’s really become a little community now and new friendships have been made.

I also managed to reach out to Caitrin Holdom at Bell Media. You can read more about that here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BackToCanada/permalink/2691865334380671/

Please help me get this story out so that we can get these Canadians home. Share this post with your social network.

If you have family out of the country, I suggest you do what I have done here: share and build a community and help get the word out.

You can join the FB and Whatsapp groups here:

https://chat.whatsapp.com/CadFCL5S8GS9Hj6nzAmH0n

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2487683944680140/

At the moment, I don’t have any additional information about a repatriation flight to come home. I will try to keep this page updated with information as I receive it. In the meantime, please follow the instructions below.

Additional Resources/Links

I have some other information you may find useful:

  1. Petition on Change.org – https://www.change.org/p/justin-trudeau-bring-back-canadians-stuck-in-bangladesh-home
  2. Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh update – http://caab.portal.gov.bd/sites/default/files/files/caab.portal.gov.bd/notices/619e38b4_fe27_4c9b_acbc_848df90a6915/2020-04-05-16-24-e397946b691fc7477ab5bffaddab72d7.pdf
  3. Civil Aviation Authority home page – http://caab.portal.gov.bd/
  4. All notices from the Civil Aviation Authority – http://caab.portal.gov.bd/site/view/notices
  5. Flight Radar showing all flights that would normally be operating from Dhaka (DAC) airport. Please note that this list is probably not a good reference and doesn’t seem to be updated often, but at least you can see which airlines normally operate) – https://www.flightradar24.com/data/airports/dac/departures
  6. Over 900 left BD – https://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2020/04/05/over-900-foreigners-left-bangladesh-on-special-flights-during-coronavirus-travel-curbs
  7. A post I made on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6653071561165283328/
  8. A post I made on Twitter – https://twitter.com/mayurontech/status/1247306715046895616
  9. Caitrin Holdom with Bell Media that’s trying to assemble a story – https://www.facebook.com/groups/BackToCanada/permalink/2691865334380671/
  10. Some Permanent residents are getting an opportunity to fly! – https://twitter.com/CanadaLebanon/status/1246577631983779845
  1. Travel advice from the Canadian Government on Twitter – https://twitter.com/TravelGoC
  2. Travel advice from the High Commission of Canada in Bangladesh – https://twitter.com/CanHCBangladesh
  3. Global Affairs Social Media Channels – https://www.international.gc.ca/gac-amc/contact-contactez/social-media_medias-sociaux.aspx?lang=eng

Commercial Airlines

I’m getting a lot of confusing information here. As far as I can see, there are currently no commercial flights you can try. Biman is closed, cathay is a no go as Hong Kong won’t let you transit through. Same with China southern.

I know of someone that returned to Canada today (April 6) from Doha. He took a direct flight from Doha to Montreal to Vancouver with Qatar Airways. He says the flight from Doha was around 50 people, and after stopping in Montreal, the flight to Vancouver was around 20 people.

He also said they weren’t doing much checking at the Vancouver airport but were more strict in Doha.

The email you should send to ROCA (Registration of Canadians Abroad)

Dear Canadians in Bangladesh,

You are receiving this email because you have registered with the Government of Canada’s Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA).
WE HAVE RECEIVED SOME ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING ASSISTED DEPARTURE FLIGHTS AND WILL ONLY BE TRACKING NEW RESPONSES TO THIS REGISTRATION RECEIVED AS OF TODAY, APRIL 1, 2020. IF YOU HAVE ALREADY RESPONDED TO A FORMER REQUEST FOR INFORMATION, PLEASE ENSURE TO RESPOND AGAIN WITH THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BELOW. ONLY RESPONSES RECEIVED AS, OF APRIL 1, 2020 WILL BE CONSIDERED.

In order to assist Canadians who wish (now or at a later point) to return to Canada, we encourage you to provide the information requested below. This information will only be used to facilitate your access to flights returning to Canada. 
When flights become available, you will be receiving an additional ROCA alert. For that reason, it is important that you keep checking your emails regularly.

ASSISTED DEPARTURE FLIGHTS

These are one-way flights operated by a commercial airline to facilitate a return home from Dhaka to Canada.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ASSISTED DEPARTURE FLIGHTS WILL BE AT A FULL FARE FLIGHT COST OF UP TO A MAXIMUM OF $5000.00 CANADIAN per person.

PAYMENT OPTIONS

Please also note that passengers will be responsible for the cost of tickets for any flight. 

Canadians who have no available source of funds to return home will be able to apply for an emergency repayable loan to facilitate their return to Canada and to cover basic essential needs while they work towards their return. Each application will be assessed according to their specific situation and needs. For more information, please see the following link: https://bit.ly/3a8cj6b
In order to ensure the accuracy of the information collected, please provide the information below with no further delay. Failure to provide all of the requested information could delay the processing of this request.

TO: (they say you should only use the one, but I suggest to use all 3): dhaka.consular@international.gc.ca , roca@international.gc.ca and sos@international.gc.ca
Email subject line: “ASSISTED DEPARTURE FLIGHT (last name), (first name)”

Body:
Full Name (as written in your passport):
Telephone Number in Bangladesh:
Email Address:
Date of birth:
Passport number:
Passport expiration date:
Canadian Permanent Residency document number and expiry date:
Passport number:
Passport expiration date:
Canadian Permanent Residency document number and expiry date:
Current Location in Bangladesh (full address):
Please identify any mobility restrictions or vulnerabilities:
How will you be paying for this assisted departure flight ticket? Cash/Local Credit Card/International Credit Card
*Residence\address in Canada (for the 14-day mandatory self-isolation):
Telephone Number in Canada:
Will you be travelling with family members? Yes/No
Names & relationships of immediate family members travelling with you:
Additional comments:
PLEASE PROVIDE THIS INFORMATION FOR EVERY IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBER (WITH VALID CANADIAN TRAVEL DOCUMENTS) WHO WILL BE TRAVELLING WITH YOU

*Note also that all travellers arriving in Canada must self-isolate for a period of 14 days and must have a confirmed location in Canada for self-isolation. Passengers will also be responsible for their own onward travel arrangements upon arrival in Canada.
Passengers should be prepared to travel on short notice and must have a current valid Canadian passport or travel document.
If you arrived in Bangladesh within the last 14 days or are recovering from COVID-19, you should be in self-quarantine; Immigration authorities will not permit you to board the aircraft if you have not completed the quarantine requirement.  If you are feeling ill or have a fever, please do not attempt to travel.  We appreciate your patience during these challenging times and will send another message when we have more information.
If you have already returned to Canada and have no intention to travel in the near future, simply access your file at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration and modify the travel date and destination details by changing the departure date to the date on which you returned to Canada.  If you are unable to change the departure date, send an email to roca@international.gc.ca with the date you arrived in Canada.
For those wishing to remain in the country, please continue to follow our ROCA messages, we will continue to update you should there be any new developments.

Consular Services
High Commission of Canada
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Send this letter to your local MP

Send a letter to your local MP in Canada. Anyone can do this. You can find your local MP by entering your postal code in this website. From there, you can obtain their email under the contact tab. To see a template of the letter you can send, use the one I have attached below (thanks Johnathan M for the letter by the way!)

Dear Sir,

I am writing to bring to your attention that currently there are many Canadian citizens who are stranded in Bangladesh due to restrictions put in place by the local authorities and cancellation of commercial flights for the last 2 weeks.

Due to the nature of this pandemic, we are having to adjust our daily living conditions in a foreign land. We do not have the access to the same quality of healthcare here that we would have in Canada, our living situation becomes expensive as every week that passes, and the same goes for daily living expenses such as food, medicine, etc.

My name is ______________, and I am amongst one of those citizens who are unable to return to Canada due to the recent COVID19 lockdowns in that country. We have been in contact with the High Commission of Canada in Bangladesh, and are still waiting for 2+ weeks now since Prime Minister Trudeau announced that efforts will be made to bring back Canadian citizens home via specially chartered flights.

So far, the neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia in India and Pakistan have both gotten 2 chartered flights each to bring back stranded Canadian Citizens in the last week. However, as of now, there is has not been an update regarding any possible flights to evacuate the Canadians citizens like myself and many others from Bangladesh.

We have a group of 50 members confirmed in a Facebook group of stranded Canadian citizens in Bangladesh as well as another 40 or so members on Whatsapp.

The media has been contacted (Caitrin Holdom with Bell Media) as well.

Also, we have over 1000+ signatures for a petition on another website to request the Canadian Government to bring their citizens back from Bangladesh.
https://www.change.org/p/justin-trudeau-bring-back-canadian…

Please help us.

Letters from people stuck in Bangladesh

IMPORTANT: If you have any new information, please email me at hello@mayur.ca or join my Whatsapp group below. If you don’t want to use Facebook or Whatsapp, send me an email and I can get in touch with you.

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