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Immigration and Citizenship

Canada Immigration’s Biometrics Requirements

Canada Immigration’s Biometrics Requirements

Effective July 31, 2018 Canadian immigration law requires that international students and graduates from Europe, the Middle East and Africa must submit their biometrics (fingerprints and a facial recognition photo) with their applications for visitor, study, and work visa, and for permanent resident status in Canada. Applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific and the America will be required to provide Biometrics identification starting December 31, 2018.

If you have already submitted your biometrics information as part of a previous application, your information may still be valid.

Biometric verification will be required from non-exempt applicants once every 10 years.

Biometrics helps the government to prevent identify fraud/theft, entry of criminals, re-entry of deportees and false identity claims. The Government of Canada reassures that biometrics information is handled with the highest level of security and privacy. On their webiste, IRCC states that all biometrics data collected at a service point is deleted once it has been sent to the Canadian Immigration Biometrics Identification System, where they will be checked by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

The process of giving biometrics is fast and secure. It may take only a few minutes to complete when done at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or authorized service point.

Biometric data should not be provided before an application is submitted. Bometric details should be given after an application is submitted, fees are paid and a biometric instruction letter is obtained. Alternatively, you can submit your biometric data at the same time you submit your application at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).

Biometrics Centers

To support the expansion of its biometrics program, Canada is opening new Visa Application Centres in countries where biometrics collection demand will grow. There are currently 137 VACs worldwide that provide biometric collection. If you are in the U.S., you can go to any of 135 Application Support Centers.

In addition to application fees, providing biometrics costs CAD $85 for an individual or CAD $170 for a family that is applying at the same time.

You can find the nearest VAC to you HERE.

Biometrics Exemptions

Biometric data may not be required in the following cases:

  • You are a visa-exempt national coming to Canada as a tourist and you have a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
  • You have already provided biometrics in support of your permanent resident application that is under review.
  • You are a U.S. national applying to study in Canada.
  • Until biometrics collection services become available, anyone applying for a visa, study or work permit, or permanent residence FROM WITHIN CANADA are exempt.

The following are not required to provide biometrics under any circumstances:

  • Canadian citizens, citizenship applicants (including passport applicants), or existing permanent residents;
  • visa-exempt nationals coming to Canada as tourists who hold a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA);
  • children under the age of 14;
  • applicants over the age of 79 (there is no upper age exemption for asylum claimants);
  • heads of state and heads of government;
  • cabinet ministers and accredited diplomats of other countries and the United Nations, coming to Canada on official business;
  • U.S. visa holders transiting through Canada;
  • refugee claimants or protected persons who have already provided biometrics and are applying for a study or work permit;
  • temporary resident applicants who have already provided biometrics in support of a permanent resident application that is still in progress.

For more information see Facts about Canadian Biometrics Requirements

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