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In 2018, Canada intends to expand its biometrics program to all foreign nationals applying for a visitor visa, a study or work permit (excluding U.S. nationals), and to all those applying for permanent residence.
Canada currently collects biometrics from in-Canada refugee claimants and overseas refugee resettlement applicants, individuals ordered removed from Canada and individuals from 30 foreign nationalities applying for a temporary resident visa, work permit, or study permit.
Everyone who applies for:
Depending on your nationality, you may need to give your biometrics as soon as this summer
There are some exemptions:
Temporary exemption: Applying in Canada
If you are applying for a visa, study or work permit, or permanent residence in Canada – you are exempt until the in-Canada service is established.
You only need to give your biometrics once every 10 years.
If you have a valid visitor visa, or a study or work permit, and you gave your biometrics in the past, your biometrics are valid from the date you gave your biometrics for a period of 10 years. You do not need to give your biometrics until the 10-year period expires.
You will need to give your biometrics and pay the fee, regardless of whether you gave your biometrics in the past to support a visitor visa, study or work permit application, or a different permanent resident application.
Biometrics collection is recognized globally as a reliable, accurate tool for establishing identity. More than 70 countries around the world are using biometrics in their immigration programs.
Biometrics collection allows the Government of Canada to effectively manage identity, facilitate application processing and simplify entry for travellers with legitimate identities. It helps deter, detect and stop the entry of those who pose a risk to the health, safety, and security of Canadians.
Once you receive the letter from us that says you need biometrics, you have to go in person to an official biometrics collection service location.
Biometrics will provide immigration officers with additional information to help make decisions on a person’s admissibility and by simplifying the travel of low-risk individuals.
The fingerprints are stored by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on the National Repository and checked against its immigration and criminal records. The biometric check confirms if someone applied to enter Canada before using the same or a different identity has a previous Canadian criminal record, or has been removed from Canada before.
Biometrics-based information sharing with the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom will further support the integrity of Canada’s immigration system, in a manner that respects Canada’s privacy laws, civil liberties and human rights commitments, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
At the border, the Canada Border Services Agency will be able to quickly and accurately confirm whether a traveller’s identity is legitimate. This will contribute to more efficient and timely entry for travellers.
At 8 major Canadian airports, fingerprint verification will be automatically conducted at a primary inspection kiosk.
At other airports and land ports of entry, discretionary fingerprint verification will be conducted by a border services officer upon referral to secondary inspection, where the traveller’s identity will be verified to ensure that the person seeking entry to Canada is the same person who was approved overseas.