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June 1, 2018

Canada’s Expansion of Biometrics Collection

Posted by Rikhav Shah - Bellissimo Law Group PC

Starting July 2018, Canada will collect the biometric information of anyone that applies for a visitor visa, study permit, work permit, permanent residence, or refugee or asylum status, with some limited exemptions. This contrasts against the current procedure of biometrics collection only from certain countries. Applicants from Europe, Middle East and Africa will need to provide biometrics starting 31 July 2018, while applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas will require biometrics starting 31 December 2018. The biometric information that will be collected are fingerprints and a photo.

The Government of Canada has expanded the collection of biometrics because it is recognized as an excellent tool to confirm an individual’s identity. Thus, it will allow Canada to more effectively manage the individuals coming inside its borders and help to deter, detect and stop the entry of those who pose a risk to the health, safety and security of Canadians.

In order to achieve a balance between convenience for travellers and the need for information, biometrics will only need to be given once every 10 years. They will be valid for 10 years from the date they were given. If an individual has already given biometrics for a previous application within the past 10 years, they do not need to give them again. However, note that this 10-year validity period only applies to applicants for a visitor visa, study permit, or work permit. All other applications will require the submission of biometrics each time.

There are some limited exemptions for applicants who will not require biometrics:

  • US Nationals applying for a work or study permit
  • 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
  • US 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 process
  • 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

The costs for biometrics are as follow:

  • Individual applicants: CAD $85
  • Families applying together at the same time: maximum total fee of CAD $170
  • Groups of 3 or more performing artists and their staff who apply for work permits at the same time: maximum total fee of CAD $255

For more information, please click here.