September 25, 2020

IRCC Introduces New Temporary Measure: Biometrics Exemption

Posted by Athena Portokalidis - Bellissimo Law Group PC

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has introduced a new temporary measure for temporary residence applicants.[1] Individuals in Canada applying for or who have the following applications in process are exempt from giving biometrics:

  • To extend their stay as a student, worker, or visitor;
  • To restore their stay as a student, worker, or visitor;
  • For a work or study permit;
  • For a visitor visa; or
  • For a temporary resident permit.[2]

The exemption applies even if the application form used says it is for applicants outside of Canada, and applicants do not have to pay the biometric fee due to this exemption, and will automatically be refunded if the biometrics fee was paid.[3] IRCC has also instructed applicants to ignore the automatically generated Biometrics Instruction Letter due to this new temporary exemption.[4]

Finally, IRCC has maintained that applications will not be refused or closed if applicants, no matter of location, cannot give their biometrics due to COVID-19 visa application centres (VACs), United States (US) application support centers (ASCs) and designated Service Canada Centres service disruptions.[5] While a seemingly small measure, this likely will serve to ensure the safety and health of not only applicants but also IRCC, VAC, ASC, and Service Canada employees by significantly reducing in-person meetings.