What is Biometrics and who needs to give biometrics?

What is Biometrics and who needs to give biometrics?

Biometrics, specifically fingerprints, are used to establish the identity of applicants at the time of application and as a program integrity tool. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced the collection of biometrics last July 31, 2018. It became mandatory for people from Africa, the Middle East and Europe. It was extended to Asia, Asia-Pacific and the Americas on December 31, 2018.

An applicant between the age of 14 and 79 needs to give biometrics if applying for:
– a visitor visa,
– a work or study permit (excluding U.S. nationals),
– permanent residence, or
– refugee or asylum status,
unless you are otherwise exempted.

Starting December 3, 2019, biometrics is now required of foreign nationals applying within Canada as a foreign worker (including extending the work permit), international students (including extending the study permit), visa-required visitors (including extending the stay) and permanent residents.

According to IRCC, biometrics are used to allow visa officers to screen applicants for prior criminal convictions or Canadian immigration infractions. It is also used to confirm the applicant’s identity when they enter Canada.

Please note that you can only give your biometrics as part of your application to IRCC. You can refuse to give your biometrics (fingerprint and photo). However, if you decide not to give your biometrics, IRCC will REFUSE your application.

You only need to give your biometrics once every 10 years. You don’t need to give your biometrics again until the 10-year period expires.

There is a fee to do the biometrics, and it costs $85.00 CAD for an individual or $170.00 CAD for a family that is applying together.

You may provide your Biometrics at:
– Visa Application Centres (VAC) worldwide
– US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Application Support Centres (ASCs)
– designated Service Canada locations for applicants inside Canada


IRCC says the following are exempt from having to provide biometrics:

• Canadian citizens, citizenship applicants (including passport applicants), or existing permanent residents
• visa-exempt nationals coming to Canada to visit only
• 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
• applicants who qualify for or hold a diplomatic or official visa
• 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

If you have questions regarding the above article you may contact Marjorie at info@mcncanadaimmigration.com

Source: Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulation (IRPR)

A word of caution: You should not act or rely on the information provided in this column. It is not legal advice. To ensure your interests are protected, retain or formally seek advice from a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in good standing with the ICCRC. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of RCIC’s.

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