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Biometrics Requirements - Changes Summer 2018

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Biometrics Requirements - Changes Summer 2018

Jade Calver

New Biometrics Requirements – Summer 2018

 Presently, citizens from a set list of countries are required to provide biometrics upon their application to come to Canada for the purpose of visiting, working, or studying. As of July 31st, 2018, however, everyone who applies for a visitor visa, work or study permit (excluding U.S. nationals), permanent residence, or refugee or asylum status will be required to submit fingerprints and photographs along with their documents.

Changes to the biometrics requirements will be enforced gradually throughout the year. This change initially affects applicants from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. By December 31st, 2018, applicants from other regions, such as Asia, Asia Pacific, and the Americas will also be required to provide their biometrics.

There are some exemptions from those previously listed. This includes:

  • 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

Biometric Collection Points

The process of fingerprinting is simple and safe. Applicants who receive a letter from the government of Canada mandating submission of their biometrics must visit an in-person official biometrics collection service location. The government of Canada has created a searchable page to find reputable collection points for citizens to get their biometrics done.

Those who submit their biometrics for a visitor visa, study permit, or work permit are required to submit their biometrics once every 10 years. This ensures that the government has the most accurate information about your physical features. The cost of biometrics is $85.00 CAD for an individual applicant and $170.00 CAD for a family of applicants.

What are biometrics used for?

Biometrics measure physical characteristics, which include fingerprints and facial features. This information is used to verify an individual’s identity for the purpose of preventing identity theft and fraud. Biometrics also prevent known criminals from entering Canada, deportees from re-entering Canada without permission, and failed refugee claimants from re-entering Canada using false identity documents. As such, biometrics help maintain the safety and security of Canadian citizens. Biometrics are safely and securely stored by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on the National Repository.

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