As of July 31st, 2018, everyone who applies for a visitor visa, work permit, study permit (excluding U.S. nationals), permanent residence, and 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.
The biometric program helps maintain the safety and security of Canadian citizens. “Expanding biometrics will strengthen Canada’s immigration programs through effective screening and will also facilitate application processing and travel – while maintaining public confidence in our immigration system.” Biometrics are safely and securely stored by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in the National Repository.
What are biometrics?
Biometrics are the measurement of unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints and facial features. They are used to verify an individual’s identity for the purpose of preventing identity theft and fraud.
Biometrics Collection Points
The government of Canada has created a searchable page to find reputable collection points for citizens to get their biometrics done. A number of additional Visa Application Centres (VAC) will open around the world to further accommodate the increased demand for biometric collection.
What is a Visa Application Centre (VAC)?
A VAC is a privately owned, third-party services that is authorized to provide IRCC visa applications with administrative support. They also offer support to applicants before, during, and after their temporary resident application is assessed by an IRCC officer. Visa Application Centre service agents can be reached by phone and email, or in person. They are also authorized to collect biometrics.
Below is a list of upcoming locations that will open in 2018.
- Kigali, Rwanda
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Tel Aviv, Israel
- Athens, Greece
- Berlin, Germany
- Lyon, France
- Vienna, Austria
- Antananarivo, Madagascar
- Cape Town, South Africa
“In advance of these VACs opening, some Canadian embassies in Europe will offer interim biometrics collection service points for applicants who have applied online or by mail and have received a Biometrics Instruction Letter.” Applicants can also provide their biometrics at any nearby VAC.