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Top 5 Questions About Canada's Biometrics Program

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Top 5 Questions About Canada's Biometrics Program

Jade Calver

Biometrics FAQ

As of July 31st, 2018, Canada officially expanded its Biometrics Program. Foreign nationals who apply for a Canadian visitor visa, work or study permit, or permanent residence must submit their biometric information (fingerprints and photos) to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This information allows the government to determine that you are who you claim to be.

Why do I have to give my biometrics?

The Government of Canada requires everyone who applies for a visitor visa, a work or study permit, permanent residence, or refugee or asylum status to submit their biometrics (fingerprints and photos). Biometrics are collected in order to help detect, identify, and deter those who pose a risk to the health and safety of Canadians from entering the country.

How long are biometrics valid? What will happen to my fingerprints and photo after they are collected for biometrics?

If you are applying for a work or study permit, or visitor visa, your biometric information remains valid for 10 years. They will then be stored by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on the National Repository. They will be kept on file for 15 years from the date you submitted your biometrics. If, however, your application is refused, your biometrics will be stored until your 100th birthday.

If I’m asked to give my biometrics, does that mean my application is approved?

No. Biometric information must be submitted before your application can be processed. This information is used by the Government of Canada to help assess your application.

Will it take longer to get my visitor visa because I have to give my biometrics?

It depends on the type of application you submit. The time it takes to give your biometrics is included in the application processing time for most permanent resident applicants. For other applicants, however, the time it takes you to give your biometrics is not included in the application processing time. You will receive a request to submit your biometrics after you submit your application. You are given 30 days to submit your biometrics. To ensure this process moves along in a timely fashion, provide your biometrics as soon as possible once you’ve received the request.

If my visa, work or study permit application is refused, will I have to give biometrics for my next application?

Your biometrics still remain valid for a 10-year period. As such, you do not need to resubmit them should you reapply within that 10-year period.

To read more about the Biometrics Program, check out our other blogs on the topic: