How to Give Biometrics for Canada Visa Application Processing
In April 2018, the Canadian federal government announced a comprehensive biometrics collection plan for all entrants to Canada.
Who Needs to Give Biometrics?
As of December 31, 2018, individual applicants, from Asia, Asia Pacific, the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africas need to provide their biometrics if they apply for a visa or entry under below categories:
- A work or study permit (excluding U.S. Nationals)
- Permanent residence
- Refugee or asylum status.
However, there are certain exemptions:
- 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**1
Temporary exemption: Applying in Canada
If you are applying for a visa, study or work permit, or permanent residence in Canada – you are exempt until the in-Canada service is established. **1
What Are Biometrics?
Biometrics refers to the unique fingerprints and photographs of a particular person. When the fingerprints are scanned, and the digital photograph is saved, it is known as biometrics data.
As per the latest Canadian immigration rules, biometrics data have to be provided to the Canadian government before an immigration application can be processed. The government verifies the identity of the applicant and then processes the application. Biometrics data helps Canadian immigration officers at the port of entry to inspect persons who seek to enter Canada, verify and confirm their identity.
Introduction of Biometrics is not new in Canada. Many countries such as Australia, United Kingdom, United States and European Union countries also collect biometrics data from citizens of other countries.
Security screenings are strengthened when countries share the biometrics data; they have with each other.
How Should You Give Biometrics?
Biometrics can be provided overseas at the Visa Application centers. Outside Canada, biometrics can be provided at any Visa Application Centre (VAC) in any country.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) collects scanned and digitized fingerprints and the digital photograph and stored it in their database. Thousands of VACs are being added across the world, to add to the expansion of the biometricss program. Currently, there are more than 140 VACs in 95 countries worldwide. More than 60 Canadian ports of entry can collect biometricss data.
The biometrics fees are $85 per person and $170 per family. The validity of biometrics data collected is 10 years. A new photo and fingerprints are not needed each time a new immigration application is made.
What are the Legal Implications of the Biometrics Program for You?
The inclusion of biometrics comes as an added step in the processing of immigration applications. Whether you are applying for a work or a study permit, an additional step can mean longer border wait times. Biometrics data collection and assessment will become a necessary first step before issuance of the work or study permit.
Typically, the RCMP has committed to releasing biometrics after review within two hours, though the actual wait times are much lower. Biometrics enrollment centres in Canada are scheduled to start from February 19, 2019.
Gathering and maintaining Biometrics data will help Canada to strengthen its immigration system and join a select pool of countries which collect and share biometrics amongst themselves for national security.
How Can We Help
If you have questions concerning the procedures needed to give biometrics, please call our office.
Connect with Nanda & Associate Lawyers to make giving your biometrics process stress-free.
They understand your specific circumstances and provide tailored and customized solutions for each of them. Our knowledgeable and experienced lawyers will help you to make your immigration process successful.