Canada: Government publishes details on biometrics program

Toronto, Canada Individuals may soon need to provide fingerprints and biometric photos when applying for a visitor visa, study or work permit (excluding U.S. nationals), permanent residence or refugee or asylum status for Canada.
The Canadian government will implement the biometric program as a reliable and accurate tool for establishing identity.


The planned timeline for implementation is as follows: as of July 31, 2018 applicants from Europe, Middle East and Africa will need to provide their biometrics and as of December 31, 2018 applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas will need to provide their biometrics, unless found to be exempt from the requirement


Some of the exemptions to the biometrics requirement are as follows (list is not exhaustive):
  • Canadian citizens, including citizenship applicants (and passport applicants)
  • Existing Canadian permanent residents
  • Children under the age of 14
  • Applicants over the age of 79 (excluding asylum claimants)
  • U.S. visa holders who are transiting through Canada
  • Temporary residence applicants who already provided their biometrics as part of a permanent resident application still in progress


Key considerations 

Applicants for a visitor visa, study or work permit will only need to provide their biometrics once every 10 years.
The introduction of the biometrics program means there will be an extra application step for certain nationalities.
Individuals applying for a visa, study or work permit, or permanent residence in Canada are exempt from providing their biometrics until the in-Canada service is established.
This update was prepared using information from the Government of Canada.
Further information on the biometrics program can be found here.
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Roberta Carnaccini, Global Operations Director – Immigration.