Expansion of Biometric Enrollment Program (as of December 31, 2018)

The Government of Canada has expanded their collection of biometric information (fingerprints and digital photographs) to all temporary resident visa, work permit, study permit, and temporary resident permit applicants (excluding U.S. nationals), and all Permanent Resident applicants.

Since July 31, 2018, applicants from Europe, Africa and the Middle East have been required to provide biometric information.

As of December 31, 2018, applicants from Asia, Asia-Pacific and the Americas are required to provide biometric information.

*Please note that U.S. nationals are exempted from biometric information collection when applying for a work permit, study permit or temporary resident permit.

Once applicants provide their biometric information, this information will be valid for ten (10) years. Biometric information will need to be resubmitted once the ten (10)-year validity period expires.

In-Canada Applicants – Temporary Exemption from providing Biometric Information

Currently, applicants applying for a visitor visa, study permit or work permit, or permanent residence from within Canada, are exempt from providing biometric information until the in-Canada service is established.

We will provide further updates once IRCC releases additional information on their in-Canada service.

Exemptions from providing Biometric Information

Please see the following link for IRCC’s list of exemptions from the biometric enrollment program: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees citizenship/campaigns/biometrics/facts.html.

Applicants falling within these categories are not required to provide biometric information to visit Canada.

Biometric Fee

In addition to the regular visa application fee, a biometric fee of $85 CAD per person will apply. Families applying together for a visitor visa will only pay a maximum biometric fee of up to $170 CAD.

The Government of Canada recommends that applicants pay the biometric fee at the time of application submission in order to reduce any processing delays.

Applicants can claim an exemption from the biometric fee provided that they qualify for an exemption under section 315.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).

If the applicant does not qualify for an exemption from the biometric fee and is required to pay the fee, they will be contacted by IRCC about fee payment options.

Providing Biometric Information at a Visa Application Centre (VAC)

If applying outside of Canada, applicants must submit their biometric information at a Government of Canada authorized Visa Application Centre (VAC).

After submitting an online application and after having paid the biometric fee, applicants will receive a Biometric Instruction Letter through their IRCC portal.  Applicants have thirty (30) days from the date of the letter to present themselves at a VAC to give their biometric information.

The Biometric Instruction Letter is proof that the applicant has paid the biometric fee or that they have claimed an exemption from the biometric fee.

When submitting biometric information at the VAC, applicants who applied online, will need to bring with them, the Biometric Instruction letter and the passport or travel document that they referenced in their application.

Regardless of whether the applicant submits their application online or at a VAC, VAC staff will ask to see proof that the applicant has paid the biometric fee before taking the applicant’s biometric information.

Providing Biometric Information at a Port of Entry

Applicants who are eligible to apply for a work permit or a study permit at a designated port of entry can provide their biometric information upon arrival in Canada.

Biometric Verification – Entering Canada

A Canadian Border Services officer will compare the Applicant to the photograph in the Applicant’s passport or travel document and to the photograph taken when the Applicant provided their biometric information. The Applicant may be asked to provide their fingerprints again to confirm their identify.

Please note that there is no fee for biometric verification


Borders Law firm

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