As of December 3, 2019, the Government of Canada has rolled out the final phase of its biometrics collection program. Collecting biometric data involves the taking of fingerprints and photos of most foreign nationals applying for temporary or permanent residence and was first launched in December 31, 2018. The initial phase of the process involved the collection of biometrics from foreign nationals applying outside of Canada.
The biometrics collection program will now require foreign nationals applying from within Canada for temporary or permanent residence, or to extend or renew their visitor visa, work permit, or study permit to provide their fingerprints and have their photo taken. To facilitate the collection of biometrics in Canada, 58 Service Canada locations across the country have been designated as collection points. Applicants who receive a biometrics instruction letter must be made at a Service Canada location in advance through an online booking tool at canada.ca/biometrics.
There are some exceptions to the biometrics requirements, notably, applicants under the age of 14 or over the age of 79; U.S. nationals coming to visit, work, or study temporarily in Canada; and lawful permanent residents of the United States coming to visit Canada. Applicants who are required to provide their biometrics may continue to do so outside of Canada at any one of the 160 Visa Application Centers in 108 countries around the world.
The biometrics collection program aims to enhance the efficiency and integrity of the Canadian immigration system. Fingerprints and photo collection help immigration officers verify people’s identity, which simplifies the processing of applications for legitimate travelers. Biometric data also makes it easier for officers to prevent individuals who pose a risk to the safety and security of Canadians from entering the country.