Starting July 31, 2018, Canada will require biometric data from travelers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa; travelers from Asia, the Asia Pacific and the Americas will be required to provide biometrics starting Dec. 31, 2018. Biometrics make travel to Canada easier and keep Canadians safer, says the IRCC. The requirement does not apply to Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
- The biometric requirements apply to everyone applying for a visitor visa, a work or study permit (excluding U.S. nationals unless they are applying for permanent residency), permanent residence or refugee or asylum status.
- There are exemptions for visa-exempt nationals entering Canada as tourists who hold a valid eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization), children under the age of 14, people over the age of 79, U.S. visa holders traveling through Canada or someone who has already provided biometrics for a refugee claim or application for a study or work permit.
- Biometric data is valid for 10 years once submitted.
- The existing CAD$85.00 fee for biometrics will continue to apply.
- Families who apply together at the same time have a maximum total fee of CAD$170.
- Groups of 3 or more performing artists and their staff who apply for work permits at the same time have a maximum total fee of CAD$255.
Canadian lawyers are concerned the new biometrics requirements can create delays and confusion for those coming into Canada on business or international students who are coming to study in Canada as well as tourists, and there are potential privacy concerns for clients as the information is being shared with four other partner countries.
According to IRCC, the time allotted for the collection and screening of biometrics is not a part of the Visa application processing times.
How your identity is checked using biometrics depends on where you enter Canada:
- At 8 major Canadian airports
- your fingerprints will be checked automatically at a primary inspection kiosk
- the system will check your identity against the information collected when your application was submitted
- At smaller airports and all land ports of entry
- your fingerprints may be checked if we refer you to a secondary inspection, where a border services officer will use a fingerprint verification device to check your fingerprints
How To Prevent Delays Due to New Canada Biometric Requirements
Applications filed online will receive a request for biometrics within 24 hours, giving the applicant 30 days to complete their biometrics.
- Submit your biometrics as quickly as possible after receiving the Biometric Instruction Letter so IRCC can start processing your application.
- Don't mail in your application; either apply online or in person at a visa application centre (VAC).
- Include time for a biometrics check when making your travel plans to Canada.