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Foreign Nationals In Canada Now Required to Submit Biometrics

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Immigration and Immigration Law

Foreign Nationals In Canada Now Required to Submit Biometrics

The Canadian government has been phasing in a biometrics program to make travel to Canada easier and to keep Canadians safer since 1993, says Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). In the final phase of biometrics implementation, effective December 3, 2019, foreign nationals are required to submit biometrics if they are applying for temporary or permanent resident status from within Canada, including:

  • a work permit (including extensions)
  • a study permit (including extensions)
  • a visitor visa (including extensions)
  • permanent residence

Biometrics can be taken at 58 designated Service Canada locations across the country. According to an IRCC press release announcing the changes, "Canada has collected biometrics (fingerprints and photos) on most foreign nationals applying for temporary or permanent residence since December 31, 2018":

“Fingerprints and photo collection are recognized as one of the most reliable ways to identify people and are used by more than 70 countries worldwide. We will enhance the efficiency and integrity of the immigration system in Canada.”
– The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P.,
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Applicants may be exempt from the biometrics requirements if they are:

  • under the age of 14 or over 79 years of age
  • U.S. nationals coming to visit, work or study temporarily in Canada
  • lawful permanent residents of the U.S. coming to visit only

Canadian citizens and current permanent residents are not required to submit their biometrics. IRCC states that immigration applicants can submit their biometrics at a visa application centre (VAC) in any country that they are legally allowed to enter. Canada has 160 VAC locations in 108 countries.


Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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