Canada has expanded its biometrics collection program to include countries in Asia, Asia Pacific, and the Americas for 2019. It will also include in-Canada applications.
Applicants from these nations are now required to submit biometrics when applying for a visitor visa, study or work permit, or for permanent residence in Canada.
Benefits of Biometrics
Biometrics refers to measurement of unique physical characteristics of an individual, including his/her fingerprints and photograph of the face.
Currently, more than 70 countries have incorporated biometrics collection into their immigration programs.
Benefits of biometrics collection include:
- Establish and verify identities of immigration applicants more accurately
- Significantly reduce chances of switching of identities of applicants.
- Speed up processing of applications and entry of legitimate travelers into Canada
With Canada having one of the highest per capita rates of immigration in the world and the government committed to accept a million immigrants by 2021, the biometrics program is aimed to managing an immigration data collection system safer and more efficient
The Expanded Program
Biometrics collection began for applicants in Europe, Africa and the Middle East from July 31, 2018.
The latest expansion covers cover applicants from more foreign countries while, in 2019, the program will include foreign nationals submitting in – Canada applications as well.
Further, verification infrastructure at ports of entry, including airports, will be upgraded followed by information-sharing of biometric data with Canada’s 5 migration partners in the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
The Modified Application Process
- Pay biometrics collection fee when submitting short-term or permanent residence visa applications.
- Provide biometrics at an authorized biometrics collection service location within 30 days of receipt of the Biometrics Instruction Letter.
- Those applying in person at a VAC can pay the fee and provide biometrics at the same time without waiting for the Biometrics Instruction Letter.
Canada has set up 152 Visa Application Centres (VAC) in 103 countries and 135 Application Support Centers in the USA for legal US-residents where applicants can personally submit biometric information.
Applicants are required to provide biometrics just once in ten years. An applicant who had provided biometrics when applying for a study permit need not re-submit this information when applying for a new residence permit or for permanent residence within the ten-year period.
Other exemptions include:
- Existing permanent residents and citizens and those applying for citizenship
- Tourist-visa applicants from visa-exempt countries.
- Applicants aged less than 14 years or more than 79 years, barring asylum claimants.
- Heads of State and Heads of Government
- Official trips of accredited diplomats or foreign officials
- U.S. nationals applying for a work, study or temporary resident permit
- In-transit travel of U.S. visa holders through Canada
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