Canada Biometrics Screening Information
What is Biometrics Screening?
A biometrics screening is the confirmation of your identity, assisting authorities to run required background and security checks.
The Government of Canada expanded biometrics information collection (fingerprints and digital photographs) to include all temporary resident visas, work permits, study permits, and temporary resident permit applicants (excluding U.S. nationals). All Permanent Resident applicants are required to submit biometrics information as well.
The fingerprints and photos will be required for identification purposes.
As part of the permit issuance process, CBSA officers will bio-metrically enroll travelers who are eligible to make an application at a Port of Entry (POE) for a:
Who is exempt from the submission of Biometrics information?
Children under the age of 14;
Applicants over the age of 79;
Diplomats and officials traveling on official business;
U.S. visa holders transiting through Canada;
Refugee claimants or protected persons who have already provided biometrics and are applying for a study or work permit; Temporary resident applicants who have a valid biometrics enrollment on file;
U.S. nationals are exempted from biometrics collection when applying for a work permit, study permit, or temporary resident permit.
How does biometrics screening and verification work?
The screening and verification process will depend on your point of entry into Canada.
At the ten major Canadian airports, travelers will undergo identity verification at a Primary Inspection Kiosk by having their fingerprints verified against those collected at the application stage to ensure that the person seeking entry is the same person who was granted a visa or permit to travel to Canada.
Fingerprint verification using a primary inspection kiosk is currently available at the following ports of entry: Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Calgary International Airport, Edmonton International Airport, Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Ottawa International Airport, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport, Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport.
Non-major airports or land ports:
At nine non-major airports and 37 land ports of entry, BSOs will have the capability to verify fingerprints when travelers are referred to as immigration secondary for inspection.
Where to provide biometrics information for immigration purposes?
Outside of Canada: If you are outside Canada and applying for the first time, you can provide your biometrics at an authorized Visa Application Centre (VAC) when you’re applying for a visa in person.
In the US, you can go to any of the 135 Application Support Centers.
Inside Canada: If you are applying in person in Canada, you will be able to give your biometric information at specified Service Canada locations starting in 2019. Until then, IRCC says anyone applying for a visa, study or work permit or permanent residence in Canada is exempt from the biometrics requirement.
Please use the link below to find the nearest location: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/biometrics.asp
How long are biometric information valid for?
If you are applying for a visitor visa, work, or study permit, you only need to give your biometrics once every 10 years. If your application has been refused and you decide to reapply, later on, the biometrics will need to be renewed.
If you are applying for permanent residence, IRCC says you will need to give your biometrics and pay the fee regardless of whether you provide your biometrics in the past to support a visitor visa, study or work permit application or a different application for permanent residence.
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, fingerprints are encrypted and sent electronically to the Government of Canada’s secure Canadian Immigration Biometrics Identification System. Personal information is deleted from the collection system once it has been successfully transmitted to this database.
The RCMP will check an applicant’s fingerprints against the fingerprint records of:
temporary resident applicants
Any matches to existing RCMP records will be analyzed by the visa officer treating the application, who will use the information to make a final decision.
Canada shares biometrics information with the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. IRCC says this is done in accordance with Canada’s privacy laws and civil liberties and human rights commitments, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The fingerprints are kept on record for 15 years from the moment of submission. They are deleted after this time or if the applicant is granted Canadian citizenship.
If you have an alien’s passport you need to give your biometrics, regardless of the country that issued the passport.
Steps to submit your biometrics information:
1. Pay the biometrics fee
You must pay the biometrics fee when you submit your application. Otherwise, you may experience delays. Exception: There is no fee to give biometrics for a transit visa.
2. Get the instruction letter
After you pay the biometrics fee, you’ll get a letter confirming that you need to give your biometrics and where you can go. You need to bring this letter when you give your biometrics. You also need to bring your valid passport.
3. Go to an official biometrics collection service point: You must give your biometrics in person.
Tips to get the best photos and fingerprints during your biometrics appointment
Keep your hands henna-free for your appointment;
Let temporary injuries, cuts, cracks on your fingers heal before submitting your biometrics;
Avoid wearing light color clothing or headgear. Wear bright colors instead.
Headgear is allowed for religious purposes only. However, when you have your photo taken, your whole face must be clearly visible.
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