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Canada's Biometrics Visa Requirements: Fingerprints and a Photo

Canada's expanded biometrics requirements mean everyone interested in applying for a visitor visa, work or study permit, a permanent residence visa or claiming refugee/asylum status will need to review whether or not they are required to submit biometrics (fingerprints and a photo).

The collection of biometrics identification (fingerprints and a facial recognition photo) is considered an efficient tool for correctly identifying individuals. Biometrics collections enables the Government of Canada to facilitate application processing and simplify entry into Canada for low-risk travellers. The biometrics requirements take effect as follows for citizens from non-exempt countries: 1) Starting July 31, 2018 applicants from Europe, Middle East and Africa 2) Starting December 31, 2018 applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas

Biometrics Collection at Visa Application Centres

Individuals submitting an application outside Canada for the first time will need to submit their biometrics at a Government of Canada-authorized Visa Application Centre (VAC). To find the VAC that is nearest to you, please consult this page. The Government of Canada says it will be expanding its worldwide network of VACs to accommodate the biometrics program.

Visa-exempt Visitors to Canada

Travellers from visa-exempt countries who are coming to Canada as tourists with a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) will not be required to provide biometrics. Click here for a full list of exemptions to the biometrics program.

Biometrics for Permanent Residence Applications

The Government of Canada says anyone applying for permanent residence will need to give their biometrics and pay the fee regardless of whether they have provided biometrics in the past to support a visitor visa, study or work permit application or a different application for permanent residence (provided they do not meet the requirement for exemption listed below).

Applicants with Multiple Citizenships

Applicants with multiple citizenships must use the same travel document (e.g. passport) for the entire application process. This same document should be used when giving biometrics at a Visa Application Centre or at an Application Support Centre (ASC) if you applying from the United States. Applicants who have already submitted an application and would like to change the nationality on that application must withdraw the application. To do this, contact the visa office responsible for your country or territory, After doing this, such applicants may submit a new application and pay the applicable fees. Visit the biometrics processing fees page for more details .

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