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Biometrics requirements while applying for Canada immigration

As part of the expansion of biometric program, Canada has decided to make it mandatory for most of the immigration applicants to submit biometrics including fingerprints and a photo. Biometrics is the measurement of an individual’s unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints and facial features. The purpose of collecting biometric details is to verify the applicant’s identity. It reduces the chances of false or mistaken identity and thus protect the integrity of the Canadian immigration system.

Starting from July 31st, 2018, onwards, every applicant of visitor visa, study or work permit (except U.S. nationals), or permanent residence will have to provide their biometrics as part of the application process. Repeat travellers to Canada will have to provide biometrics once in every 10 years.

With the help of biometrics, Canada immigration authorities aim to prevent:

  • identity fraud and theft;
  • known criminals from entering Canada;
  • deportees from re-entering Canada without permission; and
  • failed refugee claimants from re-entering Canada using false identity documents.

But the following categories of persons are exempted from providing biometrics:

  • Canadian citizens, citizenship applicants (including passport applicants), or existing permanent residents;
  • children under the age of 14;
  • applicants over the age of 79 (there is no upper age exemption for asylum claimants);
  • visa-exempt nationals coming to Canada as tourists who hold a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA);
  • heads of state and heads of government;
  • cabinet ministers and accredited diplomats of other countries and the United Nations, coming to Canada 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 already provided biometrics in support of a permanent resident application that is still in progress.

If the applicant is in Canada at the time of applying for a visa, study permit or work permit, he/she need not give biometrics.

The new rule will come into effect on July 31, 2018, for the applicants from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas will be required to provide biometrics from December 31, 2018.

Biometric service points

The applicants are supposed to provide their biometrics at their nearest biometric service points. Currently, there are 192 biometric service points across the world, including the United States.

In India, biometric service points are located in:

  • Ahmedabad
  • Bangalore
  • Chandigarh
  • Chennai
  • Hyderabad
  • Jalandhar
  • Kolkata
  • Mumbai
  • New Delhi
  • Pune

In United Arab Emirates, biometric service points are located in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The biometric information of the applicants will be encrypted and sent to a secure database of the Government of Canada. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) will check these details against the records of:

  • criminals
  • refugee claimants
  • deportees and
  • temporary resident applicants

Any matches to existing RCMP records will be analyzed by the visa officer, who will use the information to make a final decision on the application. When the applicant arrives in Canada, an officer of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will verify your identity using the biometric details that you have already submitted.
The Government of Canada has assured the safety of the biometric information. The information collected at the service point will be deleted after sending to the Canadian Immigration Biometrics Identification System.
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