Biometrics requirement suspended for applications made in Canada

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biometrics

The Government of Canada’s immigration department, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has suspended the biometrics requirement for temporary resident applicants already in Canada.

Applicants in Canada who would like to apply for, extend or restore Visitor Visas, Study Permitsand Work Permits will not be required to submit the requirement.

This change is for new applications as well as those currently in process.

Applications made from outside Canada will still need to submit the requirement.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, IRCC has made changes to the way applications are processed.

Previously, applicants had to submit the requirement at Service Canada offices. With many being unable to do so due to pandemic restrictions, IRCC has decided to suspend the requirement.

Applicants with implied status waiting for a decision from IRCC can stay in Canada legally until such a time that a decision has been made.

Applicants who have received an instruction letter from IRCC will not be required to pay for the biometrics fee. Applicants who have already paid the biometrics fee will be refunded after their application has been processed.




WHAT ARE BIOMETRICS?

If you would like to visit, study, work or immigrate to Canada, you’ll have to meet the minimum requirements of the program you’re applying for. Here’s everything you should know about Canada biometrics requirement.

IRCC started collecting biometrics on July 31, 2018. Fingerprints and photos became mandatory for individuals travelling from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The requirement does not apply to Canadian citizens. Biometrics are used for identification purposes and make the process of applying for the appropriate visa to enter Canada easier and faster.




WHEN DID IRCC START COLLECTING BIOMETRICS FROM APPLICANTS IN THE PHILIPPINES?

The requirement became mandatory for applicants travelling from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas on December 31, 2018.

If you are a traveller from a country that do not require a visa to travel to Canada, you will not be required to provide biometric information.

The Philippines is not one of these countries.

Applicants from 14 years old to 79 years old must provide biometric information as part of the application process. Applicants who are applying for asylum must provide biometric information regardless of age.




HOW MUCH IS THE BIOMETRIC FEE?

The biometrics fee is CAD$85 for individuals and CAD$170 for families.




HOW DO BIOMETRICS WORK?

Biometrics are used when you apply for a visa and at the point of entry into Canada.

Biometrics are used to confirm a traveller’s identity. Biometrics will allow Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers to conduct screening and to determine past criminal convictions or immigration violations.

Canadian airports will have self-serve Primary Inspection Kiosks that will allow travellers to verify their fingerprints, confirm their photos and make an electronic declaration.

CBSA officers will verify fingerprint information at other ports of entry on a discretionary basis.




WHERE CAN I SUBMIT BIOMETRICS IN THE PHILIPPINES?

If you are applying to go to Canada for the first time, you will be providing your biometric information at the Visa Application Centre (VAC) in your country of residence.

In the Philippines, it’s going to be VFS Global.




WHERE TO PROVIDE YOUR BIOMETRICS IN CANADA

Biometrics for applications made in Canada were usually submitted at select Service Canada locations.

However, IRCC has suspended the requirement for applications made in Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Certain travellers, including International Students and Temporary Foreign Workers, can provide their biometrics at ports of entry when they arrive in Canada.




VALIDITY OF INFORMATION

If your application is successful, the biometric information you provided are valid for 10 years. If your application was refused, any subsequent applications will require you to resubmit a new set of biometrics.

When you apply for Permanent Residency, you will need to submit new biometrics, whether or not you have already submitted biometrics previously.




DATA PRIVACY

The Government of Canada’s Canadian Immigration Biometrics Identification System is encrypted, and all biometric information is kept secure after transmission from the point of collection.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) will check fingerprints of individuals who have a criminal record, are applying for refugees, individuals who have been issued a removal order and all temporary resident applicants.

Any matches to RCMP records will be provided to the visa officer who will make the final decision on the application.




INFORMATION SHARED WITH IMMIGRATION AGENCIES FROM US, OTHER COUNTRIES

Biometric information is shared with immigration agencies from the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.




HOW LONG DOES THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA KEEP BIOMETRICS

The Government of Canada will keep biometric information for 15 years, or until the applicant becomes a Canadian citizen, whichever comes first.




WHO IS EXEMPTED FROM PROVIDING BIOMETRICS?

Canadian Citizens, individuals who are already Permanent Residents, individuals from visa-free countries, children under 14 years, and adults over 79 years old (except for asylum claimants).

Diplomatic representatives, US visa holders just passing through Canada, refugee claimants and protected persons who have already provided biometric information and are applying for a study permit or a work permit, or applicants who have already submitted biometric information as part of an application for permanent residency are all exempted from submitting biometric information.





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