Canadian Immigration Update – Canada’s New Biometrics Program

What is it?

Since 2013, applicants from 29 countries already provide biometrics to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Starting July 31, 2018, the Government of Canada is expanding its biometrics program to applicants from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. When applying for a Canadian temporary resident visa, study or work permit, permanent residence or refugee status, biometrics (fingerprints and photo) must be provided.

Beginning on December 31, 2018, the biometrics program will be rolled out for applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas.

Applicants will only be required to provide their biometrics once every 10 years in order to facilitate frequent travel to Canada. There are exemptions for certain groups.

During the initial phase, in-Canada applicants will be exempt from the biometrics requirement due to a lack of facilities within Canada and U.S. nationals will not be required to provide their biometrics when applying for a work or study permit.

Who is exempt?

Exemptions will also be made for following groups of individuals:

  • Canadian citizens, citizenship applicants (including passport applicants), or existing permanent residents
  • Visa-exempt nationals coming to Canada as tourists who hold a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
  • Children under the age of 14
  • Applicants over the age of 79 (there is no upper age exemption for asylum claimants)
  • 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

Is there a government fee?

The costs for an individual applicant associated with providing his/her biometrics are CAD $85.  Families applying together will incur a maximum total fee of CAD $170.

Groups of 3 or more performing artists and their staff who apply for work permits at the same time will be facing a maximum total fee of CAD $255

If you or your employees require more information about how these changes will impact you, please contact a member of the professional team at CILF.

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