Biometrics 101 for Canadian Immigration
Biometrics 101 for Canadian Immigration: Key Information
Biometric data is collected from individuals aged 14 to 79, excluding U.S. nationals, who are applying for, claiming, or seeking Canadian temporary residence, permanent residence, or refugee protection.
The purpose of collecting biometrics is to enhance identity management and security measures for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) by cross-referencing applicants’ identities with Canadian criminal and immigration records. During the biometrics collection process at designated service points, IRCC obtains the following information from applicants:
- Biographic Data: This includes the applicant’s name, date of birth, and other personal details as they appear on the biographic data page of the passport or travel document.
- 10 Fingerprints: Electronic capture of the applicant’s fingerprints using a designated fingerprint-capture device during the biometrics collection session.
- Photograph: A digital photograph of the applicant is taken during the biometrics collection process.
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Who Must Provide Biometrics?
Biometric information is mandatory for individuals aged 14 to 79 applying for various immigration purposes. The specific requirements depend on the type of application:
For Temporary Residence Applicants (including visa, work permit, and study permit applications):
- Temporary resident visa
- Extension of authorization to remain in Canada as a temporary resident
- Temporary resident permit
- Restoration of temporary resident status
- Work permit or renewal of a work permit
- Study permit or renewal of a study permit
For Permanent Residence Applicants:
- Permanent resident visa
- Request to remain in Canada as a permanent resident
- New permanent resident card for the first time (if exempt from biometrics enrolment due to being under 14 at the time of application)
For Refugee Protection Claimants:
- In-Canada asylum claim (no upper age limit)
- Overseas refugee resettlement claim
Applicants eligible for an electronic travel authorization are exempt from providing biometrics when traveling to Canada as tourists.
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Age Considerations: 14 or 80 Years Old
The obligation to provide biometrics is determined by the applicant’s age on the date of submitting the application, claim, or request, as per section R12.2(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). For instance, applicants who were 13 when they submitted their application but turned 14 when it was received by IRCC are required to provide biometric information. Similarly, applicants aged 80 or older must submit biometrics if they were 79 or younger when the application was made.
Biometrics Collection Points
Biometrics are collected at various designated service points where applicants need to present themselves in person. These include:
- Visa application centres (VACs)
- Select United States (U.S.) application support centres
- Select Service Canada locations
- IRCC visa offices (in limited situations)
- Select ports of entry
- Select Global Affairs Canada locations
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Biometric Processing Fees
The processing fees for biometrics are as follows:
- $85 for an individual
- $170 for a family (for a group of 2 or more performing artists)
- $255 for a group of performing artists
It’s crucial to note that the biometric fee must be paid each time an applicant provides biometric information unless they are exempt from paying fees. Permanent residence applicants are required to enroll their biometrics with each application. However, applicants are not required to pay the biometric fee again if, as part of the same application, they are required by an officer to repeat biometrics collection.
The 1 in 10 Policy
The “1 in 10 policy,” outlined in subsection 12.7(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), provides a temporary exemption from the requirement to provide biometric information for a subsequent application for temporary residence. This includes applications for the temporary resident visa, temporary resident status, work permit, study permit, or temporary resident permit.
To be eligible for this exemption, the applicant must have previously provided biometrics to support a temporary residence application or have a pending permanent residence application. Additionally, they must submit the new application within 10 years of the date of biometric enrolment.
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