Do I Need to Give Biometrics? – Canada Visa and Immigration

If you want to travel to Canada, study in Canada, work in Canada, or immigrate to Canada, you may need to give biometrics. You usually refer to a Visa Application Centre (VAC). They take your fingerprints and photo. They use the information to check your background. They also match your picture with you when you enter Canada. Biometrics are necessary for the following applications:

If you are applying for a Work Permit or Study Permit at the Port of Entry, then a Border Services Officer will take your biometrics and collects the biometrics fee.

What is Biometrics

As mentioned earlier biometrics refers to a digital photo of your face and your fingerprints. Most people need to give biometrics even before entering Canada. Some people need to provide biometrics at the border. Regardless of the location of biometrics, a Border Services Officer may double-check your biometrics at the port of entry to make sure you are the same person who gave the biometrics. With this approach, they enhance the security and integrity of the Canada immigration system.

Validity of Biometrics

Biometrics are valid for up to 10 years. If you give biometrics for a temporary visit or stay in Canada, you may still need to provide biometrics for immigration to Canada. You may also voluntarily give biometrics before the expiry date of the current biometrics (e.g. if it is very close to the expiry of your biometrics or your facial features have changed significantly due to injuries or plastic surgery).  Keep in mind you need a letter from the immigration authorities to be able to give biometrics, or you need to give biometrics while you are handing your documents to a biometrics centre. Read the following article to check out the validity of your biometrics:

Biometrics Fee

The current fees for biometrics are the following. All the charges are in Canadian Dollars:

  • $85 for one person
  • $170 for a family of two or more
  • $255 for a group of three or more performing artists

Where to give biometrics?

Visit the IRCC website to find out where you could give biometrics. According to the IRCC website, the following entities could assist you with giving biometrics, depending on your location.

  • visa application centres (VACs) worldwide
  • application support centers (ASCs) in the United States and its territories
  • as of December 3, 2019, at designated Service Canada offices (SCOs)

You may also give biometrics at a port of entry. Consult with an immigration practitioner for more information.

If you are applying for visa, permit, or immigration from inside Canada, you need to give biometrics, unless you are exempt from biometrics. Read the following article for more information:

Who is Exempt from Biometrics?

The following groups are exempt from biometrics:

  • Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and any member of the Royal Family
  • Diplomats (some exceptions and expansions exist)
  • US nationals, unless they are applying for immigration to Canada
  • Applicants who are not asylum claimants but they are either younger than 14 or older than 79
  • Travellers who are transiting through Canada to the United States
  • Visa-exempt foreign nationals who are applying for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
  • Some other groups such as some visiting members of foreign armed forces

If you wish to visit or move to Canada or if you have encountered any issues with the immigration authorities, you may fill out our free assessment form or book a consultation session to assess your potential opportunities or offer you immigration, visa, or citizenship advice.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting

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This article provides information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not provide legal advice nor should it be relied upon. If you have specific legal questions, you should consult a lawyer. If you are looking for official immigration advice book an appointment. All the characters in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Any resemblance in names, dates, and places (whether individuals or organizations) is coincidental.

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Al Parsai

This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.