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Canada to start collecting biometrics from applicants in Europe, Africa and the Middle East


Starting in the summer of 2018, when you apply for a visitor visa, study or work permit (except U.S. nationals), or permanent residence you will need to give your fingerprints and a photo.

Who will need to give fingerprints and photo (biometrics)?

Everyone who applies for:

  • a visitor visa
  • a work or study permit (excluding U.S. nationals)
  • permanent residence, or
  • refugee or asylum status

To facilitate repeat travel to Canada, applicants for a visitor visa, study or work permit will only need to give their biometrics once every 10 years.

Depending on your nationality, you may need to give your biometrics as soon as this summer.

  • Starting July 31, 2018 – applicants from Europe, Middle East and Africa.
  • Starting December 31, 2018 – applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas.

There are some exemptions:

  • 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

Temporary exemption: Applying in Canada

If you are applying for a visa, study or work permit, or permanent residence in Canada – you are exempt until the in-Canada service is established.

How to do your biometrics

Go to the Visa application centre (VAC) nearest you to give your biometrics. The VAC does not have to be in your country. In the United States, you can go to any of 135 Application Support Centers.

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