The Government of Canada will require biometric data, including fingerprints and photos for most immigration applications from July 31, 2018. According to the new rules, anyone who applies for a visa to enter, study or work (other than US citizens), or permanent residence, will have to provide fingerprints and a photograph. For repeat trips to Canada, applicants will be required to provide their biometric data every 10 years. "By expanding our biometric program, we facilitate entry into Canada and protect the integrity of our immigration system, quickly and accurately identifying the identity of the traveler," said Canadian Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen.
The changes will take effect this summer, starting July 31, for applicants from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Applicants from all other regions, namely Asia, the Asia-Pacific region and the Americas, will be required to submit their biometrics as of December 31, 2018.
Biometrics is the measurement of an individual's unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints and facial features. The collected information is used to verify an individual’s identity. The use of biometric verification decreases the chances of mistaken or false identity.
Biometrics also help prevent:
Some exemptions to the biometrics requirement include:
A temporary exemption is put in place for anyone who is applying for a visa, study or work permit, or permanent residence inside Canada until service centres are established across the country.
There are currently 192 biometric service points in the United States and worldwide.
In an official statement, the Government of Canada reassures all future applicants that biometrics information is handled with the highest level of security and privacy. It is also stated that all information collected at a service point is deleted once it has been sent to the Canadian Immigration Biometrics Identification System.