Please note that there are special biometrics policies in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regular rules may not apply — details are below.

COVID-19 biometrics updates

Service Canada re-opens biometrics appointment scheduling for in-Canada immigration applicants: As of Monday, November 30, immigration applicants who are residing inside Canada are able book their own biometrics appointments online (Source: IRCC). Clients should use the closest biometrics office to them for their appointment. Notably, IRCC’s temporary special measures exempting certain applicants from requiring biometrics during the pandemic remain in place.

Biometrics for immigration to Canada

Many applicants for immigration to Canada, or for a work permit, study permit, or visitor status, are required to provide biometrics before their application may be processed and approved.

The regulations on biometrics for immigration to Canada have changed over recent months and years, so it’s important to get the latest information on who needs to provide biometrics, and where. This is especially the case during the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected opening hours for Visa Application Centres (VAC) around the world and led to a temporary exemption for temporary residents applying from within Canada.

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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) states that having biometrics makes it easier for immigration and border services officers to stop individuals who pose a risk to the safety and security of Canadians. It also helps officials verify travellers’ identities, makes processing applications easier and simplifies entry for legitimate travellers.

Data to be collected includes electronic fingerprints, a digital photograph, and personal details of an applicant as listed on the biographic data page of the applicant’s passport or travel document.

Changes to biometrics policies during COVID-19

Immigration applicants have been struggling to complete the biometrics component of their applications during COVID-19. Applicants outside Canada are at the whim of their regional Visa Application Centre (VAC) some of which remain closed. Meanwhile, applicants inside Canada were unable to book in-person biometrics appointments for the bulk of 2020 until Service Canada re-opened to biometrics bookings in late November.

Additionally, there are two special measures in place in response to COVID-19 which directly impact biometrics policies:

#1 — Biometrics exemption for temporary resident applicants inside Canada

Canada announced that certain temporary resident applicants who are inside Canada will be exempt from the requirement to provide biometrics (Source: IRCC). This is a temporary measure introduced in response to COVID-19. The exemption includes those who are applying from within Canada:

  • to extend your stay as a student, worker or visitor
  • to restore your status as a student, worker or visitor
  • for a work or study permit
  • for a visitor visa
  • for a temporary resident permit

As well, this temporary measure does not apply if you are outside Canada. Those applying for permanent residence from within Canada are still required to provide biometrics (note that Service Canada locations in Canada are not yet processing biometrics and biometrics deadlines for PR applicants have been extended due to COVID-19).

#2 — Biometrics exemption for permanent resident applicants who have already submitted biometrics for a different immigration application

IRCC is introducing a new special measure for PR applicants who have already completed biometrics for a different immigration application within the past 10 years. These applicants will now be exempt from providing new biometrics with their PR application. Full details are available here.

Submitting biometrics from within Canada

Please note that there are special biometrics policies in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regular rules may not apply — details are here.

Normally, you need to give your fingerprints and photo (biometrics) if you’re applying within Canada as a:

In-Canada submission of biometrics began in December, 2019, making it easier for applicants for immigration to Canada (or for a work permit or study permit) applying within Canada as they no longer have to leave the country to provide biometrics. This saves applicants time, money, and stress as they apply for new status in Canada.

If you are required to provide biometrics after this temporary exemption is lifted, make sure you follow all the steps to give your biometrics, including paying the biometrics fee, when you apply. Find out if you need to give biometrics.

Before you go, you need to make an appointment to give your biometrics.

Submitting biometrics from outside Canada

Please note that there are special biometrics policies in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regular rules may not apply — details are here.

You can go to one of these official locations to give your biometrics:

  • visa application centres (VACs) worldwide; or
  • application support centers (ASCs) in the United States and its territories.

The expanded biometrics program affects those entering Canada to work, study, or immigrate permanently. Everyone applying for a visitor visa, a work permit or study permit (except US citizens), as well as all applicants for permanent residence or refugee or asylum status will need to provide biometrics.

Biometrics for IEC

The expansion of the requirement to submit biometrics as part of the Canadian immigration process has caused some confusion and disruption, particularly among applicants for a Canadian work permit under the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. To get information about biometrics for IEC specifically, please visit this page.

Find a Visa Application Centre: locations, contact details, and updates

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CityCountryWebsiteBiometricsUpdates
AbidjanIvory CoastIvory Coast VACBy appointment or walk inNone
Abu DhabiUnited Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates VACsBy appointment or walk inNone
AbujaNigeriaNigeria VACsBy appointment or walk inNone
AccraGhanaGhana VACBy appointment or walk inNone
Addis AbabaEthiopiaEthiopia VACBy appointment or walk inNone
AhmedabadIndiaIndia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
Al KhobarSaudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia VACsBy appointment or walk inNone
AlgiersAlgeriaAlgeria VACBy appointment or walk inNone
AlmatyKazakhstanKazakhstan VACBy appointment or walk inNone
AmmanJordanJordan VACBy appointment or walk inNone
AnkaraTurkeyTurkey VACsBy appointment or walk inNone
AntananarivoMadagascarMadagascar VACBy appointment or walk inNone
AsuncionParaguayParaguay VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services* & New service provider
AthensGreeceGreece VACBy appointment or walk inNone
AucklandNew ZealandNew Zealand VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
BakuAzerbaijanAzerbaijan VACBy appointment or walk inNone
BaliIndonesiaIndonesia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
BamakoMaliMali VACBy appointment or walk inNone
BangaloreIndiaIndia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
BangkokThailandThailand VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services
BeijingChinaChina VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
BeirutLebanonLebanon VACBy appointment or walk inNone
BelgradeSerbiaSerbia VACBy appointment or walk inNone
BerlinGermanyGermany VACsBy appointment or walk inOctober 25, 2018: Opening date
BishkekKyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan VACBy appointment or walk inNone
BogotaColombiaColombia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
BridgetownBarbadosBarbados VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
BrasiliaBrazilBrazil VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
BucharestRomaniaRomania VACBy appointment or walk inNone
Buenos AiresArgentinaArgentina VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
CairoEgyptEgypt VACBy appointment or walk inNone
CaliColombiaColombia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
Cape TownSouth AfricaSouth Africa VACBy appointment or walk inNone
CaracasVenezuelaVenezuela VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
CebuPhilippinesPhilippines VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
ChandigarhIndiaIndia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
ChengduChinaChina VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
ChennaiIndiaIndia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
ChisinauMoldovaMoldova VACBy appointment or walk inNone
ChittagongBangladeshBangladesh VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
ChongqingChinaChina VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
ColomboSri LankaSri Lanka VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
ConakryGuineaGuinea VACBy appointment or walk inNone
DakarSenegalSenegal VACBy appointment or walk inNone
Dar es SalaamTanzaniaTanzania VACBy appointment or walk inNone
DhakaBangladeshBangladesh VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
DohaQatarQatar VACBy appointment or walk inNone
DubaiUnited Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates VACsBy appointment or walk inNone
Dublin (Now open)IrelandIreland VACBy appointment or walk inMarch 1, 2019: Opening date
DushanbeTajikistanTajikistan VACBy appointment or walk inNone
DüsseldorfGermanyGermany VACBy appointment or walk inNone
ErbilIraqIraq VACBy appointment or walk inNone
GeorgetownGuyanaGuyana VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
GuangzhouChinaChina VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
Guatemala CityGuatemalaGuatemala VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
HangzhouChinaChina VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
HanoiVietnamVietnam VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
HarareZimbabweZimbabwe VACBy appointment or walk inNone
Ho Chi MinhVietnamVietnam VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
Hong KongHong Kong SARHong Kong VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
HyderabadIndiaIndia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
IslamabadPakistanPakistan VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
IstanbulTurkeyTurkey VACsBy appointment or walk inNone
JakartaIndonesiaIndonesia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
JalandharIndiaIndia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
JeddahSaudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia VACsBy appointment or walk inNone
JinanChinaChina VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
KampalaUgandaUganda VACBy appointment or walk inNone
KarachiPakistanPakistan VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
KathmanduNepalNepal VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
KigaliRwandaRwanda VACBy appointment or walk inNone
KingstonJamaicaJamaica VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
KinshasaDemocratic Rep. of CongoDemocratic Rep. of Congo VACBy appointment or walk inNone
KolkataIndiaIndia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
Kuala LumpurMalaysiaMalaysia VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
KunmingChinaChina VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
Kuwait CityKuwaitKuwait VACBy appointment or walk inNone
KyivUkraineUkraine VACsBy appointment or walk inNone
La PazBoliviaBolivia VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
LagosNigeriaNigeria VACsBy appointment or walk inNone
LahorePakistanPakistan VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
LimaPeruPeru VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
LondonUnited KingdomUnited Kingdom VACBy appointment or walk inNone
Los AngelesUnited StatesUnited States VACBy appointment onlyAs of April 1, 2019: no longer accepts study permit applications

As of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
LvivUkraineUkraine VACsBy appointment or walk inNone
LyonFranceFrance VACsBy appointment or walk inNone
MadridSpainSpain VACBy appointment or walk inNone
ManaguaNicaraguaNicaragua VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
ManilaPhilippinesPhilippines VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
MedellinColombiaColombia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
MelbourneAustraliaAustralia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
MendozaArgentinaArgentina VACs018: New set ofAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
Mexico CityMexicoMexico VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
Montego BayJamaicaJamaica VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
MontevideoUruguayUruguay VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
MoscowRussiaRussia VACsBy appointment or walk inNone
MumbaiIndiaIndia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
MuscatOmanOman VACBy appointment or walk inNone
NairobiKenyaKenya VACBy appointment or walk inNone
NanjingChinaChina VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
New DelhiIndiaIndia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
New YorkUnited StatesUnited States VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
NiameyNigerNiger VACBy appointment or walk inNone
OuagadougouBurkina FasoBurkina Faso VACBy appointment or walk inNone
Panama CityPanamaPanama VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
ParisFranceFrance VACBy appointment or walk inNone
Phnom PenhCambodiaCambodia VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
PodgoricaMontenegroMontenegro VACBy appointment or walk inNone
Port LouisMauritiusMauritius VACBy appointment or walk inNone
Port of SpainTrinidad and TobagoTrinidad and Tobago VACVACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
Port-au-Prince (New)  Opening soonHaitiAvailable November 2, 2018By appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
Porto AlegreBrazilBrazil VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
PretoriaSouth AfricaSouth Africa VACBy appointment or walk inNone
PristinaKosovoKosovo VACBy appointment or walk inNone
PuneIndiaIndia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
QuitoEcuadorEcuador VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
RabatMoroccoMorocco VACBy appointment or walk inNone
Rangoon (Yangon)Burma (Myanmar)Burma (Myanmar) VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
RecifeBrazilBrazil VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
Rio de JaneiroBrazilBrazil VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
RiyadhSaudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia VACsBy appointment or walk inNone
RomeItalyItaly VACBy appointment or walk inNone
Saint PetersburgRussiaRussia VACsBy appointment or walk inNone
San FranciscoUnited StatesUnited States VACsBy appointment onlyOnly offers biometrics services — no other immigration services available. Opened temporarily in November, 2020, to address backlogs caused by COVID-19.
San JoseCosta RicaCosta Rica VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
San SalvadorEl SalvadorEl Salvador VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
SantiagoChileChile VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
Santo DomingoDominican RepublicDominican Republic VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
Sao PauloBrazilBrazil VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
SarajevoBosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina VACBy appointment or walk inNone
SeattleUnited StatesUnited States VACsBy appointment onlyOnly offers biometrics services — no other immigration services available. Opened temporarily in November, 2020, to address backlogs caused by COVID-19.
SeoulSouth KoreaSouth Korea VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
ShanghaiChinaChina VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
ShenyangChinaChina VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
SingaporeSingaporeSingapore VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
SkopjeMacedoniaMacedonia VACBy appointment or walk inNone
SofiaBulgariaBulgaria VACBy appointment or walk inNone
StockholmSwedenSweden VACBy appointment or walk inNone
SuvaFijiFiji VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
SydneyAustraliaAustralia VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
SylhetBangladeshBangladesh VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
TaipeiTaiwanTaiwan VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
TbilisiGeorgiaGeorgia VACBy appointment or walk inNone
TegucigalpaHondurasHonduras VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018:
New set of services* & New service provider
Tel AvivIsraelIsraelVACBy appointment or walk inNone
TiranaAlbaniaAlbania VACBy appointment or walk inNone
TokyoJapanJapan VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
TunisTunisiaTunisia VACBy appointment or walk inNone
UlaanbaatarMongoliaMongolia VACBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
ViennaAustriaAustria VACBy appointment or walk inNone
VladivostokRussiaRussia VACsBy appointment or walk inNone
WarsawPolandPoland VACBy appointment or walk inNone
WuhanChinaChina VACsBy appointment onlyAs of November 2, 2018: New set of services*
YaoundéCameroonCameroon VACBy appointment or walk inNone
YerevanArmeniaArmenia VACBy appointment or walk inNone

Applicants must first apply to come to Canada through the proper channels on Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada’s website or by mail, and must have received a Biometrics Instruction Letter before providing their biometrics in support of an application.

Continued below…

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If you have recently supplied your biometrics in Canada, your biometric data will be backdated for a span of 10 ten years, so it will be a while before you may need to repeat the process. Repeat travellers to Canada only need to give their biometrics once every 10 years. However, individuals and families applying for permanent residence in Canada, including Express Entry applicants, will need to provide biometrics and pay the fee, regardless of whether biometrics were already provided to support a previous application to come to Canada.

IRCC will be able to determine whether an applicant has valid biometrics on file and will keep track of the biometric validity period.

There are some exemptions to the process:

  • Canadian citizens, citizenship applicants (including passport applicants), or existing permanent residents;
  • children under the age of 14;
  • applicants over the age of 79 (there is no upper age exemption for asylum claimants);
  • visa-exempt nationals coming to Canada as tourists who hold a valid Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA);
  • 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;
  • US visa holders transiting through Canada;
  • refugee claimants or protected persons who have already provided biometrics and are applying for a study or work permit; and
  • temporary resident applicants who have already provided biometrics in support of a permanent resident application that is still in progress.

Canada is not the only country to have implemented measures requiring certain foreign nationals to provide biometric data before being approved for entry. More than 70 countries worldwide use biometrics in their immigration processes. Governments, including the government of Canada, generally justify such measures as a means to help keep control of potential health and security risks, and to facilitate identification procedures.

The expansion of Canada’s biometrics program over 2018 and 2019 builds on existing measures. Canada currently collects biometrics from in-Canada refugee claimants and overseas refugee resettlement applicants, as well as individuals ordered removed from Canada and applying for authorisation to return, and individuals from any one of 30 specific countries applying for a temporary resident visa, work permit, or study permit.

Does it cost anything?

There will be a fee of $85 CAD for individual applicants, with families applying together at the same time paying a maximum total fee of $170 CAD. In addition, groups of three or more performing artists and their staff who apply for work permits are subject to a total fee capped at $255 CAD.

Where will this process be carried out?

There are a number of VACs set up around the world, as well as Application Support Centres in the US and, as of December 3, 2019 designated Service Canada Centres within Canada.

Primary inspection kiosks have been, or will be, set up in major Canadian airports. These kiosks automatically check your fingerprints and take your photo, running a check against the information you have already provided to ensure you are who you say you are.

If you have any questions about any aspects of the Canadian immigration process, you can book a consultation with a regulated Canadian immigration consultant who will be able to provide crucial answers and advice.

Find out if you’ll need to give biometrics

Find out if your biometrics are still valid

Do you have health insurance for Canada?

Many newcomers are not eligible for Canadian healthcare coverage when they first arrive.

Our partner, Cigna, offers newcomers a range of comprehensive health insurance policies for peace of mind. Explore your options with a free quote today!