Canada is expanding its biometrics collection program for 2019. Now, nationals from countries in Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas — in addition to Europe, Middle East and Africa — will need to give their fingerprints and photo (biometrics) when applying for a visitor visa, study or work permit, or for permanent residence. This same rule has applied to applicants from countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa since July 31, 2018.
More than 70 countries are using biometrics in their immigration programs. “Collecting biometrics from most foreign travellers coming to Canada makes sense on so many levels: it strengthens the integrity of our immigration system, while helping protect the safety and security of Canadians,” says Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen. “Not only does biometrics collection give us a reliable, accurate tool to establish a traveller’s identity, but it also improves our ability to process applications and the entry of people upon arrival in Canada.”
Additional step in immigration application process
However, the biometrics requirement adds a new step in the application process, as applicants need to go in person to give their biometrics, normally at a visa application centre (VAC) before they come to Canada.
As a result, the Government of Canada has been expanding its worldwide network of VACs: there are now 152 VACs in 103 countries and allowing applicants to go to any VAC in any country they are legally allowed to enter. If already legally in the United States, applicants can go to one of 135 Application Support Centers.