Sas & Ing, Barristers & Solicitors, Immigration Law Centre

Canadian Immigration Lawyers Explain Biometrics Process

Meant to deter identity theft and improve screening, the Vancouver Immigration Lawyers at Sas & Ing explain the biometrics process and where it applies


Vancouver, BC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/18/2019 --The Canadian Immigration Lawyers at Sas & Ing have set out to explain the new biometrics process launched by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in a new blog.

Biometrics is an electronic identification system where select foreign nationals are required to provide a fingerprint scan and a digital photograph to the Canadian government before their application can be processed. Although the goal is to prevent identity theft and improve criminal screening, the process has been confusing and badly understood. For more, go to:

In January 2013, IRCC first introduced the identification and security measure known as biometrics. At its introduction, IRCC began requiring biometric information to support applications for temporary resident visas, work permits, and study permits for foreign nationals from 29 countries. In 2014, the collection of biometrics further expanded to include overseas refugee applicants.

On July 31, 2018, the Canadian government expanded the immigration biometrics requirements by having the program include foreign nationals applying from countries in Europe and Middle East Africa, as well as all applicants for permanent residence to Canada. On December 31, 2018, the program was further extended to apply to foreign nationals from Asia, Asia Pacific, and the Americas.

Given the staggered phases of implementation, the biometrics application process has confused many applicants regarding the process of when, where, and how to provide biometrics and whether applicants must meet these new requirements.

Applicants applying for permanent residency or temporary resident visas—including students, visitors, and workers—are required to undergo biometric collection.

Once a temporary resident has completed biometrics collection, he or she will be exempt from providing biometric information for the next 10 years, which will facilitate their entries or extended stays in Canada in the future. On the other hand, if an individual has previously made a temporary immigration application (such as a student or worker where biometrics were required) and is now applying for permanent residence, they must give new biometrics. The IRCC has provided an online questionnaire to determine when providing biometrics is required.

The article notes that there are several exceptions, including US citizens and travellers, from visa-exempt countries with a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) who plan to travel to Canada as visitors.

After determining whether providing biometrics is required for entry to Canada, the next step is to schedule an appointment at the nearest Visa Application Centre (VAC). The cost for an individual is $85 CAD and $170 CAD for a family. Currently, an applicant can give their biometrics at an overseas VAC or at 57 ports of entry to Canada. There are 137 VACs in 95 different countries where applicants can provide biometrics.

Whether an applicant is applying online or by mail, once the biometrics fee has been paid, an instruction letter will be issued from IRCC. It is essential that the applicant brings this letter and a valid passport with them when providing biometric information.

The blog also outlines information for providing biometrics information within Canada. To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent resident, or bringing in family members, email Catherine Sas at or call 1-604-689-5444.

About Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre
Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre, a Vancouver immigration law firm, has over 30 years of continued in-depth and comprehensive expertise in most aspects of Canadian Immigration practice. Sas & Ing have facilitated applications to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Service Canada, and Canada Border Services Agency. Catherine & Victor work closely with other lawyers specializing in Business, Employment, Tax, and Real Estate to provide comprehensive legal advice to companies and individuals as they navigate the regulatory requirements necessary for temporary or permanent establishment in Canada.

Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre
Catherine Sas
(604) 689-5444
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