Canada to expand biometrics program to all visa applicants

Canada is planning to expand its biometrics program to all foreign nationals applying for a visitor visa, a study or work permit (excluding US nationals), and to all those applying for permanent residence.

Biometrics are the measurement of an individual’s unique physical characteristics. For Canadian immigration programs, biometrics include fingerprints and a photograph of the face.

Currently, the Canadian Government collects biometrics from in-Canada asylum claimants and overseas refugee resettlement applicants; individuals who are ordered to be removed from Canada; and visa applicants from 30 countries.

The government believes that expanding biometrics will strengthen Canada’s immigration programs through effective screening (biometric collection, verification, and information-sharing with partner countries). It will also enable Canada to facilitate application processing and travel – while maintaining public confidence in the country’s immigration system.

“Each year, Canada welcomes millions of visitors and accepts hundreds of thousands of students, workers and permanent residents,” explained Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Immigration Minister. “Canadians understand the importance of immigration to our country’s economic and social well-being. By expanding our biometrics program, we facilitate entry into Canada and protect the integrity of our immigration system, by quickly and accurately establishing a traveller’s identity. A key feature of biometrics expansion is that temporary residents will only have to provide their biometrics once every 10 years,” he added.

The expansion of  the country’s biometrics program, which includes the implementation of new requirements for immigration applicants, an expanded biometrics collection service network and automated fingerprint verification at ports of entry, will be rolled out over the next two years.

Article published 11th April 2018