This update discusses the new standards requiring biometrics to
be given by citizens of certain countries who apply for a temporary
resident visa in order to visit, study or work in Canada.
Just a few months ago, the Government of Canada announced that
requirements relating to the collection of biometric data from
certain foreign nationals seeking visas to enter Canada would come
into force in the near future.
Accordingly, by the end of 2013, the citizens of some thirty
countries will have to provide their biometrics if they wish to
obtain a Canadian visitor visa, study permit or work permit.
What biometrics will be collected?
The biometrics that will be collected are fingerprints and a
Why does this data need to be collected?
The purpose of the biometrics collection procedure is to allow
Canada's visa officers to confirm the identity of the
applicants. It will make it harder for individuals wishing to
falsify their identity or steal or use someone else's identity
and will resolve the problems that can arise when two people have
similar names, birthdates or birthplaces. It will also allow an
individual's identity to be confirmed the next time he or she
applies for entry into Canada.
Citizens of the countries concerned will have to present
themselves in person at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to give
The data will then be conveyed electronically to the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which will analyze it. Where the
RCMP does not find any negative information about the applicant, it
will notify the officer in charge of the application and the
application will follow its course.
Who and when?
Implementation of the new standards has already begun in certain
countries, while for others, they will become effective a little
later this year. By 2014, more than one hundred and thirty (130)
VACs throughout the world will be ready to collect biometrics from
the various applicants.
Here is a table of the effective dates announced by Citizenship
and Immigration Canada:
Are there any exemptions?
Citizens of one of the above countries or territory will not be
required to give their biometrics if they are:
Under 14 years old or 80 years old and over;
A diplomat, consular officer, representative or official of a
country, the United Nations or any of its agencies or any
intergovernmental organization that Canada is a member of;
Applying for a visa to transit through Canada for less than 48
hours, directly to or from the United States and hold a valid
United States entry visa, or
Already in Canada and eligible to apply to an office in
Since the biometrics requirements are being implemented
gradually, all the ins and out of the new procedures are still
unknown. So it will be interesting to see how the Government's
policies and standards evolve in this connection, more specifically
in relation to the opening and start-up of the various Visa
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