Facts about biometrics

Who needs to give their fingerprints and photo (biometrics)

Normally, you need to give biometrics if you apply for

  • a visitor visa
  • a work or study permit (excluding US nationals)
  • permanent residence
  • refugee or asylum status
  • an extension of your stay in Canada, known as a visitor record (as of December 3, 2019)
  • a work or study permit extension (as of December 3, 2019)

There are some exemptions.

Due to COVID-19, anyone in Canada applying for temporary residence is exempt from giving biometrics. This temporary measure applies to you if you’re both of the following:

  • in Canada
  • applying or have an application in progress
    • 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

If you gave biometrics in the last 10 years for a visitor visa, work permit or study permit, and they’re still valid, you don’t have to give them again if you’re applying to visit, work or study.

Use the Check Status tool to find out if your biometrics are still valid.

If you have an alien’s passport you need to give your biometrics, regardless of the country that issued the passport.

Answer a few questions to find out if you need to give biometrics.

When to give your fingerprints and photo

You can only give your biometrics as part of an application you submit to us.

Read your instruction guide to find the steps in the application process and when you need to give your biometrics.

  • Example: if you apply for a visitor visa, study or work permit, you’ll need to give your biometrics before we start to process your application.

Find out how to give your biometrics.

How often you need to give your fingerprints and photo

Visitor visa, study and work permit applicants

You only need to give your biometrics once every 10 years. You don’t need to give your biometrics again until the 10-year period expires.

If you gave biometrics in the past as part of an application for a visitor visa, work or study permit and they’re still valid, you don’t need to give them again.

Find out if your biometrics are still valid and when they expire by using the Check Status Tool.

Permanent residence applicants

You’ll need to give your biometrics and pay the fee each time you apply, even if you gave your biometrics in the past for another application.

Find out how to give your biometrics.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: