How to give your fingerprints and photo (biometrics)

  • If you’re applying for the first time, you need to give your biometrics (unless you’re exempt).
  • If you’ve given your biometrics before as part of an application for a visitor visa or study or work permit, your biometrics are probably still valid.
    • Find out if your biometrics are still valid and when they expire by using the Check Status tool.
    • If they’re still valid, you don’t have to give your biometrics again.

Steps to give your biometrics

1. Pay the biometric fee

You must pay the biometric fee when you submit your application, or you may experience delays.

Exception: There is no fee to give biometrics for a transit visa.

2. Get the biometric instruction letter

After you pay the biometric fee, you’ll get a letter confirming that you need to give your biometrics and telling you where you can go.

You need to bring this letter when you give your biometrics.

You also need to bring your valid passport.

Asylum claimants and protected persons with no passport

If you’ve been issued a biometric instruction letter but you don’t have a passport, you must bring one of the following documents to your appointment:

This exception applies to you if you’re

  • an asylum claimant, and your claim
    • is in process
    • has been found ineligible
    • has been rejected by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB)
  • a protected person, including people
    • whose asylum claims have been accepted by the IRB
    • who have been successful in a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment application

How fast you get the letter depends on how you apply and when you pay for your biometrics fees. Answer a few questions to find out.

If you apply online for a visitor visa, study or work permit

  • If you pay the biometrics fee when you submit your application
    • You’ll get the letter in your account message box within 24 hours of applying.
      • We’ll send you an email to let you know that you have a new message.
  • If you pay the biometrics fee after you submit your application
    • It can take several days before you get the letter.
      • We’ll send you an email to let you know that you have a new message.

We can only start to process your application after you pay for and give your biometrics.

If you apply online for permanent residence

  • If you submit a complete application and pay the biometrics fee at the same time
    • You’ll get the letter in your account message box within several days or several weeks.
      • We’ll send you an email to let you know that you have a new message.
  • If you pay the biometrics fee after you submit your application
    • It can take several weeks before you get the letter.
      • We’ll send you an email to let you know that you have a new message.

If you send your application by mail for a visitor visa, study or work permit

  • If you pay the biometrics fee when you submit your application
    • You’ll get the letter by mail several weeks after we receive your application and payment.
  • If you pay the biometrics fee after you submit your application
    • It can take several weeks before you get the letter by mail.

If you send your application for permanent residence

  • If you submit a complete application and pay the biometrics fee at the same time
    • You’ll get the letter by mail several days or even several weeks after we receive your application and payment.
  • If you pay the biometrics fee after you submit your application
    • It can take several weeks before you get the letter by mail.

If you apply at a visa application centre (VAC)

If you submit a paper application in person at a VAC
  • You must book an appointment to give your biometrics.
  • You can then give your biometrics when you submit your application at the VAC.
  • You don’t need a letter.
If you submit your application online at a VAC
  • If you pay the biometrics fee when you submit your application
    • You’ll get the letter in your account message box within 24 hours of applying.
      • We’ll send you an email to let you know that you have a new message.
    • You must book an appointment to give your biometrics once you get this letter.
    • You can then go back to the VAC to give your biometrics (bring your letter).
  • If you pay the biometrics fee after you submit your application
    • It can take several days before you get the letter.
      • We’ll send you an email to let you know that you have a new message.
    • You must book an appointment to give your biometrics once you get this letter.
    • You can then go back to the VAC to give your biometrics (bring your letter).

3. Go to an official biometric collection site

You must give your biometrics in person.

You need to make an appointment to give your biometrics. Book your appointment as soon as you get your biometric instruction letter.

Due to high demand for biometric appointments in Europe, we are extending some applicants’ deadlines to give biometrics.

Ukrainian nationals and their family members

Find out about biometric measures in place for you

Other applicants affected by high demand for appointments in Europe

Book your biometric appointment as soon as you can to avoid processing delays.

If you can’t book an appointment by the deadline on your biometric instruction letter, we’ll automatically extend your deadline by 30 more days. That means you have 60 days to give biometrics if

  • you received your biometric instruction letter on or after March 17, 2022 (check the date at the top of the letter) and
  • your country of residence on your application is on the list of eligible countries of residence below
Eligible countries of residence
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Czech Republic
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Moldova
  • (The) Netherlands
  • (Republic of) North Macedonia
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom

You don’t need to contact us for this extension. You automatically have 60 days to give your biometrics if your country of residence is on the list of eligible countries of residence.

If you still need more time or your country of residence is not on the list above

You must use the web form to tell us if

  • you still need more time
  • your country of residence is not on the list and you’re affected by the delays in Europe

When you fill out the web form, make sure you provide details about your situation. For example, if you weren’t able to get an appointment until after the deadline on your biometric instruction letter, tell us the date and location of your appointment.

You don’t need to send more than one web form request to ask for more time.

Applicants affected by COVID-19

Find out what to do if you can’t give your biometrics in time

Find a collection site close to you

Tips to get the best photos and fingerprints during your biometrics appointment

  • Keep your hands henna-free for your appointment.
  • Let temporary injuries, cuts, cracks on your fingers heal before giving your biometrics.
  • Avoid wearing light color clothing or head gear. Wear bright colours instead.
    • Head gear is allowed for religious purposes only. However, when you have your photo taken, your whole face must be clearly visible.

Note: If we can’t get high quality fingerprints during your appointment, you may need to give your biometrics again at a later date.

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