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 biometrics collection service point

You must give your biometrics in person.

You need to make an appointment to give your biometrics.

Find a collection point 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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