For immigration decisions, it’s important to accurately establish the identity of a person applying to come to Canada. It also helps keep Canadians safe.
For over 20 years, biometrics have played a role in supporting immigration screening and decision-making in Canada.
- Biometrics significantly reduce the chance that someone could pose as or be mistaken for another.
- Biometrics are recognized around the world as one of the most reliable ways to identify people.
For Canadian immigration, biometrics consists of taking the fingerprints and a photo of the face of an applicant.
We currently collects biometrics from:
- in-Canada refugee claimants,
- overseas refugee resettlement applicants,
- individuals ordered removed from Canada, and
- most foreign nationals applying for a visitor visa, work permit, or study permit.
Expansion in 2018
- Since July 31, 2018, the biometric screening program expanded to include foreign nationals from countries in Europe, the Middle East Africa, who apply for:
- a visitor visa,
- a study or work permit (excluding U.S. nationals), and
- permanent residence.
- As of December 31, 2018, the program extended to foreign nationals from countries in Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas.
- Verify the biometrics of these travellers on arrival at major Canadian airports.
- Expand the capacity to collect biometrics and conduct fingerprint verification (i.e. in the secondary services and inspections area) at additional ports of entry.
- Implement biometric-based information sharing arrangements with our Migration 5 partners, in a manner that respects:
- Canada’s privacy laws,
- civil liberties, and
- human rights commitments, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
- Biometrics expansion
- Why use biometrics?
- Biometrics: Collecting information and ensuring privacy
- Steps in the biometrics process as of 2018
- Implementing Arrangement between the Department of Citizenship and Immigration of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency, on the One Side, and the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America, on the Other Side, concerning Biometric Visa and Immigration Information Sharing.
- Annex to the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Citizenship and Immigration of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection of the Commonwealth of Australia Concerning the Exchange of Information on an Automated Basis.
- Annex to the Memorandum of Arrangement between the Department of Citizenship and Immigration of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency and the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (Immigration New Zealand) Concerning the Exchange of Information on an Automated Basis.
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