Biometrics Expansion

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.

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