Steps in the biometrics process as of 2018

Step 1: Providing biometrics

By the end of 2018, all foreign nationals applying for a visitor visa, a work or study permit (except U.S. nationals), or permanent residence as well as all asylum seekers and refugee claimants will need to give their fingerprints and have their photo taken in addition to the personal information currently required.

Step 2: Applicant data transmission

Digital fingerprints will be sent electronically to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP); the photograph will be electronically stored in a database at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC); and the personal information will be automatically entered into IRCC’s case-processing system. Files will be encrypted, transmitted and stored through secure means.

Step 3: Fingerprint check

The RCMP will check fingerprints against criminal, refugee claimant, deportee and temporary resident application records.

Step 4: Final decision

If the RCMP finds no adverse information concerning the applicant, the case officer will be notified electronically and will complete the processing of the application. Adverse or ambiguous information from the RCMP will be analysed by a central assessment unit managed by IRCC before being passed on to the migration officer for a final decision. After the final decision, the applicant’s personal information and photograph will be sent to the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) case-processing system.

Step 5: Identity verification

When a traveller or immigrant arrives at a Canadian port of entry (POE), the CBSA will verify that he/she is the same person to whom the visa or permit was issued. The photo taken abroad will be available for the border officer to visually compare with the person who appears at the POE.

At the major airports, fingerprints will be verified automatically at a primary inspection kiosk. At the additional airports and land ports of entry, discretionary fingerprint checks will be conducted by a border services officer upon referral to secondary inspection. In both instances, the traveller’s identity will be checked to make sure that the person who wants to enter Canada is the same person who was approved overseas.

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