ARCHIVED – Backgrounder — Biometrics in Canada’s Temporary Resident Program

With the passage of the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, the Government will be able to require biometric information from certain applicants as part of the visitor visa, study, and work permit application process. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), in partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), is leading the effort to introduce biometrics into Canada’s temporary resident program.

Starting in 2013, travellers, students and workers from certain visa-required countries and territories will be required to provide their digital fingerprints and have their photo taken upon application for a visitor visa to Canada. When a visa holder arrives at a Canadian port of entry, the CBSA will use this information to verify that the visa holder is the person to whom the visa was issued and to determine admissibility to Canada.

Biometrics are an effective tool that significantly reduce the chance that one individual could pose as or be mistaken for another individual. Using biometrics will strengthen the integrity of Canada’s immigration program by helping prevent known criminals, failed refugee claimants, and those previously deported from using a different identity to obtain a visa.

The use of biometrics will put Canada in line with many other countries which are now using, or preparing to use, biometrics in immigration and border management. These include the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, New Zealand, other countries in the European Union, Japan, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

CIC and its partners are working closely with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to ensure robust privacy protection for biometric data. Technological safeguards will ensure that client information is collected, stored, and transmitted securely.

Personal information of applicants will be used, retained, shared and disposed of in accordance with Canada’s privacy legislation.

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