A step-by-step look at Biometrics

Learn about where and how to give biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) when applying for a visa, study or work permit (excluding U.S. nationals), or permanent residence.

A step-by-step look at Biometrics

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Transcript: “A step-by-step look at Biometrics”

Video length: 4:32 minutes

The video begins by showing a globe, with the map of Canada highlighted in red. A number of arrows that originate from other parts of the globe terminate on different spots on the Canada map.

TEXT ON SCREEN: A step-by-step look at biometrics

The screen changes to show a man and a woman with suitcases. Three icons appear to their left that look like official documents. Beside the icons are the words “visa”, “permit” and “permanent residence”.

TEXT ON SCREEN: What are biometrics?

NARRATOR: If you are traveling to Canada and need a visa, permit or are applying for permanent residence, you may be required to give your biometrics – fingerprints and a photo.

The icons and text fade and are replaced by 2 icons: a fingerprint, and a person as if in a photograph.

NARRATOR: When you give your biometrics, it takes just a few minutes to have your fingerprints scanned and a photo taken to establish and confirm your identity.

The screen changes to the image of a hand on a fingerprint scanner. The screen changes again to the image of a camera – the camera’s flash goes off.

NARRATOR: Canada joins many countries that collect biometrics as a way to prevent identity fraud and to stop criminals from entering our country.

The screen changes to show a map of the world, with the map of Canada highlighted. Two icons appear, a masked face inside a circle with a line through it, and upright hand gesturing stop, placed in an octagon like a stop sign.

NARRATOR: Collecting and verifying your biometrics helps Canadian immigration and border services officers make sure you are who you say you are, which will facilitate your entry to Canada.

The screen changes to show a man standing in front of a female Canadian immigration and border services officer. The man has his hand placed on a fingerprint scanner. Two icons appear between the officer and the man: a fingerprint, and a person as if in a photograph. Green check marks appear in the icons.

NARRATOR: If you are applying for a visa or permit in person, and you need to give your biometrics, you can give your biometrics at the same time as you are submitting your application at a Visa Application Centre.

The screen changes to a large grey circle superimposed on a blue background. Text appears in the circle.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Where do you go to give your biometrics?

TEXT ON SCREEN: If you are applying in person

A representation of a visa and permit appear in the centre of the circle.

TEXT ON SCREEN: and need to give your biometrics

Two icons appear: a fingerprint and a camera.

The screen changes to show an office building.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Visa Application Centre (VAC)

TEXT ON SCREEN: authorized by the Government of Canada

NARRATOR: Visa Application Centres (VACs) are privately owned service providers authorized by the Government of Canada.

The screen changes to an image of 2 people being served in a Visa Application Centre

NARRATOR: Since 2000, VACs have helped provide administrative support services to visa applicants before, during and after their application is assessed at an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Provides administrative support services before, during and after assessment

NARRATOR: Tens of thousands of applicants around the world use VACs each year to apply to come to Canada.

NARRATOR: VAC agents will check that your application is complete and confirm that you have paid the correct fees.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Agents will check that your application is complete

An icon of a completed form appears beside the image of the people being served. A green check mark appears inside the icon.

TEXT ON SCREEN: and confirm that you have paid the correct fees.

The first icon fades, and another icon of a receipt appears on the opposite side of the screen. A green check mark appears inside the icon.

NARRATOR: They will then scan your fingerprints and take your photo.

TEXT ON SCREEN: They will then scan your fingerprints and take your photo.

The icon fades and is replaced by 2 icons: a fingerprint and a camera.

NARRATOR: If you are applying online and you need to give your biometrics, you will receive your Biometric Instruction Letter through your secure IRCC account.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Applying online

The screen changes to an image of an open laptop. The laptop displays the home page of IRCC’s website. A stylized envelope appears beside the laptop – the letter inside has an @ symbol on it.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Applying by mail

NARRATOR: If you are applying by mail, we will mail the Biometric Instruction Letter to you.

The stylized envelope fades and is replaced with a realistic envelope. The envelope is addressed to IRCC. The envelope slides off the right hand of the screen. Another envelope from IRCC slides in to replace it.

NARRATOR: If you are applying for temporary residence as a visitor, student or worker, you only need to enroll your biometrics once every 10 years.

The screen changes to show a man and a woman with their arms around each other, a man holding a book, and a construction worker. An icon of a calendar appears with the words “10 years” on it.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Applying for temporary residence as a visitor, student or worker

The screen changes to a solid blue background.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Where do you go to give biometrics?

NARRATOR: To give your biometric information, you will need to go in person to one of the following locations:

The screen changes to show 3 separate different office buildings.

TEXT ON SCREEN: One of the following locations:

NARRATOR: In Canada, at select Service Canada locations

A Canadian flag appears over the first office building.

TEXT ON SCREEN: In Canada, at select Service Canada locations

NARRATOR: In the United States, at Application Support Centers

An American flag appears over the second office building

TEXT ON SCREEN: In the U.S., at Application Support Centres

The first 2 buildings slide off the left of the screen, and a map of the world appears, with the office building to the left. Canada and the United States are highlighted in white, the rest of the world appears dark blue. White dots appear on the map to represent locations of Visa Application Centres around the world.

NARRATOR: Abroad, at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).

TEXT ON SCREEN: Abroad, at a Visa Application Centre

TEXT ON SCREEN: At more than 140 VACs around the world.

NARRATOR: Print your Biometric Instruction Letter and bring it with you,

The screen changes to show a small ink jet printer printing a document.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Print your biometric instruction letter

NARRATOR: along with your passport or travel document, to the nearest location that accepts biometric information.

The screen changes to show a generic passport, and a form that has “Biometric Instruction Letter” printed at the top.

TEXT ON SCREEN: along with your passport or travel document.

NARRATOR: Permanent residents can apply by mail. You can also apply for certain permanent resident programs online.

The screen changes to show an icon of a laptop computer and an envelope.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Permanent residents can apply online or by mail.

NARRATOR: However, VACs will not accept permanent resident applications.

The screen changes to an icon of a paper form. A large red circle with a line through it appears over the icon.

TEXT ON SCREEN: VACs will not accept permanent resident applications.

NARRATOR: VACs will collect your biometrics after you have received a Biometric Instruction Letter.

The screen changes to show 2 icons: a fingerprint and a person as if in a photograph.

TEXT ON SCREEN: VACs will collect your biometrics.

NARRATOR: If you intend to travel with family members who are 14 years old and over and 79 years old and under, they must have their fingerprints and photographs taken.

The screen changes to show a middle-aged man and woman standing together. Standing on the left of them is an adolescent girl, and on the right an elderly woman.

TEXT ON SCREEN: At least 14 years and not more than 79 years old.

The images and text shrink 50% on screen, and 2 icons appear: a fingerprint and a person as if in a photograph.

NARRATOR: The biometrics collection process is quick and easy.

The screen changes to show a fingerprint scanner.

TEXT ON SCREEN: How do you give your biometrics?

TEXT ON SCREEN: It’s quick and easy.

NARRATOR: For fingerprints, first show the palms of your hands. We must be able to see if you have anything on your hands that could prevent us obtaining high-quality fingerprints.

The screen changes to show 2 left-hand palms. The palm on the left side of the screen has nothing on it. The palm on the right side of the screen has a bandage on one finger. A circle with a green check mark appears over the palm on the left, while a circle with a red X appears over the palm with the bandage on the finger.

NARRATOR: Place the 4 fingers of your right hand flat on the scanner.

The screen changes to show a fingerprint scanner with a person’s 4 fingers of the right hand on it. Four images of fingerprints appear beside the right hand side of the scanner, with the words “Fingers: Right” over them.

NARRATOR: Then, do the same with your left hand.

The screen changes to show a fingerprint scanner with a person’s 4 fingers of the left hand on it. Four images of fingerprints appear beside the left hand side of the scanner, with the words “Fingers: Left” over them.

NARRATOR: Then, place both thumbs on the scanner at the same time.

The screen changes to show a fingerprint scanner with a person’s both thumbs on it. An image of a thumbprint appears with the groups of fingerprints on each side of the scanner, with the words “Thumbs: Left” and “Thumbs: Right” over them.

NARRATOR: For the photo, look right into the camera.

The screen changes to show 2 images of a woman’s face. The image on the left hand side shows the woman looking directly to the camera, while the image on the right hand side shows the woman with her head tilted slightly away from the camera. A circle with a green check mark appears over the image looking directly to the camera, while a circle with a red X appears over the image tilted slightly away from the camera.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Look into the camera.

NARRATOR: If you wear glasses, you will need to remove them.

The screen changes to show 2 images of a different woman’s face. The image on the left hand side shows the woman looking directly to the camera and not wearing glasses, while the image on the right hand side shows the woman looking directly to the camera, and wearing glasses. A circle with a green check mark appears over the image without glasses, while a circle with a red X appears over the image of the woman wearing glasses.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Remove your glasses.

NARRATOR: Your face must be seen clearly.

The screen changes to show 2 images of a different woman’s face. The image on the left hand side shows the woman looking directly to the camera and long hair parted neatly on both sides, while the image on the right hand side shows the woman looking directly to the camera, with some hair over a portion of the left side of her face. A circle with a green check mark appears over the image without hair on the face, while a circle with a red X appears over the image of the woman with hair partially covering her face.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Your face must be seen clearly.

NARRATOR: Do not frown or smile.

The screen changes to show 2 images of a man’s face. The image on the left has the man with a neutral expression, while the image on the right shows the man smiling. A circle with a green check mark appears over the image of the man with a neutral expression, while a circle with a red X appears over the image of the man smiling.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Do not frown or smile.

NARRATOR: That’s it! It only takes a few minutes. Your fingerprints, photograph and personal information will be carefully protected, stored in secure Government of Canada databases, and will be handled in line with Canada’s privacy laws.

The screen changes to show a number of secure vaults with icons of fingerprints, a person as if in a photograph, and a form. More icons appear on the front of the vaults – a padlock, a maple leaf and an eye.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Carefully protected, stored in secure Government of Canada databases, handled in line with Canada’s privacy laws.

NARRATOR: When you arrive in Canada, you may be asked to provide your biometrics again to verify your identity…

Screen changes to show a woman with a suitcase placing her hand on a fingerprint scanner in front of a male Canadian immigration and border officer sitting at a desk. In the background, 3 people are walking with suitcases, as in an airport. A Canadian flag with the words “Welcome” and “Bienvenue” appears in front of them. An icon of a fingerprint appears above the fingerprint scanner. A green check mark appears on the fingerprint.

NARRATOR: …or a border services officer will compare you to the photo in your passport and to the photo taken as part of your biometrics, which will appear on the officer’s computer screen.

The screen changes to show a computer monitor on a desk, and a hand holding a passport open to the photograph page. The man’s stylized photograph on the passport, and the computer monitor appear to match.

NARRATOR: Biometrics significantly reduces the chance that one person could pose as or be mistaken for another. Fingerprints are used worldwide as one of the most reliable ways to identify people.

The previous image fades into the background and is replaced with a blue screen.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Biometrics help protect your identity. Then switches to read: Prevents identity fraud. Then switches to read: Biometrics makes travel easier while keeping Canada safe.

NARRATOR: To find out more about biometrics, please visit Canada.ca/biometrics.

Screen changes to a montage of icons superimposed over a background of ones and zeroes: an image of a person, a fingerprint, a computer screen, a camera, a stylized globe, and a padlock.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Biometrics. Coming to Canada? Find out if you need to give biometrics. Canada.ca/biometrics

TEXT ON SCREEN: The Government of Canada is working in collaboration with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to ensure appropriate protections are in place when collecting, using and sharing applicants’ personal and biometric information. Find out more at Canada.ca/biometrics.

Background music slowly fades out as screen fades to black.

The IRCC corporate signature, and the copyright message “©Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 2018” are displayed.

Music ends. The Canada wordmark appears in the centre of the screen.

Video fades to black for a final time as the video ends.

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