Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Biometrics

Due to COVID-19, some biometrics collection sites are closed or are not offering biometrics collection. These sites include certain

Check our website regularly to find out if the biometrics collection site closest to you has started offering collection services again.

Your application won’t be refused or closed if you can’t give your biometrics due to COVID-19 service disruptions.

Biometrics collection in Canada

Permanent residence applicants who need to give biometrics

Find out if you need to give your biometrics.

Service Canada Centres are gradually resuming biometrics collection services for permanent residence applicants who have received a biometric instruction letter (BIL).

Service Canada officers will call you at the telephone number you provided in your application to schedule your biometrics appointment. There is no additional fee to pay, and you don’t need a new BIL. Don’t go to a Service Canada Centre unless a Service Canada Officer calls you and schedules an appointment for you.

If your contact information has changed

Update it online or through our web form.

If you applied by using an authorized representative

If the telephone number on file is your representative’s, we’ll call them and ask them to check with you about your availability and preferred location. We’ll then call them a second time to schedule your appointment through them.

Who can get a biometrics appointment?

Biometrics collection services are currently available only for permanent residence applicants who have been contacted by a Service Canada officer and given a scheduled appointment.

Service Canada is calling those who have been waiting the longest to give their biometrics, based on

  • the date their application was submitted to us
  • where they live

If you’re in a region where there are a lot of people waiting to give their biometrics, like the Greater Toronto Area, it may take longer for Service Canada to call you. They will contact you as soon as they can.

If you miss your scheduled appointment

If you miss your scheduled appointment for any reason, including because you have COVID-19 symptoms, a Service Canada officer will call you again to schedule a new appointment.

Information you need to give the Service Canada officer

When the Service Canada officer calls, they’ll ask you to confirm your

Not every designated Service Canada Centre is collecting biometrics. The officer will help you find the closest available location.

Do not call the Service Canada call centre, as officers won’t be able to give you any information on the status of your application.

The Service Canada officer won’t ask you for any financial information. You have already paid your biometric fee.

What to bring to your biometrics appointment

Bring your BIL and your passport or travel document with you to your appointment.

Health and safety measures

Someone will greet you when you arrive at the Service Canada Centre. You must respect physical distancing measures. Non-medical face masks are strongly encouraged, and hand sanitizer will be available. We’ll provide materials to clean the biometrics collection equipment before you use it. Service will be as contact-free as possible, for example, while documents are being reviewed.

Do not visit a Service Canada Centre if you have

  • symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, a cough or difficulty breathing
  • had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days
  • been instructed by local public health authorities to self-isolate due to travel or contact history

Extension of biometrics deadline for permanent residence applicants

No application will be refused or closed if you aren’t able to give your biometrics within the period indicated on your BIL. This applies to you, even if your BIL says you have 30 or 90 days.

You don’t have to contact us for this extension, and you don’t need a new BIL. Bring your BIL to your new appointment.

If you can’t give your biometrics yet, do not go to another biometrics collection site, including

  • Canadian ports of entry (POEs)
  • other international biometrics collection sites

When Service Canada resumes collecting biometrics for all applicants in Canada, you’ll be able to make a new appointment at a designated Service Canada Centre. You won’t need a new BIL for your appointment.

Biometrics exemption for temporary residence applicants in Canada

As a temporary measure, you’re exempt from giving biometrics if you’re both of the following:

  • in Canada
  • applying or have an application in progress
    • to extend your stay as a student, worker or visitor
    • to restore your status as a student, worker or visitor
    • for a work or study permit
    • for a visitor visa
    • for a temporary resident permit

This exemption applies even if

  • your application form for a work permit, study permit or visitor visa says it’s for applicants outside Canada
  • our online application system asks you to pay a biometric fee (CAN$85)

This exemption does not apply if you’re outside Canada.

Biometric fee

You do not have to pay the biometric fee when you submit your application, even if the system tells you to pay it.

If you paid the fee,

  • we’ll automatically refund the fee once we finalize your application
  • the online application system will automatically send you a BIL, telling you how to give your biometrics
    • You do not need to give your biometrics, and you can ignore this letter.

Biometrics collection outside Canada

If the site closest to you is closed, we’ll automatically extend your deadline to give your biometrics.

You don’t have to give your biometrics until the sites start offering collection services again. This applies to you, even if your biometrics instruction letter (BIL) says you have 30 or 90 days.

You don’t have to contact us for this extension, and you don’t need a new BIL to make another appointment when sites reopen. Bring your original BIL to your new appointment to show proof of payment.

If you have a biometrics appointment scheduled

  • at a VAC—the VAC will tell you if your appointment is cancelled
  • at a US ASC—some ASCs are starting to reopen

As biometrics collection resumes, you’ll have to make a new appointment at a VAC or ASC. You won’t need a new BIL. Check the VAC or ASC website the day of your appointment to make sure it’s open.

When biometrics collection sites reopen

When biometrics collection resumes, you can give your biometrics, even if you can’t travel to Canada yet. VACs and ASCs are starting to reopen slowly.

Keep visiting for updates on when biometrics collection will start again. You should book an appointment as soon as the site closest to you starts offering the service again.

You just need to pay the biometric fee (CAN$85). Once you give your biometrics, the biometric fee is non-refundable.

If you apply for temporary residence, your biometrics

  • are valid for 10 years
  • can be used for another visitor visa, study permit or work permit application

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