Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Biometrics

Tell us where you’re applying from to find out what to do for your biometrics.

As a temporary measure, we’ve made some changes to biometrics requirements. You may be exempt from having to give your biometrics.

If you’re not exempt and you have your BIL, you can make an appointment to give your biometrics at a designated Service Canada office. Most designated Service Canada offices are open again for biometric collection services.

Biometric exemptions

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.

Biometrics exemption for permanent residence applicants who have given biometrics within the last 10 years

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

  • already applied or are applying for permanent residence
  • given your biometrics within the last 10 years

Biometric fee

If you meet one of the above 2 exemptions, you don’t 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 it once we finalize your application.

Find out if you need to give your biometrics.

Who needs to give biometrics

Permanent residence applicants who have not given biometrics within the last 10 years

Designated Service Canada Centres have resumed biometrics collection services for permanent residence applicants who have received a biometric instruction letter (BIL) and have not given their biometrics within the last 10 years.

Biometrics collection services are currently available only for permanent residence applicants who have a scheduled appointment.

Find out if you need to give your biometrics.

How to book an appointment to give biometrics

As of November 30, 2020, if you got a BIL and are not exempt from the requirement to give your biometrics, you can use the Service Canada Appointment System to schedule your appointment.

Your application won’t be refused or closed if you can’t give your biometrics within the deadline indicated on your BIL (30 or 90 days). You don’t need a new BIL to make an appointment and there is no additional fee to pay.

Don’t go to a Service Canada Centre unless you have a scheduled appointment.

Find the closest open Service Canada biometrics collection site or click here to book your appointment

If you miss your scheduled appointment

If you miss your scheduled appointment for any reason, including reasons related to COVID-19, you can make a new appointment using the Service Canada Appointment System.

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 office. You must respect physical distancing measures. Non-medical face masks are required, 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.

Do not visit a Service Canada office 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

Biometrics collection outside Canada

Biometrics exemption for permanent residence applicants who have given biometrics within the last 10 years

As a temporary measure, you’re exempt from giving biometrics if you

  • are now applying or have already applied for permanent residence from in or outside Canada
  • have already given your biometrics within the last 10 years

Biometric fee

You don’t 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 it once we finalize your application.

Extension of biometrics deadline for permanent residence applicants who have not given biometrics within the last 10 years

If the biometrics collection 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 resumes

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

Keep visiting canada.ca/biometrics 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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