Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Biometrics

To find out what to do for your biometrics, tell us more about your situation.

Select your location

  • Inside Canada
  • Outside Canada

    Did you already submit your application?

    • Yes

      Did you apply before April 12, 2021?

    • No

Biometrics collection in Canada

As a temporary measure, we’ve made some changes to biometrics requirements.

  • You may be exempt from having to give your biometrics.
    • Don’t pay the biometrics fee if you’re exempt.
      • If you did pay the fee and you’re exempt, we’ll automatically refund it once we finalize your application.
  • At Service Canada locations
    • you’ll be asked to keep your mask on
    • we won’t take your photo when you give your fingerprints for biometrics

Biometrics exemptions for applicants in Canada

As a temporary measure, you’re exempt from giving biometrics if either of the following situations apply to you.

Applying for temporary residence

You’re exempt from giving biometrics if you’re both

  • in Canada and
  • 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.

Applying for permanent residence and have given biometrics in the last 10 years

You’re exempt from giving biometrics if you have already both:

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

How to book an appointment to give your biometrics

Step 1: Wait until we send you the biometrics instruction letter.

Step 2: Book your appointment using the Service Canada Appointment System.

Step 3: Make sure the Service Canada office is open before you go to your appointment.

If the Service Canada office is closed, you’ll receive an automated email telling you that your appointment has been cancelled. If that happens, you can book another appointment right away for a later date.

Step 4: Bring the right documents to your biometrics appointment.

When you go to your appointment, you must bring both

  • your biometrics instruction letter
  • a valid passport or travel document

Step 5: Follow the health and safety measures.

Someone will greet you when you arrive at the Service Canada office. You must respect physical distancing measures even when wearing a mask. Service will be contact-free.

  • Non-medical face masks are required. You’ll be asked to keep your mask on at all times.
    • Your photo won’t be taken.
    • You won’t need to provide your photo at a later date to support your current application.
  • You’ll still need to give your fingerprints.
  • We’ll use your fingerprints to process your current application.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available.
  • Cleaning supplies will be available for you to clean the biometrics collection equipment before you use it.

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

If you miss your appointment

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

Biometrics collection outside Canada (if you applied before April 12, 2021)

Many applicants can now give their biometrics, as most visa application centres (VACs) and U.S. Application Support Centers (ASCs) have reopened.

If you’re not exempt from giving biometrics, we need the biometrics to process your application. As a result, we’ll no longer automatically extend the deadline to give biometrics.

What happens next with your application

Once your local VAC or ASC is open, we’ll send you a final letter to ask you to give your biometrics.

  • You must respond within 30 days from the date on the letter.
  • To ensure that you can meet our deadline, try to book an appointment to give your biometrics before we contact you.
    • Appointment slots fill up quickly.
    • Many VACs and ASCs are operating with reduced hours.

Don’t travel to another city or country to give your biometrics.

If you can’t give your biometrics in time

If you can’t give your biometrics by our deadline, we may give you another 30-day extension if you

  • explain how you can’t meet the deadline due to COVID-19 (for example, if you weren’t able to get an appointment within 30 days, tell us the date of your appointment) and
  • follow the instructions in the letter to submit your explanation

Biometrics collection outside Canada (if you applied on or after April 12, 2021)

As a temporary measure, we’ve made some changes to biometrics requirements. If you’re not exempt from giving biometrics, we need the biometrics to process your application.

Applicants who have not given biometrics in the last 10 years

Many applicants can now give biometrics, as most visa application centres (VACs) and U.S. Application Support Centers (ASCs) are open.

  • Book an appointment as soon as possible.
    • Appointment slots fill up quickly.
    • Many VACs and ASCs are operating with reduced hours.

If you can’t give your biometrics in time

Your next steps depend on whether your local VAC or ASC is open.

If your VAC or ASC is open

If your VAC or ASC is open but you can’t give biometrics due to COVID-19, use the web form to tell us why you need more time.

Make sure you provide details about your situation: For example, if you weren’t able to get an appointment by the deadline on your biometrics instruction letter

  • tell us the date of your appointment
  • upload a screenshot of the appointment confirmation

If your local VAC or ASC is closed

Don’t travel to another city or country to give your biometrics.

If you can’t give your biometrics by the deadline on your biometrics instruction letter

  • you don’t need to contact us—we know the location is closed
  • we won’t refuse your application if you can’t give biometrics because the VAC or ASC is closed
  • visit your local VAC website for more information
    • if you hadn’t booked your appointment yet
      • book your biometrics appointments as soon as it reopens
    • if your biometrics appointment was cancelled
      • the VAC will contact you to book another appointment when it reopens

Biometrics collection outside Canada (if you haven’t applied yet)

As a temporary measure, we’ve made some changes to biometrics requirements.

If you’re a permanent residence applicant who has 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 and
  • have already given your biometrics to us 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.

If you haven’t given biometrics in the last 10 years

Many applicants can give biometrics, since most visa application centres (VACs) and U.S. Application Support Centers (ASCs) are open.

You must pay the biometric fee when you submit your application, or you may experience delays. After you pay the biometric fee, you’ll get a biometrics instruction letter confirming that you need to give your biometrics and telling you where you can go.

If your local VAC or ASC is open

If your VAC or ASC is open but you can’t give biometrics due to COVID-19, use the web form to tell us why you need more time.

Make sure you provide details about your situation: For example, if you weren’t able to get an appointment by the deadline on your biometrics instruction letter

  • tell us the date of your appointment
  • upload a screenshot of the appointment confirmation

If your local VAC or ASC is closed

Don’t travel to another city or country to give your biometrics.

If you can’t give your biometrics by the deadline on your biometrics instruction letter

  • you don’t need to contact us—we know the location is closed
  • we won’t refuse your application if you can’t give biometrics because the VAC or ASC is closed
  • visit your local VAC website for more information
    • if you haven’t booked your appointment yet
      • book your biometrics appointments as soon as it reopens
    • if your biometrics appointment was cancelled
      • the VAC will contact you to book another appointment when it reopens

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