Giving biometrics inside Canada
Posted on 04/12/2019
Do you have to give biometrics (digital fingerprints and digital photographs)? You can now give them in Canada.
We have pointed out that this would soon be happening here in our previous blog on biometrics. So, it has been announced that you can now give biometrics (digital fingerprints and eye scans) at collection points inside Canada, starting December 3, 2019. There are currently several types of biometric collection points both inside and outside of Canada:
- POE (Port of Entry): only certain kinds of workers and students are permitted to apply at a POE. Generally, the application is done at a VAC (Visa Application Centre) outside of Canada. You can give biometrics at a POE if you are eligible to apply, or if you are applying for a Temporary Resident Permit at your POE, which you have the right to do, but which is not the most reliable way to obtain an entry permit into Canada.
- SCO (Service Canada Centre/Office): these are offices run by Service Canada which are open for business during normal office hours (for example, the Service Canada Centre in Burnaby, BC is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.).
- ASC (Application Support Centre): these are visa offices located in the U.S. and its territories.
- VAC (Visa Application Centre): these are visa offices located around the world.
- Biometric collection points outside Canada have been operating for several years now. It is the collection points inside Canada that began operating on December 3, 2019.
So, starting December 3, 2019 if you are applying from inside Canada as one of the following:
- A foreign worker (includes if you are extending your work permit)
- An international student (includes if you are extending your study permit)
- A visitor who requires a visa to enter Canada
- Someone applying for permanent resident status from within Canada
Then you need to give biometrics at the newly opened biometric collection points inside of Canada. This will be at a designated Service Canada Centre. Go here to see collection locations inside and outside Canada, listed alphabetically.
Benefit to Refugees and Protected Persons
If you are in Canada:
- on a temporary resident permit, which is for people inadmissible to Canada who have been allowed to enter Canada for a period of time,
- as a refugee and/or for humanitarian and compassionate grounds,
now you can give biometrics without having to leave Canada. This shows why having biometric collection points in Canada is so essential. Otherwise, people in Canada claiming refugee or protected person status might have to leave Canada and be returned to either their home country or some third country where they might be at risk.
As well, if you are in Canada and you:
- want to apply for permanent residence,
- want to extend a study or work permit, or
- extend your stay as a visitor for other reasons
then you have to give biometrics as well. So, having biometric collection points at SCOs (Service Canada Centre/Office) means you can stay in Canada and provide biometrics. However, there is an exemption from this requirement.
If you have previously given biometrics during the last 10 years for:
- a visitor visa,
- a work permit, or
- a study permit,
then you don’t have to give biometrics again when applying for an extension or another visitor visa or work and/or study permit, as long as your biometrics are still valid. Go here to check the status of your biometrics.
Please note that if you are already in Canada, you should go to an SCO (Service Canada Centre/Office) rather than a Port of Entry which are land border crossings, maritime crossings (usually harbours) or airports. The only time you would give biometrics at a Port of Entry is when you are applying for TRP (Temporary Resident Permit) when you arrive in Canada, rather than at a VAC before you travel to Canada, as we explained above.
Please read our blog here on how to give biometrics.
Go here for information on how to pay the fee. The fees are as follows:
- CAD 85 for individuals
- CAD 170 maximum fee for families applying together (that is, you only pay double the fee for individuals no matter the size of your family)
- CAD 255 for groups of 3 or more performing artists and their staff who apply at the same time for a temporary work permit
In general, you first pay your biometrics fee and then you receive an instruction letter telling you where and when to give biometrics. Make sure you bring your passport with you as well as your instruction letter when you go to the biometrics collection point.
So, should you be applying for any type of visitor visa, work or study permit, or PR card, you should find the nearest biometric collection point to you by going here, and prepare to give biometrics easily and safely from within Canada.