Biometrics Are Here For Some Temporary Residents

head scanCIC has now introduced biometrics into the immigration system.  Biometrics are high tech methods to identify individuals.  They measure characteristics such as fingerprints and facial features which are placed into a computer for easy and accurate identification.

Why are biometrics being imposed?

CIC has been concerned that one individual would apply, and another would enter the country based on the former person’s application.  One person would pose for another.  Or one person would be mistaken for another.

CIC also cites the growing issue of identity theft around the globe, and expects that the biometrics program will help ensure that individuals using stolen identities won’t be able to enter Canada.

With biometrics, the chances of that happening are close to zero.

What will I have to provide to CIC?

Certain individuals seeking temporary residence will be required to visit a visa office or a Visa Application Centre (a contractor to the government) and get their fingerprints and photographs taken.  The fingerprints and photographs will be scanned into a computer and placed in the government database and be placed in the case management system.

They will be used for security checks, and to identify individuals as they cross the border into Canada.

Who has to provide biometrics?

Any citizen of the listed countries below will have to provide biometric data to CIC when applying for a visitor visa, study permit or work permit, as of the listed date:

Afghanistan December 11, 2013
Albania October 23, 2013
Algeria October 23, 2013
Bangladesh December 11, 2013
Burma (Myanmar) December 11, 2013
Cambodia December 11, 2013
Colombia September 4, 2013
Democratic Republic of Congo October 23, 2013
Egypt December 11, 2013
Eritrea October 23, 2013
Haiti September 4, 2013
Iran December 11, 2013
Iraq December 11, 2013
Jamaica September 4, 2013
Jordan December 11, 2013
Laos December 11, 2013
Lebanon December 11, 2013
Libya October 23, 2013
Nigeria October 23, 2013
Pakistan December 11, 2013
Palestinian Authority December 11, 2013
Saudi Arabia October 23, 2013
Somalia October 23, 2013
South Sudan October 23, 2013
Sri Lanka December 11, 2013
Sudan October 23, 2013
Syria December 11, 2013
Tunisia October 23, 2013
Vietnam December 11, 2013
Yemen December 11, 2013

Are there any exceptions?

Yes there are.  Individuals under 14 years of age, or 80 and older do not need to provide biometric data.  Diplomats and other government officials are also exempt in certain circumstances.

As well, those transiting through Canada for less than 48 hours to the United States are exempt if they hold a valid US visa.

Finally, those already in Canada who are eligible to apply for a temporary resident visa, study permit or work permit are also exempt.

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About the author

Gianpaolo Panusa Gianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada. Google+ Profile