June 21, 2023
Attention to all Canadian permanent residence applicants! Effective immediately, submitting biometrics is mandatory to complete your application. Biometrics refer to your fingerprints and facial recognition that will be used to verify your identity. This will help prevent fraud and identity theft, as well as ensure the safety and security of Canada’s borders.
Don’t forget to book your appointment at a designated biometric collection service location before submitting your application. For more information, visit the official website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Stay compliant and good luck with your application!

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The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has made significant changes to its policy regarding the collection of biometrics for permanent resident applicants. Effective June 14, all individuals applying for permanent residence must submit their biometrics, irrespective of whether they have previously submitted them for a temporary residence permit.

This revision represents a shift back to pre-pandemic procedures for permanent resident applications. During the COVID-19 pandemic, IRCC introduced a policy in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) that exempted PR applicants from submitting biometrics if they had already provided them with a temporary resident application within the preceding decade. However, with this new update to the published policy, this exemption will no longer be applicable.

The purpose of collecting biometrics is to establish an individual’s identity and verify their admissibility to Canada. Biometrics refer to unique physical characteristics such as fingerprints, facial recognition, and iris scans. By implementing this policy, IRCC seeks to uphold the safety and security of Canadians while ensuring that the immigration process remains fair and just.

Overall, this revision ensures that all permanent resident applicants undergo the same screening process. It eliminates any loopholes in the previous policy that may have allowed some individuals to bypass biometric screening.

PR Regular process resuming post-pandemic

In a proactive response to pandemic-related challenges in September 2020, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced a measure allowing PR applicants to use previously-submitted biometrics within a decade. This enabled applicants to progress in spite of temporary closures of Visa Application Centres (VACs). The IRCC recognized the importance of providing a pathway for newcomers already living in Canada.

With pandemic restrictions easing and reduced backlog, IRCC has since moved back to its pre-pandemic service standards. The department is now working at full capacity and able to process applications quickly. By resuming its regular process requiring all PR applicants to provide their biometrics, IRCC aims to enhance the consistency and effectiveness of the screening process.

An IRCC official clarified that this policy change applies only to PR applicants, not those seeking temporary resident status such as work, visitor or study visas. Additionally, temporary residents applying for an extension are exempt from resubmitting their biometrics. Overall, this change is a positive step towards ensuring a fair and consistent immigration process in Canada.

Biometric requirement for Permanent Residence applicants

IRCC, the Canadian immigration agency, requires applicants to provide their fingerprints and a photograph of their face as part of their initial application for any type of permit to live, work or visit Canada. The current fee to submit biometrics is $85 CAD. These biometric details are used to help keep Canadians safe and protect the integrity of the immigration system.

While mandatory for most immigration applications, there are some exemptions. Nationals from over 60 countries who do not require a visa to visit Canada are exempt from providing biometrics. However, all nationalities, including US citizens, must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before visiting Canada.

It is important to note that some applicants are exempt from providing biometric data when traveling to Canada. These include:

  • Canadian citizens, citizenship applicants (including passport applicants), or existing permanent residents
  • Children under the age of 14
  • Applicants over the age of 79 (there is no upper age exemption for asylum claimants)
  • Heads of state and heads of government
  • Cabinet ministers and accredited diplomats of other countries and the United Nations, coming to Canada on official business
  • U.S. visa holders transiting through Canada
  • Refugee claimants or protected persons who have already provided biometrics and are applying for a study or work permit
  • Temporary resident applicants who have already provided biometrics in support of a permanent resident application that is still in progress

These exemptions are in place to make the process more convenient for certain applicants while still maintaining the security and integrity of the Canadian immigration system.

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