What is the change? Canada has begun biometrics collection at 58 Service Canada locations across the country. With the opening of these new centers, foreign nationals who are submitting applications from within Canada are now required to provide biometrics.

What does the change mean? Those applying for work or study permits, visitor extensions or permanent residence from within Canada must provide their fingerprints and photo during the processing of their application. U.S. citizens are exempt from the requirement, as are Canadian citizens, temporary resident applicants who have provided biometrics for a pending permanent resident application, temporary resident applicants who are submitting a subsequent temporary resident application within the 10 years since biometrics enrollment, diplomatic passport holders, applicants under 14 or over 79, and refugee applicants.

  • Implementation time frame: The change took effect Dec. 3.
  • Visas/permits affected: Applications for permanent residence, work permits and study permits (including extensions), and visitor visa extension applications submitted within Canada.
  • Business impact: Affected applicants should plan to provide their biometrics during the processing of their application. After receiving a biometrics request letter from the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, applicants must schedule an appointment at a designated Service Canada biometrics collection center. Applicants who are traveling outside Canada when the request letter is issued may opt to sit for biometrics at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) outside Canada if more convenient.

Background: Canada began requiring biometrics in July 2018, and has gradually expanded the requirement to additional foreign nationals applying from abroad. The opening of the biometrics service centers in Canada marks the final phase, and eliminates the previous exemption for applicants applying from within Canada.

Analysis & Comments: Foreign nationals who are submitting applications from within Canada and are required to provide biometrics should factor in the additional time to complete the biometrics requirements, and should be sure to pay the applicable biometrics fees at the time of applying.

This alert was prepared by Garson LLP, an independent law firm, allied with Deloitte LLP in Canada.