By Katie Van Nostrand, Natasha Lakhani

Firm: Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP

In 2018, biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) became compulsory for citizens from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Asia-Pacific and the Americas applying to enter Canada. Biometrics are collected once every ten years at a cost of CAD 85 per person aged 14-79.

Currently, biometric collection centres are only available at ports of entry into Canada as well as at locations abroad: there are no collection centres inside of Canada. Until Canadian biometric facilities are open, applicants applying from within Canada are exempt from having to provide biometrics under public policy.

It is important that applicants applying from within Canada apply to extend or change their status ‘in Canada’ as opposed to applying through their country of citizenship, for example, with the hope of faster processing. If an applicant in Canada applies to a Canadian visa office abroad, they will be asked to provide their biometrics (if they have not already done so), meaning they will be required to attend at a biometric collection centre in the US (or their home country) before their application can be finalised. This could of course cause unneeded disruption, frustration and expense.

IRCC has advised that in December 2019, in-Canada biometric services will be available at 58 Service Canada and Passport Canada sites across Canada.