Starting tomorrow, July 31, 2018, most individuals who apply for a visitor visa, permanent residence, or refugee status, as well as all individuals applying for a work permit or a study permit (excluding U.S. nationals), will be required to provide their biometric data. Citizens of European, Middle Eastern, and African countries who are not already required to provide their biometrics must do so starting July 31, 2018. Exempt from this new requirement are existing permanent residents, children under 14, applicants over 79, and visa-exempt nationals entering Canada as tourists who are eTA holders. Under the biometrics program, certain foreign nationals are required to provide a fingerprint scan and a digital photo to the Canadian government before an immigration application can be processed. Biometrics help Canadian immigration officers confirm the identity and background of those traveling in and out of Canada. This information is used to detect the entry of those who may be found to pose a risk to the health, safety and security of Canadians.
On December 31, 2018, the biometric requirements will be further expanded to include citizens of countries in Asia, Asia Pacific, and Central and South America. In most cases, biometric information is valid for 10 years, therefore fingerprints and a photograph do not have to be provided for each new immigration application.
Given that the biometrics, in some instances, will be collected at Canadian ports of entry, travellers entering Canada should expect delays at airports and borders.