In recognition of the ongoing service disruptions for those applying for Canadian permanent residence, IRCC is relaxing the biometrics requirements for some applicants.
IRCC has already created several biometrics exemptions for some temporary workers. Additionally, when IRCC introduced a two-stage student permit application process, students could receive approval-in-principal for their permit so they can begin their studies abroad and then provide biometrics at a later date.
These new regulations now expand biometric exemptions to some permanent residence applications.
Who is exempt from biometrics?
Permanent resident applicants are exempt from providing biometrics if they have previously provided them for another application in the 10-year period before they submitted their current permanent residence application.
This new policy benefits applicants who have previously worked or studied in Canada as they have most likely already provided biometrics for a previous temporary visa.
The new rules were announced on September 22, 2020 but are effective as of September 10, 2020. The rules will remain in effect until they are revoked by the Minister, presumably once the majority of biometric collection sites reopen.
I’m not exempt from the biometrics requirement, what do I do?
If you are applying for Canadian permanent residence but you do not fall under the new biometrics exemption, there are a few things you can do.
Depending on your location, there may be facilities that are collecting biometrics. If you are in Canada, IRCC is gradually resuming some services in a test pilot program. IRCC will contact applicants who need to provide biometrics and will schedule an appointment.
IRCC has also stated that they will not refuse an application for failure to provide biometrics. You will automatically be granted an extension while you wait until you are able to provide your biometrics.
What are biometrics and how do I get them?
To obtain biometrics for Canadian immigration, applicants must pay a fee of $85 and provide their fingerprints and a photo of themselves. Biometrics are collected at designated facilities both within Canada and abroad, often referred to as Visa Application Centres (VACs). Their purpose is to prevent immigration fraud and further verify your identity
Pre-COVID-19, anyone applying for an extension or a new work or student permit needed to provide biometrics. Individuals applying for permanent residence, asylum, or refugee status also need to provide biometrics.
Find out if the biometrics collection facility near you is open by clicking here