Mandatory Biometrics for Canadian Permanent Residence
The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has recently implemented an updated policy regarding the collection of biometrics for individuals applying for permanent residence in Canada. Effective from June 14, this new policy mandates that all permanent resident applicants, regardless of their previous submission of biometrics for temporary residence permits, must now submit their biometric information. This article will delve into the reasons behind this change, its implications for applicants, and the significance of biometrics in the immigration process.
Background on the Policy Update
During the COVID-19 pandemic, IRCC introduced a temporary policy in the Global Case Management System (GCMS), allowing permanent resident applicants to bypass resubmitting biometrics if they had previously provided them within the past 10 years for a temporary resident application. This measure was put in place due to the closure of Visa Application Centres (VACs) and the challenges faced by applicants in accessing these services.
As the pandemic situation improved and restrictions eased, IRCC gradually resumed its pre-pandemic service standards. With the reduction of application backlogs and the restoration of full operational capacity, IRCC has decided to reinstate the requirement for biometrics in all permanent resident applications.
Importance of Biometrics
Biometrics, encompassing the collection of fingerprints and facial photographs, play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of Canadians and safeguarding the integrity of the immigration system. By verifying an individual's identity beyond doubt, biometrics enable effective border control and help prevent identity fraud. They have become an essential tool in immigration processing worldwide, enhancing security measures and streamlining the assessment of applicants.
Implications for Permanent Resident Applicants
Under the new policy, anyone applying for permanent residence in Canada, regardless of their previous submission of biometrics for temporary residence permits, must now provide their biometric information. This change applies to both new applicants and individuals with ongoing permanent resident applications. It is essential for applicants to be aware of this requirement and prepare accordingly to avoid delays or complications in their immigration process.
Exemptions from Biometric Submission
While biometric submission is mandatory for most permanent resident applicants, certain individuals are exempt from this requirement. The following categories are not obligated to provide biometrics when traveling to Canada:
- Canadian citizens, citizenship applicants (including passport applicants), or existing permanent residents.
- Children under the age of 14.
- Applicants over the age of 79 (excluding asylum claimants).
- Heads of state, heads of government, and cabinet ministers or accredited diplomats from other countries and the United Nations, visiting Canada for official purposes.
- U.S. visa holders transiting through Canada.
- Refugee claimants or protected persons who have already submitted their biometrics and are applying for a study or work permit.
- Temporary resident applicants who have already provided biometrics in support of an ongoing permanent resident application.
Biometrics and Application Process
To facilitate the collection of biometrics, applicants are required to visit a designated biometric collection service point. These points are usually Visa Application Centres (VACs) located across various countries. It is important to note that a separate fee of $85 CAD is charged for the submission of biometrics, and this payment is made in addition to the relevant application fees.
Applicants must follow the instructions provided by IRCC regarding the biometric collection process. The fingerprints and facial photographs captured during this process will be securely stored and used for identity verification throughout the application process and beyond.
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