Canada no longer requires permanent residence applicants to provide their biometric information as long as they have submitted their biometrics in another application within the last ten years.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has previously taken special measures due to the coronavirus pandemic such as allowing delays for biometric submissions if applicants are unable to submit them.
It is unknown as to when many of the biometric collection service points in Canada and abroad will continue their operations as normal.
These closures of service points and Visa Application Centres (VACs) have affected thousands of permanent residence applicants.
Many of these applicants had previously submitted their biometrics in a previous application.
In addition, IRCC said in a statement that Canada has a growing number of applications for permanent residence that cannot be processed because of the biometrics requirement.
As such, IRCC aims to alleviate further disruptions on such individuals by waiving the biometrics requirement in certain cases.
Eligible applicants and effective date
According to IRCC, this policy came into effect on September 10, 2020 and was operationalized on September 22, 2020. It will remain in effect indefinitely.
Eligible applicants who are exempt from biometrics collection requirements irrespective of whether they are currently in Canada or overseas are those with both of the following:
- a pending or new application for permanent residence
- previously submitted their biometrics within the 10-year period before the day on which they submitted their current permanent residence application
Canada has already exempted other foreign nationals from providing biometrics due to its recognition that COVID-19 disruptions may prevent them from doing so.
Biometrics are usually required for foreign nationals who seek to obtain a Canadian visitor visa, work or study permit (except U.S. nationals), refugee or asylum status, permanent residence, a visitor record, or to extend their work or study permit.
These individuals are required to submit their fingerprints, photograph, and pay a fee. Canada uses biometrics to confirm the identity of foreign nationals upon their entry to the country.
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