Canada to expand biometrics collection for visitors

Canada’s Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has unveiled plans to require all visitors to the country except for U.S. nationals to submit fingerprints and facial images for biometric identity verification, beginning later this year.

The country currently collects biometrics from refugee claimants and refugee resettlement applicants, as well as individuals removed from the country and from 30 countries. Biometric collection will be expanded to include all applicants for permanent residence, and all non-U.S. applicants for a visitor visa, study or work permit, with a biometric collection service network and automated fingerprint verification at ports of entry rolled out during 2018 and 2019.

“By expanding our biometrics program, we facilitate entry into Canada and protect the integrity of our immigration system, by quickly and accurately establishing a traveller’s identity,” says Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen. “A key feature of biometrics expansion is that temporary residents will only have to provide their biometrics once every 10 years.”

Biometric information can be collected at 192 Visa application centers globally or application support centers in the U.S. The Canadian government is inviting feedback on the proposed regulations until May 6, 2018.

“Biometrics screening helps keep Canadians safe,” comments Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale. “The collection and verification of biometrics, along with criminal and immigration screening and biometric-based information-sharing, will help prevent identity fraud, identify those who pose a security risk and stop known criminals from entering Canada.”

The Government of Canada announced a pilot for the Known Traveller Digital Identity prototype in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and partners earlier this year.

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