Canada expands biometrics screening program to more foreign nationals
As of today all nationals from countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East are required to provide fingerprints and a digital photo when they apply for a Canadian visitor visa, a work or study permit, or permanent residence.
Before today the country collected biometrics from in-Canada refugee claimants and overseas refugee resettlement applicants, individuals ordered removed from Canada and individuals from 30 foreign nationalities applying for a temporary resident visa, work permit, or study permit.
According to a statement from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, using biometrics for accurate identity verification has played an important role in supporting immigration screening and decision-making in Canada for more than 20 years. Systematic fingerprint verification allows border service officers to confirm a traveler’s identity and better manage traffic flow at the border.
“Biometrics are a reliable and accurate tool to confirm the identity of legitimate travelers,” explained The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. “As of 2018, biometrics-required travelers may have their fingerprints verified by border service officers during secondary examination at 57 ports of entry across Canada. This will help streamline the entry of genuine travelers, identify those who pose a security risk and stop known criminals from entering Canada”.
In an effort to make giving biometrics easier for travelers, the Government of Canada requires that temporary residents provide their biometrics only once every 10 years and is increasing its Visa Application Centre presence in the next 2 years. By November 2019, Canada will have a network of at least 157 VACs in 105 countries and applicants living in the U.S. can use the network of 135 U.S. Application Support Centers for biometrics collection.
More than 70 countries now use biometrics in immigration and border management including Canada’s Migration 5 partners – the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, and New Zealand. So have the 26 Schengen states in Europe, and other countries around the world like Japan, South Africa and India.