November 2, 2018 – Ottawa, ON – Canada is expanding its biometrics collection program and is now taking steps to prepare for December 31, 2018, when nationals from countries in Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas will need to give their biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) when applying for a visitor visa, study or work permit, or for permanent residence.
Collecting biometrics provides many benefits: It stops those who pose a risk to the safety and security of Canadians, while also helping officials better manage applicants’ identities, facilitating application processing, and simplifying entry for travellers with legitimate identities.
As most applicants need to give their biometrics before they come to Canada, the Government of Canada is expanding its worldwide network of Visa Application Centres (VACs) to make services more accessible to a wider audience. Today, new VACs have opened in the following locations:
· In Asia Pacific: Bali, Indonesia; Melbourne, Australia;
· In the Americas: Mendoza, Argentina; Porto Alegre and Recife, Brazil; Cali, Colombia; Santiago, Chile; and Bridgetown, Barbados;
- In Europe: Lyon, France; and Vienna, Austria.
Canada has successfully rolled out of the first phase of biometrics expansion for nationals from countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, who have been required to give their biometrics since July 31, 2018. Since this first phase of biometric expansion, Canada also opened the following VACs:
· Athens, Greece; Kigali, Rwanda; Stockholm, Sweden; Berlin, Germany; and Tel Aviv, Israel. Some of these VACs replace the temporary biometrics collection service locations that were opened in Europe to support the first phase of biometrics expansion.
By December 31, 2018, there will be 152 VACs in 103 countries, including a new VAC in Antananarivo, Madagascar, and Cape Town, South Africa. More VAC openings will be announced at a later date.
The Government of Canada will closely monitor the impact of the biometrics collection requirement to ensure that the level of service available meets the needs of applicants.
To make it as convenient as possible to give biometrics, Canada is allowing applicants to go to any VAC in any country they are legally allowed to enter, or, if already legally in the United States, to one of 135 U.S. Application Support Centers.
Canada is also increasing capacity at existing VACs, including the 12 VACs in China, 10 in India and 2 in the Philippines, to ensure they continue to meet the needs of biometrically-required applicants.
The Government of Canada takes its privacy obligations very seriously, and safeguards have been built into policies, procedures and technical systems. These policies are based on the best practices of international partners who are increasingly relying on biometrics.