Biometrics For A Canada Visa: Is it required? Not necessarily!

Read on to learn whether you’ll need to provide biometrics before your trip

You may have heard about the Canadian government’s new policy of requiring travelers to provide something called “biometrics” when entering the country. This can sound a bit complicated if you’re not familiar with the subject. So in this post, we break down the biometrics process, and who is (and is not!) required to submit their biometrics.

While many types of travelers are required to submit biometric information, there are different rules for travelers from approved countries who are traveling on an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Read on to learn whether you’ll need to provide biometrics before your trip.

What is “biometrics”?

In 2018, the Canadian government adopted the practice of collecting biometrics from certain travelers entering its borders. But what is biometrics? And who is required to give biometric information?

The word “biometrics,” in a general sense, means a series of measurements about a person, which are unique to that person. When it comes to the Canadian government, however, “biometrics” simply means:

  • Fingerprints
  • A photo was taken according to official specifications

If you’re one of the travelers required to give your biometrics to the Canadian government, you can’t just do it from home. You must go to an official biometrics collection service point and participate in a standardized procedure.

However, the biometrics requirement is only for certain types of travelers. Not all travelers must submit biometrics in order to receive an eTA. Read on to discover whether you fit the criteria for bypassing the biometric requirement.

But wait. My passport is already “biometric”. Is that different?

Yes, a biometric passport is something else entirely. The term “biometric,” when applied to passports, simply means that the passport carries a chip with information about the passport holder. Biometric passports are also called e-passports, ePassports, and digital passports.

The “biometrics” that the Canadian government is looking for is different. Travelers who are required to give their biometrics must show up in person to an official biometrics collection service point and go through an official process of supplying their fingerprints and personal information.

How do travelers supply their biometrics?

Travelers responsible for supplying biometrics must go through an official process. Fingerprints and photos must be supplied in person.

There are 5 steps to supplying biometrics:

  1. Identify whether you’re a traveler who is required to supply biometrics (more on that below)
  2. Pay your biometrics fee. This fee must be submitted with your visa application
  3. Receive your letter of instruction. The letter will confirm whether you need to submit biometrics, and also inform you of the closest official biometrics collection service point within your area
  4. Schedule an appointment with the service point to submit your biometrics
  5. Arrive at the service point at the appointed time and participate in the official process

But wait, you may not have to give your biometrics at all. The next two sections discuss who is and is not, responsible for supplying biometrics to the Canadian government.

Who has to give biometrics?

There are several categories of traveler responsible for supplying biometrics to the Canadian government. These travelers are typically traveling to the country for more than just short visits.
Canada typically seeks biometrics from visitors who are seeking:

  • work or study permits
  • work or study permit extensions
  • visitor visas
  • visitor visa extensions
  • permanent residence
  • refugee or asylum status

It’s important to note that travelers who have already given their biometrics within the past 10 years probably do not have to supply them again. And, if you are already eligible for an eTA, you most likely do not need to supply your biometrics. The next section covers travelers who are exempt from the biometrics requirement.

Who doesn’t have to give biometrics?

Many travelers are not required to give biometrics if they come from pre-approved countries are traveling on an eTA. In other words, all visa-exempt nationals holding an eTA are exempt from the biometrics requirement.

Am I exempt from the biometrics requirement?

Check our Evisa Express page,, for a list of countries whose citizens are eligible for an eTA. If your country of citizenship is on that list, chances are that you don’t have to give your biometrics at all.

I’m exempt! What’s the next step?

If your trip to Canada is coming up, the next step is to apply for your eTA through Evisa Express. With your valid passport and trip itinerary on hand, our application form is quick and easy to complete.

Our average processing time for applications is only 16 hours, and our success rate is 98%. Plus, our support team is available 24/7 for all inquiries involving applications and approved eTAs.

Evisa Express: You take care of your trip; we take care of your visa.

Dawid Stawiarski
11 March 2020
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