Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has proposed to introduce a Temporary Resident Biometrics Project, commencing in the Fall of 2013. Under this new project, nationals of certain countries will need to have their biometrics (including fingerprints and a digital photograph) taken in order to apply for any temporary resident visa, study permit, or work permit. Children, the elderly, and government officials and their family members travelling to Canada on official business may be exempt from this new requirement.
The countries whose citizens will be impacted by this change include:
CIC has proposed to start collecting this information on a mandatory basis from citizens of Colombia, Haiti and Jamaica in September 2013 and will roll out the requirement for citizens of other listed countries by December 2013 (with precise dates being subject to change).
The Biometrics Process
The implementation of a biometrics requirement will mean that many applicants will no longer be able to mail in their temporary resident visa, work permit or study permit applications. Rather, the applicant will need to appear in person to have his/her fingerprints and photograph taken at the time the application is submitted. In order to facilitate the process, CIC has indicated that it will be opening new Visa Application Centres (VACs) around the world.
Processing Times and Fees
While taking biometric information is not expected to increase the time it takes for CIC to process applications, it may impact the submission of the application as applicants will now need to apply in person. Additional time should be planned for making an in-person application, particularly when travel is involved.
The Government of Canada has also proposed a biometrics fee of $85 CAD per person, $170 CAD for a family, and $255 CAD for performing artists and their staff applying together for a work permit. This would be in addition to the normal temporary resident visa, work permit and study permit application processing fees.
Transition Period – Voluntary Biometrics
As CIC opens new VACs over the next year, affected nationals will be able to have their fingerprints and photograph taken on a voluntary basis. This service will be free of charge before the biometric requirement becomes mandatory.
Further information regarding the establishment of new VAC locations and dates on when the taking of biometrics will become a mandatory requirement for each country is expected to be announced in May 2013.
This document has been created for informational purposes only and does not contain a full analysis of the law, nor does it constitute a legal opinion of the Bomza Law Group.
For further information regarding this update or any other Canadian immigration matter, please contact the Bomza Law Group at 416-598-8849.
For further information with respect to US and Canadian immigration or to find out if you or a company employee is eligible for temporary or permanent relocation to Canada or the US, we invite you to contact our experienced immigration lawyers and attorneys by contacting the Bomza Law Group at:
1-800-993-9971 or by clicking here: “Contact Us”.