Find out if you need to give biometrics

As of the dates below, citizens of these countries and territory have to give their biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) within 30 days of when they submit an application for a visitor visa, study permit, or work permit.

List of countries and effective dates
Country Effective date
Afghanistan December 11, 2013
Albania October 23, 2013
Algeria October 23, 2013
Bangladesh December 11, 2013
Burma (Myanmar) December 11, 2013
Cambodia December 11, 2013
Colombia September 4, 2013
Democratic Republic of Congo October 23, 2013
Egypt December 11, 2013
Eritrea October 23, 2013
Haiti September 4, 2013
Iran December 11, 2013
Iraq December 11, 2013
Jamaica September 4, 2013
Jordan December 11, 2013
Laos December 11, 2013
Lebanon December 11, 2013
Libya October 23, 2013
Nigeria October 23, 2013
Pakistan December 11, 2013
Palestinian Authority December 11, 2013
Saudi Arabia October 23, 2013
Somalia October 23, 2013
South Sudan October 23, 2013
Sri Lanka December 11, 2013
Sudan October 23, 2013
Syria December 11, 2013
Tunisia October 23, 2013
Vietnam December 11, 2013
Yemen December 11, 2013
Applicants with multiple citizenships

You must use the same travel document for the entire application process. Use this same document when you go to give your biometrics at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or an Application Support Centre (ASC).

If you have already submitted your application and you would like to change the nationality on your application, you must:

  • withdraw your application. To do this, contact the visa office responsible for your country or territory,
  • submit a new application and pay the applicable fees.

Please note that if you give your biometric information before you withdraw your application, the biometric fee will not be refunded.

Exemptions

If you are from one of the countries or territory above, you do not need to give your biometrics to visit Canada if you are:

  • under 14 years old or 80 years old and over (if you are close to your 80th birthday, read important information about where you can give your biometrics),
  • a diplomat, consular officer, representative, or official of:
    • a country,
    • the United Nations or any of its agencies,
    • any intergovernmental organization that Canada is a member of,

    and you are travelling to Canada on official business (any family members travelling with you are also exempt),

  • applying for a visa to transit through Canada for less than 48 hours, directly to or from the United States and you hold a valid United States entry visa, or
  • already in Canada and are eligible to apply for a visitor (temporary resident) visa, study permit or work permit to an office in Canada.
Pay the biometric fee

When you apply for a visitor visa, study permit or work permit, you have to pay an application fee. You also need to pay a biometric fee of $85 CAD per person. Families applying together for a visitor visa pay a maximum biometric fee of up to $170 CAD.

You can pay both your application fee and the biometric fee the same way. The website of the visa office that serves the country or region you are applying from has more information on fees, including how to pay them.

Make sure you pay all the correct fees when you submit your application to avoid any delays in processing.

Note: If you submit your application in person at a visa application centre (VAC) before the effective date for your country, you do not need to pay the $85 CAD biometric fee and you will get certain VAC application services at no cost. Find your closest VAC.

Visa application centre (VAC) application services included in the biometric fee:

If you submit your application in person at a VAC, the biometric fee covers the cost of collecting your biometrics and handling your application. This includes making sure your application is complete, sending it to the visa office and telling you when your passport or travel documents have been sent back.

Give your fingerprints and photograph

Giving your fingerprints and photograph is a safe, fast, and clean process that only takes about five minutes to complete. An operator will take a digital photograph of your face and ask you to put your fingers on a glass screen to be scanned. You can find out more about how to give your fingerprints and photograph from our video or brochure.

If applying from outside the United States — Go to a Visa Application Centre (VAC)

Note: If you need to give your biometrics, please do not mail in your application. Submit your application online or in person at a visa application centre (VAC). In either case, you will need to go to a VAC to give your biometrics. Find your closest VAC.

 If you apply online:

  • CIC will send you a biometric instruction letter by email through your MyCIC account when we receive your application. Read this letter, print a copy and bring it, along with your passport or other travel document, to a visa application centre (VAC) to give your biometrics. Find your closest VAC.

If you submit a paper application in person to a visa application centre (VAC):

  • Give your biometrics when you submit your application. VAC staff will check that your application is complete and will confirm that you have paid the correct fees before you can give your biometrics.
  • Find your closest VAC.
If applying from within the United States — Go to an Application Support Centre (ASC)
  • If you need to give your biometrics, you can no longer mail in your application to a Canadian visa office in the U.S. You must now apply online.
  • CIC will send you a biometric instruction letter by mail or by email through your MyCIC account when we receive your online application. Read this letter, print a copy and bring it, along with your passport or other travel document, to an Application Support Centre (ASC) to give your biometrics.
  • Go to an ASC to give your biometrics between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. You do not need to make an appointment.
  • Go to the ASC that is closest to the zip code you gave on your application.
  • Your $85 CAD biometric fee covers the cost of having your biometrics taken at the ASC.
  • ASCs do not accept immigrant or temporary resident applications and cannot provide information or application handling services.
  • Find your closest ASC.
Reduce application delays
  • Do not mail in your application. Either apply online or in person at a visa application centre (VAC).
  • Pay both the application fee and the biometric fee when you submit your application.
  • Give your biometrics at the same time as you apply at a visa application centre (VAC), or within a few days of getting your biometric instruction letter.
  • Consider travel time when planning if you need to travel to visit a VAC or Application Support Center (ASC).
  • If you can, make sure all family members who apply for a visa go to the same VAC or ASC at the same time to give biometrics.
  • If you have a temporary injury or decoration (such as henna) on your face or hands, wait until the injury has healed or the decoration has faded completely before you give your biometrics.
    • A temporary injury or medical condition is one that will likely heal or improve over time, and can include:
      • bandaged face or fingers due to minor cuts or burns,
      • rashes and other temporary skin conditions.
  • If you have a permanent injury or condition on your face or hands, go to a VAC or ASC to have your photograph and any available fingerprints taken. A permanent injury or medical condition is one that will not heal or improve over time. Bring any documentation you have about your condition.
  • If you are about to reach your 80th birthday, please note that VACs cannot collect biometrics from applicants 80 years of age and over. If you are 79 years old when you submit your application, but you turn 80 years old before you give your biometrics, you must contact your Canadian visa office to make arrangements to have your biometrics collected there. If you are in the United States, you can still give your biometrics at the nearest US Application Support Centre.
Arriving in Canada

When you arrive in Canada, a CBSA border services officer will use your biometrics to verify that you are the same person the visa was given to.

Find out more about what to expect when you arrive in Canada.

Your privacy will be protected

Your fingerprints, photograph, and the personal information you gave in your application will be handled in line with Canada’s privacy laws.

Your personal information will be kept safe. Your biometric information will be encrypted and sent by a secure connection to the Government of Canada and stored in a secure database. It will then be deleted from the VAC or ASC computer system. Staff at VACs and ASCs will not have access to your biometric information.

Find out more about the use and storage of your personal information.

Biometric collection service points

Text version: VAC locations by country.

By 2014, there will be more than 130 VACs in over 90 countries and all VACs will be equipped to collect biometric information (fingerprints and photograph).

Keep checking this website to find out when your closest VAC will offer biometric services.

Services offered by Visa Application Centres (VAC).

Date Modified: