Canada Expands Collection of Visitors’ Biometrics

Canada Expands Collection of Visitors' Biometrics

The Canadian government has expanded its biometric border program, with visitors from the APAC and Americas regions now required to submit their fingerprints and photos.

It’s the concluding phase of a biometric program announced in the first half of 2018. The first phase, implemented on July 31st, introduced the biometric registration requirement for nationals coming to Canada from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. With some exceptions, the requirement applied to individuals seeking visas, work or study permits, and permanent residence, with Canadian authorities asking such individuals to register their biometrics at their domestic Visa Application Centres. This can now be done at 152 VACs in 103 countries, and at 135 Application Support Centers in the US.

The requirement’s expansion to individuals from Asia, the Asia Pacific region, and the Americas took effect on December 31st.

In announcing this latest measure, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada agency noted that it is working with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to ensure that appropriate privacy protections are in place with respect to visitors’ biometric data.

Meanwhile, the country’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, asserted that the biometric registration “strengthens the integrity of our immigration system, while helping protect the safety and security of Canadians,” adding, “Not only does biometrics collection give us a reliable, accurate tool to establish a traveller’s identity, but it also improves our ability to process applications and the entry of people upon arrival in Canada”.

January 2, 2019 – by Alex Perala