Work permit and visa extension applicants: Biometrics collection exemption for temporary residence applicants who are applying from within Canada
IRCC collects biometric information (photo and fingerprints) from people (excluding US citizens) applying for visitor visas, work permits, study permits, permanent residence, refugee status or asylum, and some stay extensions for workers, students or visitors who are already in Canada. Here, biometric information is collected at Service Canada centres through a partnership between Service Canada and IRCC.
Service Canada closed its centres on March 27, 2020, due to ongoing public health concerns related to COVID‑19. Centres have slowly begun to reopen, but biometric collection services remain unavailable. Therefore, IRCC has put in place a public policy, effective until further notice, to exempt temporary residence applicants applying from within Canada from having to give their biometrics. Applicants are not required to pay the biometric fee, and those who have already paid the fee and have a pending temporary residence application will be refunded automatically.
IRCC will be able to resume processing temporary residence applications, helping applicants to move forward with their plans to work, study or extend their stay as a visitor in Canada. Applicants will continue to be screened to ensure the safety and security of all Canadians.
Applicants who are in Canada applying for any of the following will be covered by this public policy:
an extension of a work permit
a new work permit
an extension of a study permit
a new study permit
a visitor visa
a visitor record that allows an individual to stay in Canada as a temporary resident
restoration (extension) of temporary resident status
a temporary resident permit.
Who needs to give their fingerprints and photo (biometrics)
Normally, you need to give biometrics if you apply for
a visitor visa
a work or study permit (excluding US nationals)
refugee or asylum status
an extension of your stay in Canada, known as a visitor record (as of December 3, 2019)
a work or study permit extension (as of December 3, 2019)
There are some exemptions.
Due to COVID-19, anyone in Canada applying for temporary residence is exempt from giving biometrics. This temporary measure applies to you if you’re both of the following:
applying or have an application in progress
to extend your stay as a student, worker or visitor
to restore your status as a student, worker, or visitor
for a work or study permit
for a visitor visa
for a temporary resident permit
If you gave biometrics in the last 10 years for a visitor visa, work permit or study permit, and they’re still valid, you don’t have to give them again if you’re applying to visit, work or study.
The pandemic has had a major impact on learning institutions and students, including international students. IRCC recently announced new measures designed to help international students and nurture Canada’s reputation as a premier destination for international students.
The measures aim to support international students beginning a new program online this fall with a Canadian learning institution, provided that their institution is offering the program online, allowing students to pursue their education while ensuring everyone’s safety.
These new measures include
Providing priority study permit processing for students who have submitted a complete application online, to ensure that permits are processed as quickly as possible
Allowing students to count the time spent pursuing their studies online abroad toward their eligibility for a post-graduation work permit, as long as 50% or more of their program is completed in Canada
Introducing a temporary 2-stage approval process for study permit applicants who can’t submit a complete application at this time. Applicants will be notified if they pass an initial eligibility stage of approval, and when they are able to complete the biometrics, police certificate and medical exam requirements, they will be assessed for a final approval. While first-stage approval doesn’t guarantee a final approval, it does provide some reassurance to international students who choose to begin their program online from abroad that they will eventually be able to complete their educational experience in Canada.
This 2-stage process is available to students starting a program in the fall 2020 semester or earlier who submit a study permit application before September 15, 2020. These measures will reassure students that they can enrol and begin their studies this fall online and be ready to come to Canada when travel restrictions change.