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Canada Considering Expanding Biometrics Imposed on Travelers

“Canadians are invited to provide input on new regulations to expand Canada’s Biometrics Program”, this is the headline of a press release issued by the Canadian government earlier this month.

Canada Considering Expanding Biometrics Imposed On Travelers

The press release opens with the statement that, Canada has long had one of the highest per capita rates of immigration in the world and is an attractive destination for immigrants and visitors. Adding that this necessitates accurately establishing the identity of all travelers in an ongoing effort to keep Canadians safe. The departments adds that for more than 20 years, biometrics have played a role in supporting immigration screening and decision-making in Canada.


Biometrics is the measurement of unique physical characteristics and includes fingerprints and a photograph of the face.

“Each year, Canada welcomes millions of visitors and accepts hundreds of thousands of students, workers and permanent residents. Canadians understand the importance of immigration to our country’s economic and social well-being. By expanding our biometrics program, we facilitate entry into Canada and protect the integrity of our immigration system, by quickly and accurately establishing a traveler’s identity. A key feature of biometrics expansion is that temporary residents will only have to provide their biometrics once every 10 years,” said Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship.

Canada plans to collect biometric information from all foreign nationals (excluding U.S. nationals) applying for a temporary resident visa, work permit, study permit, or temporary resident permit; and all permanent residence applicants.

The country also plans on sharing biometric between them and the U.S. and aims to introduce automated biometric-based information-sharing with the other their Migration 5 partners nl; Australia, United Kingdom, and New Zealand.

Here’s the rest of the press release

In 2018, Canada intends to expand its biometrics program to all foreign nationals applying for a visitor visa, a study or work permit (excluding U.S. nationals), and to all those applying for permanent residence.

The Government of Canada encourages all Canadians to consider the importance of expanding biometrics in the context of helping facilitate the entry of travelers with legitimate identities, preventing identity fraud, and keeping Canada safe.

Canada currently collects biometrics from in-Canada refugee claimants and overseas refugee resettlement applicants, individuals ordered removed from Canada and individuals from 30 foreign nationalities applying for a temporary resident visa, work permit, or study permit.

Expanding biometrics will strengthen Canada’s immigration programs through effective screening (biometric collection, verification, and information-sharing with partner countries). It will also enable Canada to facilitate application processing and travel – while maintaining public confidence in our immigration system.

The expansion of Canada’s biometrics program, which includes the implementation of new requirements for immigration applicants, an expanded biometrics collection service network and automated fingerprint verification at ports of entry, will be rolled out over 2 years (2018 –2019).

The pre-publication and consultation period, from April 7 to May 6, 2018, is designed to give the public an opportunity to provide feedback on the text of the proposed Regulations once they are published in the Canada Gazette, Part I.


“Biometrics screening helps keep Canadians safe. The collection and verification of biometrics, along with criminal and immigration screening and biometric-based information-sharing, will help prevent identity fraud, identify those who pose a security risk and stop known criminals from entering Canada,” added Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.


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