Explore Courses

What is Biometric for Canada Visa- A helpful guide

Updated on 06 June, 2024

Gauri Agrawal

Gauri Agrawal

Sr. Content Writer

What is Biometric for Canada Visa

Embarking on an educational journey to explore Canada's opportunities is a dream for many aspiring students. Canada has an irresistible allure with its breathtaking landscapes, thriving cities, and vibrant multiculturalism.

However, before setting foot on Canadian soil, one must navigate the intricate web of visa requirements, ensuring the journey is seamless and hassle-free. 

In recent years, the Canadian government has introduced an innovative and secure system known as biometrics to enhance the immigration process. 

Biometric data, consisting of unique physical attributes such as fingerprints and facial features, provides an extra layer of identity verification, improving the accuracy and efficiency of visa processing. 

From understanding the significance of biometric data to demystifying the application process, this article aims to equip you with the knowledge you need to know about biometrics for a Canada visa. 

Explore more about education abroad and how biometrics streamlines the visa process.

What are Biometrics for Visa Applications

Biometrics refers to biological (physical) measurements utilized for digital identification, such as fingerprints or facial features. Canadian visa officers use these to verify your identity. Biometric for Canada visa requires you to undergo fingerprint scanning and a digital photo session and provide a few other personal details.

Biometrics for Canada visa helps in the visa application process and upon entry into Canada. They enable visa officers to review applicants' backgrounds for any previous criminal activities or violations of Canadian immigration laws. Additionally, biometrics are used during a traveler's entry into Canada to authenticate their identity.

At eight major Canadian airports, travelers can utilize self-serve Primary Inspection Kiosks for fingerprint verification, photo confirmation, and making on-screen declarations. Fingerprint authentication at other Canadian airports and land ports of entry is at the discretion of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers.

Who Needs to Give Biometrics 

The biometrics are required for visa applications for:

  • An employment or education authorization (excluding USA nationals)
  • A visitor's visa
  • Permanent residency 
  • Refugee claimant status
  • An extension of a visitor record
  • A renewal of a work or study permit

There are a few exemptions to these regulations.  

  1. Canadian citizens, people applying for citizenship (including passports), or current permanent residents.
  2. Tourists from visa-exempt countries with a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA);
  3. Children under 14 years old
  4. Applicants aged 79 or older (excluding asylum seekers)
  5. Heads of state and government
  6. Government officials and diplomats from other countries and the United Nations on official visits to Canada
  7. U.S. visa holders passing through Canada
  8. Refugee claimants or protected persons who previously submitted biometrics and are now applying for a student visa or work permit
  9. Temporary resident applicants who provided biometrics for a citizenship application that is still pending.

When to Give Your Fingerprints and Photo

Biometrics can only be provided as a part of an application submitted to us. When applying for a visitor visa, study abroad, or work permit, you must provide your biometrics before processing your application.

How Often Do You Need to Give Your Fingerprints and Photo

For a visitor visa, work permit, or study permit application, the biometric for Canada visa is only required once every ten years. However, if your application is denied and you reapply, you will need to update your biometrics.

Foreign individuals aged 14 to 79 applying within Canada as international workers (including work permit extension), international study abroad students (including study permit extension), visa-required visitors (including extending stay), or permanent residents must submit biometrics. Biometrics must be provided to extend permits and visas if the applicant's previously submitted biometrics are no longer valid.

How to Submit Your Biometrics for Visa Application

Individuals submitting their first application outside of Canada must submit their biometrics at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) recognized by the Government of Canada. There are 137 Canadian biometric appointment VACs in 95 countries worldwide where applicants can provide their biometrics for a Canada visa.

In India, biometrics for Canadian visa applications are collected at Visa Application Centres (VACs) recognized by the Government of Canada. These VACs are spread across various cities in India.

The exact location of your nearest VAC can be found on the official website of the Canadian visa application center for India: https://visa.vfsglobal.com/ind/en/can/.

Here’s how to submit your biometric data via an appointment:

1. Find Out Where to Submit Biometrics:

  • Biometrics are often collected at designated application centers or visa processing centers.
  • The location will be specified in the visa application instructions or on the embassy/consulate website.

2. Schedule an Appointment (if necessary):

  • Some application centers require appointments for biometric submission, while others may accept walk-ins.
  • Check the specific requirements for your chosen center.

3. Prepare for Your Biometrics Appointment:

  • Bring a valid passport or travel document and a copy of your visa application confirmation.
  • You may also need to pay a biometric fee (the cost varies depending on the country). 
  • Ensure your fingers are clean and free of any cuts, bandages, or henna.

4. The Biometrics Collection Process:

  • At the center, a qualified technician will scan your fingerprints using a digital scanner.
  • You may also be required to provide a facial photograph.
  • The entire process is usually quick and painless.

5. After Biometrics Submission:

  • You'll receive a confirmation receipt or be notified electronically that your biometrics have been submitted.
  • The processing time for your visa application will then begin.

Photo and Fingerprint Tips

Here are some tips for taking photos and providing fingerprints for biometrics:

  1. Allow temporary injuries, cuts, or finger cracks to heal before providing your biometrics.
  2. Keep your fingers clean and dry before providing fingerprints.
  3. Wear bright-colored clothing instead of light or headgear during your appointment.
  4. Don't apply henna to your hands before your appointment. 
  5. Headgear is permitted solely for religious reasons. However, during photo capture, ensure your entire face is visible.

Processing Time

The processing time for biometrics can vary depending on how and when you submit your application and pay the biometrics fee. 

  • Applying at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) in person or submitting a paper application in person at a VAC:

Once you give your biometrics at the VAC, processing starts right away.

  • Submitting your application online at a VAC and paying the biometrics fee during submission:

You'll get the biometrics instruction letter within 24 hours. After giving your biometrics at the VAC, processing begins.

  • Applying online for a visitor visa, study permit, or work permit and paying the biometrics fee during submission:

You also get the biometrics instruction letter within 24 hours. After providing your biometrics, processing starts.

  • Sending your application by mail for a visitor visa, study permit, or work permit and paying the biometrics fee during submission:

Expect the biometrics instruction letter by mail in a few weeks. Once you provide your biometrics, processing begins.

Strategies for Reducing Application Timelines

There are several tips for reducing application delays when providing biometrics for visa applications:

  1. Instead of sending your application by mail, opt for online submission or visit a Visa Application Centre (VAC) in person.
  2. Ensure you pay the application and biometric fees for Canada study visa when submitting your application (if applicable).
  3. Consider travel time when planning your visit to a VAC or Application Support Center (ASC), especially if applying from the United States.
  4. If you have a temporary injury or adornment on your face or hands, wait until it has healed or faded before giving your biometrics.
  5. If multiple family members are applying for visas, try to have them all visit the same VAC or ASC together for a biometric for a Canada visa.
  6. If you have a permanent injury or condition on your face or hands, visit a VAC or ASC to capture your photo and, if possible, fingerprints. A permanent-term injury or medical condition refers to one that does not show signs of healing or improvement. Remember to carry any documents you have related to your condition.

Requirements for Biometric Enrollment 

People who have to provide their photographs and fingerprints: 

You will have to provide your biometrics if you are applying for the following: 

  1. Visitor Visa
  2. Study/work permit (U.S. nationals are excluded)
  3. Permanent residency
  4. Asylum/refugee status
  5. Extension of Canadian stay or visitor record
  6. Study permit/work extension 

Free Canada Ebooks

SOP Samples for Canada Student Visa
Canada Student Visa Rejection
Scholarships for Study in Canada


Anyone who is present in Canada and applying for temporary residence status will be exempted from providing biometrics. Some exemptions include the following: 

  1. Already in Canada
  2. Applying or have applied for the following- 
  3. Extension of stay for workers, students, and visitors. 
  4. Study/work permits. 
  5. Restoration of status as workers/students/visitors. 
  6. Visitor visas.
  7. Temporary residence permit. 

Those who have furnished biometric details anytime in the last decade for study, work, or visitor visa permits (if they are valid) do not need to furnish the same once again. The Check Status option may be used to find out the validity of the same. Those with alien passports will have to give biometrics irrespective of the passport-issuing country. 

Here are some other points to keep in mind: 

  • When to provide photographs and fingerprints- To be provided as part of the application (visitor visa, study/work permit, etc.) 
  • Frequency of providing biometrics- Once in ten years. 

Way to Enroll/Provide Biometrics 

Steps to enroll/provide biometrics for Canada visa:

  1. Pay the biometric fee: Ensure you pay the biometric fee when submitting your application to avoid delays (if applicable).
  2. Receive the biometric instruction letter: You'll receive a confirmation letter detailing where and when to provide your biometrics upon payment. This letter and your valid passport are necessary for the biometrics appointment.
  3. Visit an official biometric collection site: Biometrics must be given in person, so schedule an appointment at a designated biometric collection site. You should book your appointment promptly upon receiving the instruction letter.
  4. Appointment booking process: Book your biometric for a Canada visa appointment based on the instructions provided in your biometric instruction letter. The speed of receiving this letter depends on your application method.

Post-Biometrics Requirements for a Canada Visitor Visa. 

Post-biometrics, your application undergoes thorough assessment by immigration officials. They meticulously review all aspects to ensure compliance with Canada’s immigration criteria, including document authenticity and information accuracy.

Additionally, you may be required to:

  • Attend an interview with our officials in your country
  • Provide additional information as requested
  • Undergo a medical examination
  • Obtain a police certificate

Simultaneously, there's an in-depth verification of submitted documents to confirm the legitimacy of your credentials and personal details. Officials meticulously cross-check each piece of information against stringent standards to prevent fraud.

After these evaluations, the decisive moment arrives: the visa decision. You will receive an email, or you can get an update on the online application system. 

For online applications, you will receive two letters in your IRCC account:

  • A letter containing instructions for passport submission
  • Decision letter

If you apply offline, all original documents, including your passport with the visa, will be sent to you upon approval.

Entry into Canada is subject to passing an identity check and meeting the country's entry requirements, which apply to visitors, education students, and workers abroad.

Upon encountering a border services officer, you may experience the following:

  • Your passport may be stamped.
  • You'll be informed of the duration you're permitted to stay in Canada, typically up to 6 months.
  • Your stay may be limited or extended to align with the purpose of your visit.

In situations where your passport isn't stamped or if you used a primary inspection kiosk, your stay in Canada is generally limited to:

  • Up to 6 months from your initial entry date.
  • Until your passport expires, whichever occurs first.


The biometric fees for Canada student visas or other applications are the following: 

  1. CAD $85 for individuals. 
  2. CAD$170 for families applying simultaneously. 
  3. CAD $255 for groups of three or more members who are performing artists and also their staff members. They should be applying simultaneously for their work permits. 

These details will help you out with the biometrics process for your Canadian visa.

Validity of Biometrics 

The biometrics are valid for up to 10 years. Students need to give their biometrics again until the 10-year period expires.

If you gave biometrics in the past as part of an application for a visitor visa, work, or study permit, and they’re still valid, you don’t need to give them again.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a biometric test for a Canada visa?

You will have to provide your biometrics, i.e., your photograph and fingerprints, as part of your Canadian visa application. The staff members at the Visa Application Center (VAC) will ask for proof of payment of the fees for biometrics before taking a photograph and fingerprint. The fee will also include the costs pertaining to handling your application. 

How long does it take for a Canada visa to be approved after biometrics?

After you submit your biometrics, it should take approximately eight weeks to get your visa. This timeline may vary, and you should be patient. If your biometric details are not approved for some reason, you may be called to provide them again at a later date. 

Does biometrics mean approval for your application for a Canada visa?

If you are asked to provide your biometric details, it does not equate to the automatic approval of your application. It is only one of the steps or tasks in the application process for a Canadian visa. Your biometric details will be used for processing and evaluating your visa application.

Can a visa be refused after biometrics?

Visas may or may not be refused after submitting your biometric details. Your visa/permit application may expire or be rejected. However, your biometrics will remain valid for a period of ten years. You will not have to provide them again while submitting another application in the future. 

Why is biometrics important for visa?

Biometrics, which involves the unique physical or behavioral characteristics of individuals, such as fingerprints, facial recognition, and iris scans, is essential for visa processes for several reasons:

  1. Enhanced Security
  2. Preventing Multiple Identities
  3. Streamlining Immigration Processes
  4. Immigration Enforcement
  5. Counterterrorism Measures

Overall, biometrics significantly enhance visa processes' accuracy, efficiency, and security, helping governments ensure that the individuals entering their countries are appropriately identified and screened.

After biometrics what is next for Canada work permit?

Once your biometrics screening is over, the USCIS officer will stamp your appointment notice, confirming that you submitted biometrics for your background check. Ensure you keep this document safe and have it ready to show if needed.

What is Canada study visa processing time after biometrics?

The Student Direct Stream applications are processed within 20 calendar days after biometrics screenings are done.

Did you find this article helpful?

Gauri Agrawal

Sr. Content Writer

Gauri Agrawal is a passionate, professional and proactive content marketer who wants to grow in the field of content creation. She carries a rich experience of working in the Digital News sector with renowned names like Times Now Digital, and News X as a Copy Editor.

See More

Refer Your Friend & Earn upto ₹15000

Help your friend upgrade to a Global Career and earn rewards together.