Citizens of certain countries have to give their biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) within 30 days of when they submit an application to visit, study in, or work in Canada.

Giving your fingerprints and photograph is a safe, fast, and clean process that only takes a few 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.

Note: Starting summer 2018, anyone interested in coming to Canada on a visitor visa, applying for a temporary work visa or study permit, applying for permanent residence or claiming refugee/asylum status will need to provide fingerprints and a photo. 

Country Checklist: Biometric Information

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

Applicants with multiple citizenships must use the same travel document (e.g. passport) for the entire application process. This same document should be used when giving biometrics at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or an Application Support Centre (ASC).

Applicants who have already submitted an application and would like to change the nationality on that application must withdraw the application. To do this, contact the visa office responsible for your country or territory, After doing this, such applicants may submit a new application and pay the applicable fees.



Applicants from one of the countries or territory above do not need to give biometrics to visit Canada if they are:

  • under 14 years old or 80 years old and over,
  • 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 travelling to Canada on official business (any family members travelling with the applicant are also exempt),

  • applying for a visa to transit through Canada for less than 48 hours, directly to or from the United States (must also 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.


Reducing Application Delays

The government of Canada provides the following advice for reducing 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.