July 30, 2018 – Canada’s biometrics collection expands to include travellers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa beginning on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.
The move is designed as an extra layer of security, to ensure the person coming into Canada matches travel documents, including the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
Immigration officials say the move will allow border officials to immediately confirm a traveller’s identity.
Criminals entering the country will be identified more quickly, and those travelling on forged or stolen documents will find it much more difficult to gain access.
Collection of biometrics is not new for Canada.
Data has been collected from 29 selected countries since 2013. All applicants for permanent residents and asylum seekers also have to provide biometrics.
The program is due to be expanded to include nearly all travellers by the end of 2018. Travellers from Asia, the Asia-Pacific and the Americas will be added on December 31.
Canada’s Biometrics Collection in Numbers
- Canada has collected biometrics from more than a million study, work and tourist visa holders since 2013.
- Collection has resulted in matches to 760 Canadian criminal records.
- Nearly 2,000 previous asylum claimants have been matched.
- Matches also made to nearly 160,000 previous immigration applications.
- Data is kept for 10 years, after which it must be renewed.
Who Is Exempt from Biometrics Collection?
- Visa-exempt nationals tourists who hold a valid Canada eTA
- Travellers aged under 14 or over 79.
- Heads of state and government.
- Those holding US visas who are transiting through Canada.
What Must Travellers Do to Provide Biometrics?
Travellers must attend a Canada visa application centre to provide biometrics.
The fee for fingerprint and a picture is $85 for an individual or $170 for families.
The data is then transferred to the Canadian government records.
What Happens at The Border?
The Canada Border Services Agency is responsible for checking a traveller’s fingerprints at airports and land border points against the data provided at the visa application centre.
Some major airports are set up to do this automatically, namely Toronto Pearson, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Pierre Elliott Trudeau in Montreal, and Halifax.
Where fingerprints do not match, travellers can be denied entry, detained and sent back.
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