On November 23, 2020, it was announced by the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that the new VACs are located on the Westcoast in Seattle, Washington and San Francisco, California and only candidates with a Biometrics Instructions Letter (BIL) from IRCC can schedule an appointment.
For many classes of Canadian visas, valid biometrics are a requirement. To obtain your biometrics for Canadian immigration, you must visit an authorized center that can provide them. The authorized center will collect your fingerprints and take your photo to confirm your identity.
Biometrics are valid for 10 years from the date you receive them. If you have previously given biometrics for an application in the past, you do not need to provide them again, as long as they are not older than 10 years.
You can confirm if your biometrics are still valid by using IRCC’s Check Status Tool.
Who needs to give biometrics?
Generally, you need to give biometrics if you apply for:
- A visitor visa
- A work or study permit (excluding U.S. nationals)
- Permanent residence
- Refugee or asylum status
- An extension of your stay in Canada, known as a visitor record (as of December 3, 2019)
- Work or study permit extension (as of December 3, 2019)
There are some exceptions to the biometrics requirement. You may not require biometrics if you are a:
- Canadian citizens or permanent resident
- Visa-exempt national coming to visit Canada
- Child under 14 or an adult over the age of 79
- U.S. visa holder transiting through Canada
- Heads of state or other a high-ranking diplomatic visitor
Where can I get my biometrics?
There are many different locations around the world, and in Canada, that offer biometrics collection services. The best way to find out the closest biometrics collection point for you is to check on IRCC’s website here.
Other biometric collection points include:
- Visa application centres (VACs)
- Select United States (U.S.) application support centres (ASCs)*
- Select Service Canada locations
- IRCC visa offices (in limited situations)
- Select ports of entry (POE)
- Select Global Affairs Canada (GAC) locations
*Applicants who are undocumented or out-of-status in the U.S. cannot have their biometrics collected at ASCs.
Most, if not all biometric collection facilities require an applicant to schedule an appointment online or by telephone before showing up because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Check the website of the facility closest to you to set up an appointment and follow any additional health advisories they request.