Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has updated its policy for collecting permanent resident applicants’ biometrics. As of June 14, 2023, anyone applying for permanent residence (PR) must submit biometrics, regardless of whether they have previously submitted them for a temporary residence permit.
This policy update signifies a return to pre-pandemic procedures for permanent resident applications. During the COVID-19 pandemic, IRCC enacted a policy that made it unnecessary for PR applicants to resubmit biometrics if they had submitted them alongside a temporary resident application within the previous ten years.
In September 2020, IRCC made it possible for newcomers to apply for PR if they had submitted their biometrics to IRCC within the past decade. This measure responded to pandemic restrictions that saw many Visa Application Centres (VACs) temporarily closed.
However, as pandemic restrictions began to ease, IRCC has been moving towards resuming pre-pandemic service standards. The backlog of applications has been significantly reduced, and the department is back to working at full capacity and able to process applications quickly.
The changes do not apply to those applying for temporary resident status on a work, visitor, or study visa. Temporary residents who are applying for an extension do not need to resubmit biometrics.
Biometrics, which include fingerprints and a photograph of the face, are used to help keep Canadians safe and protect the integrity of the immigration system. The current fee to submit biometrics is CAD 85. Some exemptions to this requirement include Canadian citizens, children under the age of 14, applicants over the age of 79, and others.
This policy change is part of IRCC’s efforts to resume normal immigration processes post-pandemic and ensure the safety and integrity of the Canadian immigration system.