Get Ready for Expanded Biometric Requirements

On July 31st, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will be expanding the collection of biometrics to all applicants between the ages of 14-79. Start dates for the requirement vary depending on the applicant's nationality.

Some of the most relevant details include: 

Who Will be Affected and When

Biometric data must be submitted by everyone applying for:

  • a visitor visa,
  • a work or study permit,
  • permanent residence, or
  • refugee or asylum status.

Some exemptions:

  • persons applying from within Canada will be initially exempt until early 2019, when collection centres will be opened in the country;
  • Americans applying for a work or study permit; and
  • visa-exempt nationals coming to Canada as visitors with a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

The requirements are being rolled out in stages: applicants from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa must provide biometrics starting at the end of this month; July 31, 2018. Applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific, and the Americas will be required to provide biometrics starting on December 31, 2018.

How to Obtain and Submit Biometric Data

Most applicants will give fingerprints and have photos taken at any Visa Application Centre (VAC). Only refugee claimants and certain eligible work or study permit applicants may submit the data upon arrival at a port of entry.

Biometric data will stay valid for 10 years, and will not be required for each temporary resident application. However, permanent residence applicants must submit new biometrics even if they submitted data as part of a visa or permit application within the previous 10 years.

The process costs $85 per applicant, with a maximum total fee of $170 for families.

Process Upon Arrival In Canada

If you arrive at one of Canada's major airports, you will be required to provide your fingerprints at a kiosk. If you arrive at a smaller airport or land port of entry, an immigration officer may verify your fingerprints if you are selected for secondary inspection.

If you would like to learn more about how these changes may affect you, please contact us at (416) 548-9101, or at

ETA Update

As of November 10, 2016, most foreign nationals from countries that are visa-exempt (except for Americans) will be required to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) prior to flying into Canada.

Here are some of the key points to note:  

  • Citizens of the United States of America, Permanent Residents of Canada, and other small exempted groups will not require an eTA to board a flight to Canada.  
  • If you want to enter Canada by land or sea, you will not need an eTA.
  • The eTAs are normally issued for 5 years or until the expiry date of your passport. If you have to renew or replace your passport a new eTA will be required. 
  • Work permits and study permits issued by the visa post and at the border after July 31, 2015 may already have eTAs attached to them.
  • Dual Canadian citizens must now travel on their Canadian passports unless they receive special authorization (see below). 
  • Individuals with any criminal history may be denied an eTA and be determined inadmissible to enter Canada.  If you do have a criminal record it is strongly recommended that you consult one of our lawyers prior to making an eTA application.

Until January 31, 2017, a Canadian with dual citizenship may apply for a special authorization allowing them to travel to Canada without their Canadian passport if they:

  • Have a flight booked to Canada that leaves in less than 10 days, and
  • Have a valid passport from a visa-exempt country, and
  • Meet one of the following conditions:
    • Have previously received a certificate of Canadian citizenship;
    • Held a Canadian passport in the past; or
    • Were granted Canadian citizenship after having been a Permanent Resident of Canada.

This special authorization will be valid for only 4 days from the date of travel selected on the application form. If it is not used within that time, a new authorization will be required.

To find out more information about these changes, contact us at (416) 548-9101, or at

To sign up for our newsletter to ensure that you will receive future emails on immigration changes, click here.

New "Leniency Period" Announced for ETAs

The government had previously announced that starting March 15, most nationals from countries that are visa-exempt (except for Americans) will be required to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) prior to flying into Canada.  See here for more details.

However, the government has recently announced that there will be a "Leniency Period" from now until an unspecified date in the fall of 2016 when travellers will be able to enter Canada without an ETA.  If you have already applied for an ETA, please see below for details on how this might affect you: 

  • If you've applied for an ETA and have received an approval, then you should travel with the ETA and the passport that you had used for your ETA application.

  • If you've applied for an ETA and have not yet received a decision, you can travel to Canada.  Make sure that you double check your email before travelling though to ensure that you did not receive a decision.

  • If you've applied for an ETA and have received a negative decision, you cannot travel to Canada until you apply again and receive a positive decision.  Contact us for more information on how to do so.

Contact us at (416) 548-9101, or at if you have had your ETA rejected and need to enter Canada. 

To sign up for our newsletter to ensure that you will receive future emails on immigration changes, click here.