COVID-19 Immigration Update: Biometric Requirement for in-Canada Temporary Resident Applications is Temporarily Suspended

On June 15, 2020, Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) announced a temporary exemption to the requirement to provide Biometrics (fingerprints and a photo), for foreign nationals applying for temporary status from inside of Canada.

This is welcome news: biometric collection locations in Canada have been closed since March which has meant that in-Canada temporary applications have essentially come to a stand-still. For those who have already paid the biometric fee for an application already in process, IRCC has confirmed that they will automatically refund those fees once the application is finalized.

This exemption also applies to foreign nationals who have applied for a permit through a visa office outside of Canada, but are physically present in Canada at the time of application.

We expect that this announcement will allow IRCC to return to regular in-Canada work permit processing timelines.

Note that this exemption only applies to applications for temporary residence in Canada. In-Canada applicants for permanent residence are still required to include the appropriate Biometric fees and provide Biometrics when requested. IRCC has allowed for an extension of time to provide Biometrics for permanent residence applications while Biometric collection centres in Canada remain closed due to the pandemic. Anyone applying for a work or study permit or visitor record from outside of Canada is still required to pay the Biometric fee ($85) and provide biometrics. Many Biometric collection locations worldwide have now re-opened with limited services.

We will continue to update our clients with information as it becomes available. If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing pandemic plans, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.

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