Canadian visas are going biometric next year

A five-year project beginning next year will see Canadian visa applicants fingerprinted and photographed as a part of their application. The state-of-the-art biometric system will continue to be implemented through to 2013.

The project is a joint venture between Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

“When a visa holder arrives at a Canadian port of entry, the officer will verify that the visa holder is the same person as the one to whom the visa was issued,” said a press release. The biometric identification will prevent travelers from using fraudulent visas as well as prevent the confusion of one traveler for someone else.

The United States and Great Britain both already use the same technology, and in the UK it’s been used since its implementation in 2006.

Initially, the project will be geared towards Temporary Resident Visas such as work permits, study  permits  and visitor visas. RCMP Sgt. Greg Cox told the Toronto Sun in an e-mail this week that, “The use of digital fingerprints will help reduce identity fraud and enhance criminality screening,” as well as, “facilitate processing of legitimate applicants and strengthen the safety of Canadians.”

According to the United Kingdom Border Agency, people who refuse to submit their fingerprints or have a digital photograph taken will not have their visas processed. In addition, some people are exempt from requiring biometrics to be taken, like children under 5, government officials and some diplomats.

Folks, “Big Brother is Watching”.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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