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Expansion of Biometric Requirements for Entry to Canada

Date July 5, 2018
To: Divisional HR Offices
Business Officers (via the AMS Listserv)
From: Cherilyn Nobleza, Director, HR Strategic Initiatives
Kate Enros, Associate Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life
Re: Expansion of Biometric Requirements for Entry to Canada

Please be advised that biometric requirements (fingerprints and photographs) for entry to Canada are changing.  Currently, biometric information is required only for individuals from approximately 30 designated countries.


Overview of Changes:

Moving forward, all foreign nationals who are applying for a study or work permit (excluding US nationals) are required to submit biometrics, at a cost of $85 per individual and $170 per family.

Roll-out of the changes is phased:

  • Starting July 31, 2018 – applicants from Europe, Middle East and Africa
  • Starting December 31, 2018 – applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas

Applicants from outside Canada will need to attend in person to submit biometrics:

  • Individuals who are eligible to apply for work or study permits at the Port of Entry can continue to do so, as biometrics will be obtained and validated by the officers on site
  • Individuals who are not eligible to apply for a work or study permit at the Port of Entry must submit biometrics at a designated centre (all of which are located outside of Canada)

Foreign nationals who are already in Canada but are applying for a change in status and/or an extension to their existing work or study permit on or after July 31, 2018 may be exempt from the requirement to submit biometrics (for a list of exemptions, please refer to the Government of Canada website).

Biometric information is valid for 10 years retroactively (i.e., a foreign national with biometric data already on file from July 31, 2008 onwards may not need to resubmit biometric data at this time).


Impact of Changes:

  • Additional costs will be incurred by many of those seeking to obtain work or study permits or renewals of those permits.
  • Foreign nationals who are planning to visit Canada on or after July 31, 2018 and who are not eligible to obtain their work permit at the Port of Entry must submit biometrics at a Visa Application Centre , either in their country of citizenship or elsewhere.

Please note that visitors (i.e. tourists who are in Canada for less than 6 months) from electronic travel authorization (eTA) countries who are work/study permit exempt do not need to provide biometric data. Visitors from Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) countries will be impacted by the requirement. Entry requirements can be confirmed on the Government of Canada website.



If you are planning to invite a foreign national to campus, please contact the appropriate designate indicated below:

For staff, research associates, postdoctoral fellows, and all categories not listed below:
For faculty, visiting professors, and guest lecturers:
For visiting undergraduate students:
For visiting graduate students:
For post-graduate medical trainees:

For international students who may have questions around obtaining or renewing their study please contact:

University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM):

International Experience Centre
Phone: 905.569.4716

University of Toronto St. George (UTSG):

Centre for International Experience
Phone: 416.978.2564

University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC):

International Student Centre
Phone: 416.287.7518