As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, most biometrics collection service points were temporarily closed. There is uncertainty as to when the full complement of biometric collection services in Canada and overseas will reopen and operate at full capacity. In the meantime, there is a growing inventory of applications for permanent residence that cannot be finalized because applicants are unable to fulfill the biometrics requirement.
A portion of these applicants have, within the last 10 years, provided their biometric information in support of a claim, application or request under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. In lieu of a new biometrics collection, the foreign national’s previously enrolled biometric information can be linked to their pending or new application for permanent residence.
Foreign nationals are exempt from the biometrics collection requirement whether inside or outside Canada if they have both
- a pending or new application for permanent residence
- previously provided their biometrics within the 10-year period before the day on which they made the current permanent residence application
The public policy, which supports the instructions, came into effect on September 10, 2020, and was operationalized on September 22, 2020, after changes were made to GCMS. It remains in effect until it is revoked by the Minister.
What is GCMS? Global Case Management System is a software system used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to process immigration and citizenship applications. Learn more about it here
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