Biometrics collection service still remains unavailable at Service Canada

Due to the persisting onslaught of COVID-19, Service Canada locations across Canada are still unavailable to provide new appointments to candidates who have currently received ITAs in the recent draws which required very low CRS scores.

It may seem like you are in a tight spot if you can’t submit the biometrics within the timeframe specified in the ITA, but all’s not lost. The CIC has set out some relief measures to quell the anxiety and risk of losing your chance to get PR during this pandemic. Let’s look at the different scenarios a temporary resident can find himself/herself in and see what needs to be done.

First and foremost, you can be considered exempt from giving the biometrics if you are applying from within Canada:

  • to extend your stay as a student, worker or visitor
  • to restore your status as a student, worker or visitor
  • for a work or study permit
  • for a visitor visa
  • for a temporary resident permit

This applies to all the existing applications in progress as well as new ones. your PR application requires biometrics; there’s no exception to that.

For the above-listed scenarios, it applies even if says the following:

  • your application form for a work permit, study permit or visitor visa says it’s for applicants outside Canada
  • our online application system asks you to pay a biometric fee (CAN$85)

This above temporary measure does not apply if you’re outside Canada.


IF YOU HAVE ALREADY MADE AN APPOINTMENT ( for applications other than PR)

As additional merit, you don’t need to pay for the biometrics, even if the system tells you to pay it. If you have paid, it would be automatically refunded once the application has been finalized. As of now, you can even ignore the Biometric Instruction Letter (BIL) that tells you how to give your biometrics.

Deadline for submitting Biometrics for PR

As per the latest updates, it is said that no application will be refused on the sole basis of being unable to submit biometrics within the period indicated on your BIL. This means that you actually have more than the 30 or 90 days mentioned in the BIL. Also, when the sites reopen, you don’t have to make another appointment; the original BIL will be considered as proof of payment.

As the biometrics collection is temporarily suspended at Service Canada, do not go to other biometrics collection points such as Canadian ports of entry (POEs) or other international collection sites.


Biometrics collection outside Canada

If it has been deemed that the site closest to you is closed, the CIC shall automatically extend your deadline to give your biometrics.

You don’t have to give your biometrics until the sites start offering collection services again. If you have an appointment at the following locations:

  • at a VAC—the VAC will tell you if your appointment is cancelled
  • at a US ASC—some ASCs are starting to reopen

When biometrics collection sites reopen

Even if you can’t travel to Canada yet, you can start giving out your biometrics as the collection centers slowly reopen. VACs and ASCs are starting to reopen slowly.

You have to book an appointment as soon as services resume. You can check for updates.


As a side note, a new public policy allows former workers and students who have applied for a closed work permit to continue working until a decision on their restoration application is made. In order to pull it off, they would need to:

  • have a job offer
  • submit a work permit application that is supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an LMIA-exempt offer of employment
  • notify IRCC through the process set up for eligible foreign nationals

However, all things considered, your PR application requires biometrics. For now, there’s no other way than waiting to see when the biometrics services restart.