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.


To avoid further backlog; IRCC now exempts Permanent Residence applicants from providing biometric as long as they did so previously on another application in the last 10years on an Immigration application.

Eligible applicants

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

Effective date

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.