The Canadian government has provided clear guidelines on how to apply for various types of Visas to enter the country. For example, using instructions found online, you can easily apply for a tourist visa. In some cases, you need to provide personal information, including your biometrics, for your application to go through.
Unfortunately, there are lots of scammers online that trick people into paying them for biometrics. Essentially, the prompt to give your biometrics should only come from the government of Canada and no one else. Therefore, it is important to review and understand the process and conditions for which these biometrics should be provided to the governing bodies. Fortunately, the official websites are very clear about these guidelines, and many YouTubers have provided tutorials as well.
Disclaimer: The information posted here is based on the personal experiences shared by the OFW in the video below. Please let this post serve as a guide only. If you have specific questions, you may ask the OFW by commenting on their video on their accounts.
When and How to Give Your Biometrics to the Canadian Government for Filipinos
The information presented in this article comes from a YouTubefRhod’s Channel. While reading messages from his channel, he felt sad knowing that a lot of Filipinos got scammed to pay 350 dollars for the biometrics payment for Canada visa application. This is why he made this video. You can ask the full episode in his channel below:
How to Process Biometrics for Canada Visa for Filipinos
Here are the steps you need to take to process your biometrics for the Canada visa application:
- Look up the following key phrase on Google “vfs Canada biometric appointment Philippines”
- The first entry in Google should be “Book an Appointment vfsglobal.” Click on that.
- You should be directed to a page which has the following heading: Schedule an appointment for biometric enrollment
VFS (Visa Facilitation Services) Global is a company that processes your papers for your Canada visa application. They are directly linked with the Canadian embassy.
At the first page, VFS reminds users of its services that they will be collecting personal information. However, for security purposes, the advice is for people not to share information that is beyond what is asked or required for the biometrics appointment scheduling. In addition, any information should not be shared via non-secure means, such as through SMS, web chat or emails.
Emergency Biometric Appointment
You can have an emergency biometric appointment if any of the following happened to your immediate family member that resides in Canada:
- They are critically ill
- They have passed away
In particular, an immediate family member is any one of the following:
- Your spouse / common-law partner
- Dependent child
- Dependent child of a dependent child
- Parent / step parent
- Guardian / tutor
If you want to request for such an emergency biometric collection, then you have to provide proof. These may include any of the following:
- Death certificate
- Medical certificate
- Letter from the medical officer or unit
- Letter from the funeral home
Scheduling an Appointment for Biometric Enrollment
The first thing you need to do is find out if you need to get give biometrics. You can do so by clicking on this link:
Canada Immigration and Citizenship biometrics.
When you visit that page, you will be informed that you don’t have to give biometrics for your visitor visa if you are any of the following:
- 17 years old or younger
- 61 years old or older
- Have been approved for a Canada visitor visa during the last 10 years.
If any of these apply to you, you will receive an email from the government of Canada. Otherwise, you will have to abide by the instructions sent.
First, you will indicate any of the following that applies to you:
- I didn’t give biometrics in the past
- I gave biometrics in the past
Let’s say, for example, that you didn’t give biometrics in the past. The next thing you will indicate is to select the country that matches the one indicated on your passport.
After selecting Philippines, you will select from a checklist what you will apply for. The checklist includes the following:
- Visitor or super visa
- Visitor extension
- Study or work permit
- Study or work permit extension
- Permanent residence
- Permanent resident card
- and more
Let’s say for example you choose Study or work permit. Then you will be asked if you are in Canada. This is just a yes or no question. Let’s say you answer no to indicate that upon applying, you are not in Canada.
Then, the conclusion to all of your choices as shown in the webpage is this: You need to give your biometrics. Therefore, based on the answers you indicated in the webpage form, the website concludes that you need to submit the necessary requirements.
Here are some tips you need to remember when you are applying online or through paper:
- You should wait for a letter from the government of Canada before you can begin to give your biometrics.
- You have to pay a biometrics fee alongside your application submission to get this letter
This shows that when you receive a letter from anyone else other than the government, that’s not legitimate. As mentioned in intro of this article, too many Filipinos have fell for scams involving people emailing them telling them to pay for biometrics. Having said that, if you have a legal consultant of a recruitment agent, they can be your direct communication for this information.
If you apply at a Visa Application Center (VAC), you need to consider the following:
- You are allowed to give your biometrics alongside your paper application to a VAC, for as long as you booked an appointment with that VAC
- If your application at a VAC is online, then you will have to wait for a letter from the government of Canada prompting you to give the biometrics.
Once you receive this letter, you still need to go to a VAC in person to give your biometrics.
One important question regarding giving biometrics is this, when should you give your photo or your biometrics? Well, typically, this should be done if you are applying to have any of the following:
- Visitor visa
- Work or study permit (except US nationals)
- Permanent residence
- Refugee or asylum status
- Visitor record – a way to extend your stay in the country of Canada
- Extension of your work or study permit
When should you give your fingerprints and photo? Well, according to the website, your biometrics should only be given along with any of the applications listed above. That is, if you are not applying, then you should not give your fingerprints and photo to the government of Canada.
As an example, you have to give your biometrics to the authorities if you want to apply for a visitor visa. Most notably, they can only begin processing your visa application after you have submitted the biometrics to them.
This doesn’t mean that you should submit your biometrics before submitting all other documents required for your application. In fact, you should complete all the necessary papers and submit them to the government of Canada through legal consultants or recruitment agencies. Then, you ask them how you can give biometrics that you can pass with all other documets.
Steps to Give Your Biometrics
Here are the steps you need to take in order to give your biometrics:
- Pay the biometric fee
- Get the biometric instruction letter
You have to the biometric fee at the same time you are submitting your application. That way, you will avoid delays in the processing of your papers. So how much will you pay for the biometrics fee? Well, here are the details:
- Individual applicants will pay CAD $85
- Families that are applying together will have to pay a maximum fee of CAD $170
- Performing artists and their staff (3 or more individuals) will pay a maximum total fee of $CAD 255
There is an exception, though. You don’t have to pay the biometrics fee if you have a transit visa. If you have this kind of visa, that means you won’t stay long in Canada. You will just essentially be passing by on your way to another country.
The biometric instruction letter is what you will receive after paying the biometric fee. This letter, among other things, gives you a confirmation that you have to give your biometrics and it will also tell you where you can go. That means you can’t just go anywhere to have your biometrics taken. You have to wait for the instruction letter from the government of Canada for the details.
When giving your biometrics, you need to bring two things:
- biometrics instruction letter
- valid passport
So when will you get the letter after paying the biometric fees? Well, it depends on two factors:
- How you apply
- When you will pay
In terms of how you apply for the biometric fees, these are your options:
- Through a Visa Application Center (VAC)
- By Mail
Supposing that you go to a Visa Application Center in Manila, Cebu or elsewhere. As such, you have to comply with the following:
- Giving your biometrics at a VAC is done on an appointment basis. Be sure to get a booking before going there.
- You should then submit your application at the VAC and at the same time give your biometrics
- For this a letter is not needed.
You can also submit your application online at a VAC. For this, you need to consider the following two ways of paying the biometrics fee:
- Paying the biometrics fee while you submit the application
- Paying the biometrics fee after submitting the application
If you pay while submitting the application, the following will happen:
- You will get an email stating that there is a new letter in the message box of your account. Expect to get this letter within the day after submission.
- After receiving the letter, you should then book an appointment for giving your biometrics
- Bringing the instruction letter with you, you should then go to a VAC to give your biometrics
If you decide to pay the biometrics after submitting your application, then you have to consider the following:
- It may take a while before you can receive the instruction letter. Typically a couple of days. Once the letter is available, you will receive an email notification.
- After receiving the letter, you should then book an appointment for giving your biometrics
- Next, bring the instruction letter with you and go to a VAC to give your biometrics
Therefore, your application process will be much faster if you pay the biometrics at the same time that you are submitting your application.
Finding a Biometrics Collection Site
Once you have the letter and are now ready to give your biometrics, where should you go? Well, the application page will help you figure that out. You just have to click a button that says “Find a collection point close to you.”
You will then be redirected to a web page where there is a search box. Type “Philippines” in, and it will show the following two locations:
- Cebu VAC
- Manila VAC
You can also access the website for these locations through links provided. In fact, if you click the link under the name Philippines VACs, you will be sent to a page where you can book an appointment. You can book through the following means:
- Web Chat
- In Person
To book an appointment online, this is what you need to do:
- Schedule /re-schedule an appointment through an appointment log-in screen
- Have your personal information collected by VFS global for appointment scheduling
- Receive an appointment letter which indicates the location, time and date of your appointment
- Remember, be at least 15 minutes ahead of time at the Canadian VAC where you need to be.
Remember, getting a visa from any country entails that you follow each step provided by the government to the tee. There are no shortcuts, and for as long as you stick to the rules, you won’t be a victim of scams.