As of 2018, submitting biometrics—fingerprints and photo—is now required for IEC applicants and more generally for anyone (excluding U.S. nationals) applying for a visitor visa, a work or study permit or permanent residence status.
The biometric fee is CAD85 and VAC staff will ask to see proof that you have paid the biometric fee before taking your fingerprints and photograph.
Your biometric fee will also cover the cost of application handling at a VAC. The VAC will make sure your application is complete, send it to the visa office and advise you once it has been returned.
You can only give your biometrics as part of an application, i.e. you have to wait for an official request. A day or two after submitting your IEC application, you will receive an instruction letter in your Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada account that allows you to go give your biometrics at an official collection point.
You have to bring a printed copy of this letter and your passport to the collection service point. And since it’s your biometrics being collected, you do have to go in person.
Your biometrics can be collected in any visa application centre (VAC) worldwide, even outside your country of citizenship. You need to make an appointment. You will find the list of VACs here. If there’s no biometric service available where you live, you’ll have to find the location closest to you. There are over 152 VACs in 102 countries around the world where you can give your biometrics.
Biometrics collection FAQ
Can I go give my biometrics before receiving the instruction letter?
Not if you’re an IEC applicant—you have to wait for the instruction letter, print it out and bring it with you. This letter is proof that you’re in a work permit application process and that you did pay the biometric fee. You should receive the instruction letter a day or two after submitting your IEC work permit application.
Do I have to make an appointment at the VAC?
Yes, biometrics appointments are mandatory.
How long do I have to give my biometrics?
After receiving the instructions you have up to 30 days to submit your biometrics. After this deadline, your application will be denied and you will have to start the profile submission all over again.
What’s the process at the VAC?
You will have to show your passport and instruction letter and your identity will be checked.
For fingerprints, you will have to put your right fingers flat on the scanner, then your left fingers and your two thumbs.
Then your picture will be taken, facing the camera directly with a neutral expression. Note that head gear is allowed for religious purposes only. However, when you have your photo taken, your whole face must be clearly visible.
The whole process is fairly straightforward and should only take a few minutes.
Note: You’re not responsible for sending your biometrics to the visa office. The VAC will handle it.
The Government of Canada will keep your fingerprints and photo in a secured database for 10 years from the date you gave your biometrics. If you apply for another work permit later on, you won’t have to give your biometrics again.
I have a biometric passport, do I still have to provide my biometrics?
Yes. The Government of Canada wants to collect your biometrics as part of your IEC work permit application, they will be compared to the biometrics data in your passport at the border.
I’m already in Canada, do I still have to give my biometrics?
Yes, at a designated Service Canada Office (SCO).
Main articles about the WHV to Canada
Step-By-Step Guide to International Experience Canada Work Permits
Introduction to the Canada Working Holiday permit
Guide to Working Holiday in Canada (free download)
16 Good Reasons to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa
Globe WHV insurance policy highlights
The duration of your insurance coverage directly impacts your WHV
15 Tips for a Successful WHV Experience
The Working Holiday Visa Adventure as a Solo Traveller