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Home / Student Visa / Biometric Data Collection

Biometric data collection

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Biometric data collection

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The Government’s five-year Strategy for Asylum and Immigration entitled ‘Controlling our borders: making migration work for Britain’ published on 7 February 2005 announced that UKvisas (now the UK Border Agency) would be collecting biometric data from all visa applicants, irrespective of nationality. In the forward to the strategy the Prime Minister wrote:

All UK visa applicants, save for those benefiting from a limited number of exemptions and exceptions, are required to provide biometric data (we will take 10-digit finger scans and a digital photograph for our records) as part of the application process.
You will have to go in person to your nearest visa application centre to provide your biometrics and submit your application.

All visa applicants save for a limited number of exceptions will be required to attend in person to register their biometric data. Biometrics are collected at the offices of the British mission, commercial partner or in certain cases, the host government.

The biometric data will be stored on a central government database in the UK and checked against UK government records. It will be handled in accordance with the UK's strict data protection laws.

Your visa application will not be processed until you have provided the necessary biometric information.

The finger scans are electronic so staff do not need to use any ink, liquid or chemicals. You will have your digital photograph taken at the same time and the whole procedure should take no more than five minutes to complete. You should make sure that you do not have any decoration (such as henna), or any cuts or other markings on your fingertips before having your finger scans. You should also make sure that if you have any cuts and bruises on your face, they have healed or disappeared before you have your photograph taken. Digital photographs must be of your full face and you should not wear sunglasses, a hat or any other head covering (unless you wear it for cultural or religious reasons but the face must not be covered).

Please note: children under the age of five are not required to provide biometrics as part of the application process.

Why There is need of Biometric data collection for visa applicants?

We live in a constantly changing world. More travellers, greater mobility and new security threats mean we must find new ways of working which keep us all secure but which also benefit customers.
Identity theft is a major and growing problem globally. It helps terrorism and organised crime, and undermines national economies. To protect the integrity of the visa system and to protect our customers, we require every visa applicant around the world to enrol their fingerprints, and to have a digital photograph taken when they make a visa application.

We are not alone in doing this. Biometrics are becoming the industry standard for identity management. Increasingly, all passports will have a unique biometric identifier, whether this be finger scans, an iris scan or a digital photograph. EU countries are also introducing biometrics into their visa application process.

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