Offshore visa applicants required to provide biometrics for Australian visa process.

Australian Biometrics Collection Centre

The Department of Home Affairs has started collecting biometrics in the offshore visa application process. This includes fingerprints and facial images. The service will be delivered by AVACs and Australian Biometric Collection Centres.

You will be required to attend the centre to submit your fingerprints and face image. You must not wear any hats, scarves or tinted glasses when you are photographed.

What is a biometric?

Biometrics are physical identifiers such as your facial characteristics, voice, fingerprint or iris that uniquely identify you. They are designed to be more secure than passwords in that they cannot be guessed or faked.

For example, facial recognition uses a computer to analyse the shape of your head and eyes to match them to a database. Similarly, fingerprints are unique and are recorded as a digital file that can be compared to known records.

However, biometrics can still be hacked, and there is a risk that thieves could collect your data to steal your identity. Therefore, any organisation that uses a biometric system should have transparent complaints and enquiries systems in place, and make these clear to end users. It is also important that any service design incorporates alternative options for those who are unable to enrol into the biometric system due to medical or other reasons. Ideally, these alternatives should be easy to use and accessible for all.

What is the process of collecting biometrics?

Biometrics are physical and behavioural characteristics that can be used to identify and authenticate people. Examples include facial images, fingerprints, palm prints, iris or retinal structures and gait.

A common approach to biometric identification involves matching a new sample with a number of stored records. This can be more effective and efficient than conventional verification, but it raises privacy concerns because the biometrics of many other people may also be affected.

This is especially problematic because biometrics can be collected surreptitiously without people’s knowledge, and because they often do not require explicit consent. The challenge is to design and implement a biometric system that improves identification services without compromising privacy. This requires careful thought about the nature and scope of the information being collected, and about how it will be used. It’s also important to consult with stakeholders, including the community and end users. This enables the organisation to clarify the purpose of the system and manage expectations.

Can I transfer biometrics from a previous application?

The Australian Government has incorporated biometrics collection into the visa application process for applicants outside Australia. Applicants for some visa subclasses will be requested to attend an AVAC or ABCC in person and provide their biometrics.

A person’s biometrics are their distinctive, uncopyable features that can be used to verify identity. They are usually collected in the form of facial photographs and fingerprints.

If you gave your biometrics in connection with a previous visa or work and study permit and they are still valid, you may not have to give them again. Use the Check status tool to find out if this is the case for you. Alternatively, you can contact your nearest AVAC or ABCC for more information. You can also download the biometrics brochure. This outlines the types of biometrics we will collect from you. In most cases, this will include a digital photograph and 10-digit fingerprint scan. This is a quick, non-intrusive and discreet process.

Can I bring my children with me?

In some circumstances, the Australian government asks visa applicants to attend an Australian Biometrics Collection Centre (ABCC) to have their fingerprints and facial image taken. This is to help prevent visa fraud and improve the efficiency of visa processing.

Biometrics are measurable physical characteristics that are unique to individuals such as facial features, fingerprints and the iris. Typically, these are collected through an electronic finger scanner or a digital camera.

The ABCC process is a quick, discreet and non-intrusive way of gathering the required information. Generally, it requires the collection of a facial image and 10-digit fingerprint scan.

You should bring your passport, travel document or national ID card to your appointment. It is also important to ensure that your fingertips are free of any form of decoration such as mehndi/henna, cuts or abrasions, and that they have been properly washed. Failure to do so may affect your ability to provide acceptable fingerprints. Your application will not be processed if your fingerprints are not suitable for visa lodgement.

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