Individuals and Travellers

Biometrics collection

The term biometrics refers to a measurable characteristic that is unique to an individual such as fingerprints, facial structure, the iris or a person's voice.

Biometric data is an increasingly important tool in identity management globally, helping countries reduce fraud and integrity risks. Many countries have already introduced biometrics to improve visa and border checking processes.

Biometrics collection centres

Biometrics are collected at Australian Visa Application Centres (AVACs), Australian Biometrics Collection Centres (ABCCs) or at Australian Missions using a quick, discreet and non-intrusive process that captures a facial image with a digital camera and a 10-digit fingerprint scan with a digital finger scanner. AVACs and ABCCs are run by Service Delivery Partners contracted by us to provide biometric collection services.

Watch the video Biometrics collection at Australian Visa Application Centres to see how biometrics are collected.

Biometric collection countries and visa subclasses

If you are lodging a visa application in a selected location, regardless of nationality, you might need to provide your biometrics in relation to each visa application you lodge, unless exempt. A detailed list of the selected locations and visa subclasses​ included in the programme is available.

Visa applicants located in participating countries that post their application or apply online will be sent a letter if they are required to attend an AVAC or ABCC in person to provide their biometrics.

Visa applicants located in participating countries that submit their application in person at an AVAC will be asked to provide their biometrics at the same time.

See: Countries and Visa Subclasses included in the Biometric Programme

Biometrics cost

AVACs and ABCCs charge a service fee covering a range of services including biometric collection. For more details regarding these fees, check the website of the AVAC or ABCC provider in your country.

See: Countries and Visa Subclasses included in the Biometric Programme

Safekeeping and use of biometric data

Facial images and fingerprint scans are kept on secure departmental databases. Only authorised officers under the Migration Act 1958 (the Act) as regulated by the Privacy Act 1988, can access the biometrics of applicants.

Under the Act, the Department is allowed to provide the fingerprints and photographs of applicants to certain Australian Government Departments and agencies in addition to international organisations and countries for a permitted purpose. This includes, for the purpose of verifying identity, checking whether a client has effective protection in another country, combating identity fraud or determining if the client has a criminal history. In all cases where biometric data is provided to other agencies or countries, the Department will take steps to protect the applicant’s privacy.

Minors and incapable people

If you are:

  • under five years of age, an incapable person or are physically unable to provide a fingerprint scan, you will only need to provide a facial photograph
  • five years of age or over, you will need to provide both fingerprint scans and a facial photograph
  • under 16 years of age or an incapable person, a parent or legal guardian must be present when biometrics are collected.

Read detailed information about the Biometrics programme. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​