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How and where to obtain a police certificate

A police certificate is needed when you apply for citizenship or to become a permanent resident. You and any family members also applying for status have to include a police certificate.

A police certificate may be needed even if you’re applying for temporary worker status, as a visitor or a student. If the visa office asks you for a police certificate, you have to provide it.

What is a police certificate?

A police certificate is known by different names: police clearance certificates, good conduct certificates, judicial record extracts, etc.

A police certificate is a document that shows a record of your past criminal history, or if you have no criminal history, it will state that there is no criminal record.

It is used as a background check by the police or other government agencies usually to ensure that people who enter Canada do not have issues of criminality that may make them ineligible to enter.

As part of the police certificate, you may also be required to submit fingerprints and other requested information.  

How do I get a police certificate?

         If you are in Canada

You have to go to a Canadian visa office and check with them whether you need to produce a criminal record check while your application for temporary worker status, as a visitor or a student is being processed.

If you do, visit the RCMP website for further instructions.

These are the items you need to bring when doing the check:

  • The fees that you need to bring for having the police certificate done;
  • A full electronic set of fingerprints on form C-216C taken by an accredited company or police service;
  • A complete application form.

You also have to give information about:

  • Reason for your request;
  • Your full name;
  • Date of birth;
  • Sex;
  • Mailing address;
  • Phone number and/or email address and/or fax number.

If you are outside of Canada

As is the case if you are inside of Canada, you have to go to a Canadian visa office and check with them if you need to provide a criminal record check if you are applying for temporary worker status, as a visitor or as a student

If you do, you need to visit the RCMP website for instructions.

The requirements as what to bring and what information are to be given a quite similar to those for people who are applying from within Canada.

The fingerprint requirements are a bit more rigorous and require:

  • A full set of fingerprints that have:
    • Rolled and flat impressions of all ten fingers taken with black ink
    • Full name, date of birth and sex of the applicant
    • The name and address of the police agency
    • The signature of the official taking the fingerprints

When is a police certificate mandatory?

If you are applying to become a permanent resident or a citizen, you and all of your family members that are applying and are over 18 have to provide this.You must get one from each country or territory where you have lived for six or more months in a row since the age of 18.

For the country you currently live in, the police certificate must be issued no more than six months before you apply.

If you lived in a different country (or countries) for six months or more in each country, the police certificate must be issued after the last time you lived in that country.

If your certificate is in a language other than English or French, send it when you apply, along with the original copy of a translation done by a certified translator.

It may be a good idea to consult with a lawyer in regards to police certificates, especially if there is criminality in your background as that could seriously affect your immigration status in Canada.

Read more:

How to get a police certificate

How to get a police certificate (police check)