Learn more about police certificates

When you apply to become a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen, you and your family members must include a police certificate. If you are applying as a visitor, student or temporary worker, we may also ask you for a certificate.

What is a police certificate?

A police certificate is a copy of your criminal record or a statement that you do not have a criminal record. Police certificates are different in each country and territory. They may be called:

  • police clearance certificates,
  • good conduct certificates,
  • judicial record extracts or
  • other names.

Who needs a police certificate?

In general, you and all the people in your family who are 18 or older need to get a police certificate.

You may need a police certificate from any country or territory that you have spent six months or more since the age of 18.

For example: if you visited, worked or lived in a country for two months, left for a few years, then returned for four months, that counts as spending six months there. In this case, you would need a certificate.

If you need a police certificate from a country or territory and:

  • are currently living there, or received the police certificate before leaving, the police certificate must be issued within six months before you apply.
  • have lived there in the past, the police certificate must be issued after you last lived in that country or territory.

When should I submit one?

Check the application guide for the program you are applying for to find out when to send us your police certificate(s).

To avoid delays, you should get all of your police certificates as soon as possible.

If your certificate is in a language other than English or French, send the police certificate along with a translation done by a certified translator.

If you are an Express Entry candidate

If you are an Express Entry candidate, and you are invited to apply, you will only have 90 days to submit your police certificate. To make sure you have enough time, you should apply for your police certificates as early as you can.

If you know that a country takes longer than 90 days to issue a police certificate, you should apply for one even if you don’t have an Invitation to Apply yet. Find out how to get a police certificate for a specific country or territory.

If you applied for a police certificate, but do not have it by the deadline to submit your online application, write or type your explanation on a blank piece of paper and upload it in the Police Certificate section.  You must also upload supporting documents that prove you applied for it, such as a confirmation receipt, payment receipt, delivery notice, tracking number, etc.

Police certificates must be a scan of the original certificate(s) in colour. Certified true copies or unauthorized copies will not be accepted and will result in your application being rejected.

If you are an International Experience Canada (IEC) candidate

If you’re invited to apply, you’ll normally need to provide a police certificate when you submit your work permit application.

Find more information on police certificates for IEC.

How do I get one?

In most cases, you must contact the police or government to ask for a certificate. You may have to:

  • provide information or documents, such as photographs, fingerprints, or your addresses and dates that you lived in the country or territory, and
  • pay a fee.

Use our online tool to find out how and where to get a police certificate in the country where you live. If contact information is not available there, contact the national police agency, or your country or territory’s embassy or consulate in Canada.

If you lived in a country that has changed its name or status, the police certificate should come from the current national authorities of that country. If you are not able to get a police certificate from a country because you are a refugee from that country or for any other reason, explain the reasons in writing.

We will also do background checks anywhere you and your family members have lived. These checks will show if you have had any arrests or convictions, or if you are a security risk to Canada.

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