Police certificates for immigration and citizenship

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

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What is a police certificate?

A police certificate is a statement that you don’t have a criminal record or, if you have one, a copy of your criminal record. They help us confirm if there are any reasons you may be inadmissible to Canada.

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

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

Who needs a police certificate?

You and any family member 18 or older may need to get a police certificate, depending on the program you’re applying to.

When should I submit one?

Different programs have different times for when you have to send in your police certificate(s).

If you’re an Express Entry candidate

You have 90 days to submit your police certificate. Avoid delays by starting your police check as soon as you’re in the pool.

Get more detail about police certificates for Express Entry.

If you’re an International Experience Canada (IEC) candidate

In most cases you’ll need to provide a police certificate when you submit your work permit application.

Get more detail about police certificates for International Experience Canada.

If you’re an applicant of another immigration or citizenship program

Check the instruction guide for the program you are applying for.

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

If you need to give your fingerprints for a police certificate, this isn’t the same as giving your biometrics (fingerprints and photo) for an application.

Find out how and where to get a police certificate from different countries and territories by using our online tool.

If you can’t find contact information for your country or territory

If contact information is unavailable, contact the national police agency, or your country or territory’s embassy or consulate in Canada.

If your country or territory has a new name

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 can’t get a police certificate from your country or territory

If you’re unable to get a police certificate from a country, you’re responsible to show why you can’t get one.

To prove that you can’t get a police certificate, you must:

  • show proof that you requested a police certificate from the correct authorities and
  • write a letter explaining all the efforts you have taken to get one

Even if you send us the above items, this is not a guarantee of acceptance.

How long is my police certificate good for?

How long your police certificate is good for depends on what immigration program you are applying to.

Check the instruction guide to find out when your police certificate needs to be issued.

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