Police certificates for Express Entry applications

It can take a long time to get police certificates. You should consider asking for them as soon as your profile is in the pool.

If you’ve been invited to apply and you still don’t have them, you should ask for them right away.

If you have a criminal record, you may not be allowed to enter or stay in Canada. People who pose a risk to Canada’s security are also not allowed to come to Canada.

Get the police certificates you need

You must include police certificates when you apply for permanent residence.

Our online system will ask for a police certificate for:

  • you and your family members who are 18 years or older
  • and
  • every country you (or a family member) stayed in during the last 10 years for 6 months or more in a row

You don’t need to give us police certificates for any period of time before you were 18 years old or for time spent in Canada.

After you apply, an officer may ask for additional police certificates from any time in your life since you were 18 years old.

Submit scanned copies of the original certificates

Police certificates must be scanned copies of the original certificate(s) in colour. Certified true copies or unauthorized copies won’t be accepted and will result in your application being rejected.

If you need a request letter

Some countries will only give you a police certificate if you have a request letter from us. If this applies to you:

  • Upload a document in the police certificate field in the document checklist that says: “I am applying from a country that requires an official request letter from IRCC to get a police certificate”.

We’ll then review your application. If it is otherwise complete, we’ll send you more information on how to get a police certificate.

Examples of when to get a police certificate

If you’re not sure if you need to get a police certificate, these examples may help you understand when you need one.

Example A: 8-month stay before age 18

Juan is 24 years old the day he applies for permanent residence. He lived in the United States for 8 months when he was 16 years old. The system will not ask him for a police certificate from the United States.

Example B: 7-month stay 20 years ago

Feras is 45 years old. He worked in Turkey for 7 months when he was 25 years old. The system will not ask him for a police certificate from Turkey.

Example C: Several short stays in another country

Lailah studied in Spain between 2014 and 2017, for several 4-month study periods but she did not stay there for 6 months or more in a row. The system will not ask for a police certificate, but an officer may ask for one from Spain after she submits her application. To avoid delays, Lailah could ask for a police certificate from Spain and submit it with her application.

Date the certificate was issued

For the country where you currently live

The police certificate for the country where you currently live:

  • must be issued no more than 6 months before the date you submit your application
  • must not be expired

For any other country

For any other country, the police certificate must be issued after the last time you stayed there for 6 months or more in a row.

Some countries put expiry dates on their police certificates. If you have a police certificate that expired, include it. We’ll accept it if:

  • it was issued after the last time you stayed there for 6 months or more in a row
  • it is not for the country where you currently live

An officer may ask for a new one later on.

If you cannot get a police certificate in time

If you’re invited to apply, you have 60 days to submit your application for permanent residence. If you do not have all your police certificates by the 60-day deadline, you have 2 options:

Option 1: Decline your invitation to apply

Your profile will go back in the pool. Depending on your score, you may be invited to apply again.

Option 2: Prove you applied for the police certificate

In very rare cases, we may accept both a letter of explanation and proof that shows you made your best effort to get a police certificate on time.

You can upload this in the country-specific police certificate field of your document checklist. Examples of proof:

  • a confirmation receipt
  • a payment receipt
  • a delivery notice
  • a tracking number

An officer will review your application. If they’re not satisfied that you made your best effort, your application may be rejected for being incomplete.

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