Are RCMP Fingerprints and Biometrics the Same?

January 9th, 2024
biometrics vs fingerprints

Biometrics vs. Fingerprints

Have you been asked to provide fingerprints as part of the immigration process in Canada? Are you confused about what the process is and where you need to go to get the fingerprints completed? The main thing you need to know is that fingerprinting during the immigration process is required both to provide a biometric record for the Canadian government, and also to allow the police to conduct a criminal background check. These are two different processes.

Understanding the Distinction Between Fingerprinting and Biometrics for Immigration in Canada

The distinction between fingerprinting for a criminal background check and biometrics for immigration in Canada often leads to confusion, and this post aims to provide clarity on the matter.

Biometrics refers to the measurement and statistical analysis of people’s unique physical and behavioral characteristics. In the context of immigration and security, biometrics typically involve capturing fingerprints and facial recognition data. The Canadian government uses biometrics, including fingerprints and photographs, for identity verification purposes in immigration processes.

Biometrics for Immigration Purposes

Biometric information plays a crucial role in the Canadian immigration process. This comprehensive data, encompassing both fingerprints and photographs, is gathered at designated points of entry to Canada and at various Service Canada locations. These outlets serve as accessible locations where individuals can fulfill the biometrics requirement, aiding in identity verification for immigration purposes.

Fingerprinting for the Purpose of a Criminal Background Check

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is the federal and national law enforcement agency in Canada. It is responsible for various law enforcement and policing activities at the federal level, including maintaining criminal records and providing police services in some provinces and territories. As part of the immigration process, you may be asked to undergo a criminal background check by the RCMP, which involves providing your fingerprints and photo at an RCMP accredited fingerprint agency.

In Canada, fingerprinting serves a crucial role in conducting criminal record background checks, enabling individuals to obtain a police clearance certificate or a copy of their criminal history.

● Non-Criminal Fingerprinting Process: The fingerprinting procedure in Canada is non-criminal in nature. During this process, fingerprints are captured electronically and then submitted to CPIC (Canadian Police Information Centre). Once at CPIC, the information is utilized by CCRTIS (Canadian Criminal Real Time Investigation Services), a division of the RCMP, to generate a comprehensive criminal record report.
● Utilization by CCRTIS: CCRTIS employs the submitted fingerprints to conduct a meticulous check against the National Repository of Criminal Records. If a match is identified, a detailed criminal record report is generated and provided to the applicant. On the other hand, if no match is found, indicating the absence of relevant information, a police clearance certificate will be issued.

How do I know which type of biometrics/fingerprints are required?

Both biometrics collection for immigration purposes and fingerprinting for a criminal background check will be required as part of the process of immigrating to Canada. It is important to carefully read the instructions you receive from the CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) so that you can determine which process you require. If you are asked to provide biometrics for the Government of Canada, you will need to go to a Service Canada location. If you are asked to obtain an RCMP criminal record check, then you will need to attend at an RCMP accredited agency, such as Red Seal Notary, to have your fingerprints taken.

How Can Red Seal Notary Help?

Red Seal Notary is accredited by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to provide Canadian-certified criminal record checks. You can attend at one of our walk-in locations in Toronto, Mississauga or Ottawa with two pieces of valid government-issued identification and our knowledgeable fingerprint technicians will be happy to assist you. Please visit our website at www.RedSealNotary.com or contact our helpful call center at 1-888-922-7325 for more information about our fingerprinting services.

Helpful Links

Government of Canada – Where to get biometrics taken for immigration

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) information on obtaining criminal record checks

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