Fingerprinting for Canadian Immigration and Citizenship Part 1

January 4th, 2019

How do I get police certificates for Canadian immigration?

Getting police certificates for permanent residence or Canadian citizenship applications can be baffling. It can involve navigating through the bureaucracies of several countries and organizations to find relevant information. Below are explanations and links to help get the police certificates that you need.

The first step is determining what Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC or CIC) means when it asks for a police certificate.

What is a police certificate?

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a police certificate is either “a copy of your criminal record or a statement that you do not have a criminal record.”

Police certificates have different names depending on where they are from, such as:

  • police check
  • background check
  • police clearance certificate
  • good conduct certificate
  • criminal history record
  • judicial record extracts.

In Canada, police certificates are called Certified Criminal Record Checks. They are issued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

For more information on police certificates, visit the IRCC website:


Do I need to provide police certificates for permanent residence or citizenship?

Applicants for Canadian permanent residence or citizenship may need to provide police certificates from every country that they have lived in for 6 months or longer since turning 18.

As well, applicants for both permanent residence or Canadian citizenship may be required to provide Certified Criminal Record Checks from Canada during their application process. There are different requirements depending on the type of application you submit. For example, you may be asked to wait until these are requested by the Department, rather than submitting them with your initial application.  For further information, refer to the IRCC website and their guide for your application type.

How do I get a police certificate from the countries that I lived in?

A good place to start is to check the IRCC website. They provide useful information on how to get police certificates from many countries:


You can also check with each country’s national police agency or their embassy or consulate for instructions on getting a police certificate.

How can Red Seal Notary help me get my police certificate?

Red Seal Notary provides two services to assist applicants in obtaining police certificates:

1. Notarization

Some countries require notarized applications or certified copies of documents as part of the process of applying for a police certificate. Red Seal Notary provides full notarization services. For more information, visit our Notarization page.

2. RCMP Accredited Fingerprint Services

Some countries require that you submit official fingerprints to obtain a police certificate. Red Seal Notary is an official fingerprinting service accredited by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to provide both ink and roll and digital fingerprinting services to clients applying for police certificates.

The RCMP Letters of Accreditation for Red Seal Notary can be reviewed here:

Red Seal Notary RCMP Accreditation Letters

For more information on the types of fingerprints required to obtain police certificates or Certified Criminal Records checks, please see our page on fingerprint requirements for Permanent Residence and Canadian Citizenship Part 2

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