Clients applying for Permanent Residence in Canada are required to provide Police Clearance Certificates for all countries that they have lived for six months or longer after turning 18 years of age. Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada’s instructions are generally that this is not required from Canadian police unless they request it. Visa Officers can request a CPIC check ( Canadian Police Information Centre ) based on the applicant’s name and date of birth, but in many cases due diligence requires a fingerprint based check.
Fingerprint based checks are in order to ensure the identity of the applicant. Canada retains fingerprint records, not only of those convicted of crimes here, but also refugee claimants and those that have been deported from Canada in the past. Canada is also now collecting fingerprints from many applicants for visitor, work and study applications at our visa offices outside of Canada.
A fingerprint record is not only a criminal check, but also rules out that an applicant is using another identity after having previously being unable to stay in Canada.
In our experience with Permanent Residence applications, requests for a fingerprint based RCMP certificate are common enough that we advise all of our clients to simply get one and have it as part of the original application submission. Our goal for each client is to have an application that can be approved without any requests for further documentation. Requests generally lead to the application slowing done.
Here in Waterloo Region, the police can no longer assist with fingerprints for Canadian Immigration applicants. The Waterloo Regional Police may offer to do a record check for a fee of $25 or $30, but these are NOT useful in any way for immigration as they were not based on fingerprints.
Clients should instead see an accredited private agency for digital fingerprints. These can be transmitted to the Ottawa electronically, and allow the RCMP to quickly process an acceptable clearance certificate. We recommend OTS Services in Cambridge managed by Wayne Newman. OTS Services has provided great service to our clients over the years, and can even ensure that the results are sent directly to our office to add to your file.