Wed | Jul 18, 2018

Immigration Corner | Do I need a police report?

Published:Tuesday | May 2, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Ms Powell,

I want to apply to live in Canada and I was told that I will need to have police records from all the countries that I've visited. I attended school in the USA and only spent three summer vacations with my aunt in Canada and returned to the USA each time. I also went on a youth programme in the UK. I visited again a few times since. Do I need a police report from all these countries? How would I go about getting the reports? Do I need to have these reports before I apply?

- S.E.

Dear S.E.,

Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) may require police records from individuals who are applying for permanent residence, study permit, work permit and some temporary resident visas, if the individual is over 18 years old. IRCC usually requires police certificates or clearance certificates from any country or territory where you have spent six months or more since the age of 18. This is to ensure that you are not a security risk to other individuals in Canada.

If you visited Canada for a total of six months or more, albeit only on summer vacations, you will need to submit a police certificate from Canada.

To obtain a Canadian, certified criminal record check that would be valid under express entry, you must follow the procedure listed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on the website It may be difficult to obtain this document from outside Canada, therefore I recommend that you apply for this document on your next visit to Canada.

If you are unable to visit Canada, you should obtain fingerprints with the official forms used by the RCMP. The forms are available on the website.

To submit the application electronically, you will need to contact one of the accredited private companies listed on the RCMP website, so that they that can process the conversion of your file electronically in order to obtain a Canadian-certified criminal record check. Only accredited fingerprint companies are allowed to submit fingerprints to the RCMP's Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services and to conduct searches of the National Repository of Criminal Records. You will find a detailed guide on the RCMP website.




You indicated that you went to university in the USA, although you may have spent summers elsewhere, therefore you will be required to provide an FBI clearance certificate from the USA. Visit the FBI website at

Request an 'Identity History Summary', also known as a criminal history record, or a rap sheet. To do so, you will need to download and complete the application form, get your fingerprints using the required forms, pay the fee either via credit card or submit a certified cheque. This package should be sent to the address found on the FBI website.

There is a list of FBI-approved channelers or private businesses that may submit the application on your behalf. If you choose to use a third party, you should ensure that the company is approved by the FBI before submitting your confidential information.

You did not say the length of time you spent in the United Kingdom on your youth programme and how old you were when you visited. However, the same principle applies. So if you were over 18 years old, visited the UK for four months, left for a few years and then returned for two months, you need a police clearance certificate from the UK, as your trips there would count as spending six months in total there.

The Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office handles applications for police report for Canadian visas. You may submit an application online or via mail. Full details about the required forms and fees may be found on their website:

The processing time to get these police report/ certificate/ clearances vary and therefore I recommend that you submit an application for these reports immediately to avoid delays with your application.

- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars. Submit your questions and comments to - Email: Subject line: Immigration. Find her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer. Tel: 613-695-8777.