If you are immigrating through one of Canada’s Express Entry-aligned immigration programs, you will be asked to submit police certificates as a part of your final electronic application for permanent residence (eAPR).
Police certificates are a mandatory requirement, and failure to include them can result in your application being rejected. Make sure you understand what’s required for your file, before it’s too late!
This page should answer all your questions about getting a police certificate for Express Entry immigration to Canada.
What is a police certificate?
A police certificate is a document issued by a government authority detailing a person’s history of criminal offenses.
If you have no history of criminal behaviour, you have nothing to worry about as long as you submit the correct documents. If you do have a criminal record with any serious offenses, it could jeopardize your application. Serious criminal offenses can result in an applicant being refused due to criminal inadmissibility.
Depending on the country, police certificates may be called police clearance certificates, good conduct certificates, judicial record extracts, or another name.
When will IRCC ask for my police certificate?
Express Entry is a multi-step process. First, and only if you are eligible for one of the Express Entry-aligned Canadian immigration programs, you must create and submit your Express Entry profile. If your profile has a high enough score under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), you will be selected from the pool and issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. The police certificate will only be requested as part of the final permanent residence application, after the ITA has been received.
After receiving an ITA, you will have 60 days to prepare and submit your PR application. However, it is recommended that you apply for your police certificates in advance of receiving an ITA, even if you don’t necessarily expect to be invited soon; Express Entry draws can throw up a few surprises, such as program-specific draws that have lower a CRS cut-off threshold, so it’s better to have your police certificate(s) ready to submit if or when required, rather than scrambling to meet a deadline. Having your police certificate for Express Entry ready before receiving an ITA is a winning strategy.
What police certificate(s) do I need?
You will require police certificates for any country in which you stayed for six consecutive months. Police certificates are not required for countries in which you stayed prior to the age of 18.
Police certificates are required for the main applicant, as well as any accompanying family members who are 18 years of age, or older. The process for requesting a police certificate varies by country. Please consult IRCC’s webpage to learn the process for each country.
Please note that after submitting your application, IRCC’s immigration officers may request additional police certificates for countries in which you stayed for less than six months. For countries that you’ve stayed in frequently, but never for longer than six months, you may submit a police certificate with your initial application in order to avoid the possible delay of an additional document request.