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If you have been invited to apply for a Canadian work permit through one of the International Experience Canada (IEC) pools, you’ll have to submit a police certificate.

IEC applicants have 20 days after accepting their invitation to submit a complete work permit application, including at least one police certificate. Check out this article for all the information you need to know about your police certificate requirement.

What is a police certificate?

A police certificate is a document issued by a government that details a person’s criminal record, or states that a person has no criminal offenses. In certain cases, applicants with histories of criminal activities may have their applications rejected due to criminal inadmissibility. If you have no criminal record, you have nothing to worry about.

If you do have a criminal record and you want to understand how that could affect your application, we suggest reaching out to an immigration expert for their feedback. You can book a consultation with a registered immigration consultant to ask about your specific situation.

Police certificates go by a few different names: police clearance certificates, good conduct certificates, and judicial record extracts are common names, but some countries may use a different name.

When do I have to submit my certificate?

Police certificates will be requested as a part of your final IEC work permit application.Candidates interested in the IEC program first have to create a profile for IEC to confirm their eligibility for one of the pools. IEC includes three categories: Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op.

Periodically, IRCC issues invitations to apply to candidates in the IEC pools. If you receive an invitation, you’ll have 10 days to accept it. Once you accept, you will have an additional 20 days to submit your application for a Canadian work permit. Submitting a police certificate is a component of the work permit application.

Which countries do I need a certificate for?

IRCC usually requests police certificates for any country in which you stayed for six consecutive months. Police certificates are not required for anywhere you lived before the age of 18.

The process for getting a police certificate varies from country to country. To determine the requirements for your country, simply consult the IRCC webpage. The following countries have special instructions you should check closely regarding police certificates:

What do I need to submit and where do I submit it?

You have to include a scanned copy of the original document submitted electronically as part of the work permit application. Please note that you will only have one field in which to upload all your required police certificates, so if you have to submit multiple certificates, you will have to stitch (merge) the scanned files together into a single document.

How long is an IEC police certificate valid for?

If the certificate is for the country where you’re currently living, it must have been issued within the past six months. If it’s for any other country, then it must have been issued after the date that you last lived in the country for six consecutive months.

What if I can’t get my certificate before the deadline?

It’s common that applicants cannot get their certificates before their work permit deadline. Thankfully, there is a simple process to follow if you can’t get your certificate before the deadline.

If you can’t get your police certificate in time, you are allowed to submit proof that you have applied for the certificate as a placeholder. After reviewing your file, the immigration officer will contact you, allowing you to submit your outstanding certificate(s) at a later date. In order to be accepted, you must submit one of the following types of proof:

  • A copy of the receipt, showing that you applied for a certificate, or
  • A screenshot of the page or email confirming that you ordered a police certificate online.

Get detailed instructions on police certificates here

About the author

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Rebecca Major

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Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Rebecca Major is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (R511564) with nearly 15 years of licenced Canadian Immigration experience, gained after graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in the UK. She specializes in Canadian immigration at Moving2Canada.
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Citation "International Experience Canada (IEC): Understanding police certificates." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation