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POLICE CERTIFICATES & CLEARANCES

Security requirements

You and all your family members aged 18 and over who are not already Canadian citizens or permanent residents will be the subject of a background check, whether they will be accompanying you to Canada or not. To be admissible to Canada, you and your family members must not present any risk to Canada.

Background checks are intended to bar entry into Canada of those who may disrupt law and order, threaten the country’s safety and security or be detrimental to national interests. Normally, Immigration authorities establish the admissibility of applicants for permanent residence and their family members through documents such as the immigration application form, police certificates and background records and assessments.

You must provide a police certificate for each country listed in table 1 and in which you have lived for more than six months since reaching 18 years of age. This document must indicate either any criminal record or the absence of a criminal record. It must be obtained for yourself, your spouse or common-law partner, and all of your family members aged 18 and over.

It is your responsibility to contact the police or relevant authorities in each of the jurisdictions concerned. Most countries have systems in place to obtain police certificates or clearances. The certificates are normally issued by police authorities, but in some countries you will have to apply to municipal, provincial, federal or similar governmental authorities for your record. Embassies or consulates of the countries concerned may be able to give you additional information.

You may have to provide information or documentation such as photographs, authorization to release personal information, fingerprints, or your addresses and periods of residence in other countries. Some authorities may require a letter from Canadian immigration authorities confirming that you have applied to immigrate to Canada and that you must obtain evidence of any criminal record as part of the processing of your application.

Criminality

Generally, persons with a criminal conviction are not admitted into Canada. However, if a prescribed period has passed after they have completed their sentence or committed an offence and during which they were not convicted of a subsequent offence, they may be deemed to have been rehabilitated. If they are not deemed to have been rehabilitated, they may, under special circumstances, be eligible to apply for rehabilitation.

Offences outside Canada

If you were convicted of or committed a criminal offence outside Canada, you may be deemed to have been rehabilitated if 10 years have passed since you have completed the sentence imposed upon you or since you have committed the offence, if the offence is one that would, in Canada, be an indictable offence punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than 10 years. If the offence is one that would, in Canada, be prosecuted summarily and if you were convicted of two or more such offences, that period is 5 years after the sentence imposed was served or to be served.

Offences in Canada

If you have a criminal conviction in Canada, you must seek a pardon from the National Parole Board of Canada before you apply for immigration to Canada. For further information, contact:

Clemency and Pardons Division National Parole Board
410 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa ON K1A 0R1
Telephone: 1-800-874-2652 (Callers in Canada and the United States only)
Facsimile: 1-613-941-4981
Web site: www.npb-cnlc.gc.ca (the guide which includes application forms can be downloaded from the Web site)

If you have had two or more summary convictions in Canada, you may be deemed rehabilitated and no longer inadmissible if

• 5 years have passed since the sentence imposed was served or to be served,

• you have had no subsequent convictions and

• you have not been refused a pardon.

See Table 3 for a summary of the types of offences and length of rehabilitation periods.

If you or any of your family members have committed a criminal offence, you must provide, in addition to any police certificates or clearances, a full description of the circumstances surrounding the offence and the court record. This information will be reviewed by the visa office and you will receive further instructions.

We will also do our own background checks in all countries in which you and your family members have lived. These checks will determine if you have any arrests or criminal convictions, or if you are a security risk to Canada.

Table 1- Countries for which police certificates are required

Algeria

Anguilla

Antigua & Barbuda

Australia

Bahamas

Barbados

Belgium

Belize

Botswana

British Virgin Islands

Brunei

Cayman Islands

Costa Rica

Cyprus

Denmark

Dominica

El Salvador

Fiji

Finland

France

French Guyana

French Polynesia

Gambia

Germany

Ghana

Greece

Guyana

Honduras

Hong Kong

Iceland

Ireland, Republic of

Israel

Italy

Jamaica

Japan

Jordan - West Bank only

Kenya

Luxembourg

Macao

Malawi

Malaysia

Malta

Mauritius

Mayotte

Montserrat

Morocco

New Zealand

Namibia

Nigeria

Norway

Pakistan

Philippines

Portugal

St. Kitts & Nevis

St. Lucia

Seychelles

Singapore

South Africa

Spain

Sri Lanka

Surinam

Swaziland

Sweden

Switzerland

Syria

Tanzania

Trinidad and Tobago

Tunisia

Turkey

Turks & Caicos Islands

United States*

Yugoslavia

Zambia

Zimbabwe

*If you have lived in the United States, you must provide a state certificate AND a national FBI certificate.

If you have lived in a country that is not on the above list, we may still do criminal checks on your behalf. We will contact you if we need more information.

If other countries where you have lived are added to this list, you will be asked to provide police certificates before your application is concluded.

Table 2 - Countries for which supplementary forms are required

If you have lived in one or more of the countries listed below, you must complete additional forms. If you do not already have them, contact a Call Centre for further information.

If other countries where you have lived are added to this list, you will be asked to provide police certificates before your application is concluded.

Argentina

Egypt 

Germany

Israel

Japan

Republic of Ireland

South Korea

Sri Lanka

Switzerland

United States*

*Only if you have served in the U.S. military

We cannot process your application unless you have followed the additional instructions for the above countries.

If other countries where you have lived are added to this list, you will be asked to provide police certificates before your application is concluded.

Table 3 - Eligibility for Rehabilitation

Conviction or offence

Rehabilitation period

When deemed rehabilitated1

When eligible to apply for rehabilitation3

Indictable offence committed outside Canada, punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than 10 years

10 years after completion of the sentence imposed

5 years after completion of the sentence imposed

Indictable offence committed outside Canada, punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than 10 years

10 years after commission of the offence

5 years after commission of the offence

Two or more summary conviction offences committed in2 or outside Canada

5 years after the sentence imposed is served or to be served

 

Indictable offence committed in Canada

Must apply for a pardon

Must apply for a pardon

1 The person must not have been convicted of a subsequent offence during the rehabilitation period.

2 The person may be deemed rehabilitated only if a Canadian pardon has not been denied.

3 The person must not have been convicted of a subsequent offence during the rehabilitation period.

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