RCMP Clearance Certificate. What is a “criminal clearance certificate”, requested by CIC?

fingerprintAs a part of background check, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) requests all permanent resident applicants and some temporary resident applicants to submit a set of their fingerprints OR to submit a criminal clearance certificate from any country they have resided more than six months in a calendar year after turning 18 years old – ref: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cr-cj/steps-etapes-eng.htm.

After turning into “electronic age”, the fingerprints can be done in two ways – (1) ink-jet fingerprint – a good old day of putting ink onto your fingers and press your fingers onto the fingerprint form by the authorized agency (such as a local police); and (2) electronic fingerprint – press your fingers onto the electronic panels.  Currently, the Royal Canadian Mounty Police (RCMP) takes about 22 weeks to process the traditional ink-jet fingerprint, whereas electronic fingerprint takes about 4 weeks.

When and if CIC requests for a set of fingerprints, CIC wishes to proceed with the RCMP clearance certificate OR to save time, applicants may get the RCMP clearance certificate to CIC directly.  However, RCMP WILL NOT submit the RCMP clearance certificate UNLESS CIC initiates such clearance request in the first place.  In other words, if applicants only get the fingerprints for CIC, CIC will forward it to RCMP for clearance certificate.  If applicants get the RCMP clearance certificate directly from RCMP, applicants must submit the original RCMP clearance certificate to CIC because RCMP will not forward to CIC.

It is important to know this difference to save the processing time and to meet CIC’s request in a timely manner to avoid any refusal due to non-compliance.

If you have any individual questions or concerns, please contact our office for more customized consultation for your unique situation. Please note that this posting is for general information only and is not to be considered binding or official legal counsel since situations will vary and can be complicated. The content in this post is current as of the day of entry. Due to the changing nature of Immigration law, the information in this entry may or may not still be applicable