Police Clearance Letters and Criminal Record Checks in Canada

Published on Thursday, November 14, 2013

If you are planning to live or work in a foreign country, you may need to provide an authenticated and legalized, or apostilled, Police Clearance Letter or Criminal Record Check.

What are Police Clearance Letters and Criminal Record Checks?

Both the Police Clearance Letter and the Criminal Record Check are documents issued by a local police detachment in Canada stating that your name and date of birth have been searched in the National Repository of Criminal Records maintained by the RCMP.

Is there any other kind of Criminal Record Check?

In addition to the basic Criminal Record Check or Police Clearance Letter where only your name and date of birth are searched, you may also need to include your fingerprints.

You can get a Criminal Record Check with Fingerprints or a RCMP Certified Criminal Record Check. To do this, you will need to personally go to a local police station to have your fingerprints taken.

If you are not in Canada, you should know that the RCMP will not accept electronic fingerprint submissions from outside of Canada. Therefore, your application for a Certified Criminal Record Check submitted by mail may take up to 18 weeks to process. You can find more information on the RCMP website.

Does the Police Clearance Letter or Criminal Record Check require Notarization?

Any criminal record check that is issued at a local police detachment must be notarized before going through the authentication and legalization process.
A Certified Criminal Record Check that is issued by the RCMP headquarters in Ottawa does not require notarization.

What are the requirements for the authentication and legalization, or apostille, process?

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFATD) in Ottawa will authenticate a notarized Police Clearance Letter/Criminal Record Check or a Certified Criminal Record Check issued by the RCMP headquarters in Ottawa. Once your document has been authenticated by DFATD, it is then submitted to the relevant diplomatic mission for legalization. For more on the Canadian authentication and legalization process, see our article – What is Authentication and Legalization?

At International Documents Canada we have helped many clients with the authentication and legalization of Criminal Record Checks issued at the local level, as well as the RCMP headquarters in Ottawa. We would welcome a chance to discuss your particular needs.

Call us toll free at 1-888-433-1011 or visit us at idocscanada.ca

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