If you are accepting a job or moving overseas you may be asked to submit a criminal record check. Figuring out how to get one can be confusing. And even more confusing, in many situations will first be asked to have this document authenticated and legalized before it is accepted in a foreign country. In this article, we give you the basics about Canadian criminal record checks and how to have them authenticated and legalized, and point you to further sources of information and assistance if needed.
What type of criminal record check do I need?
There are two different types of criminal record checks available to residents of Canada. The first type of criminal record check is a basic criminal record check. With a basic criminal record check the police will only use your name and date of birth when they check their database to see if you have a criminal record. No fingerprints are needed for a basic criminal record check.
The second type is called a certified criminal record check. To obtain this type of criminal record check the RCMP will search their database using your fingerprints as well as your name and date of birth. This type of criminal record check is issued by the RCMP Headquarters and is the most commonly accepted version.
There are a bunch of other terms that are frequently used in Canada, including Background Check, Police Check, RCMP Check, and Police Clearance Certificate. Other countries sometimes use the terms Non-Criminal Record Check or Certificate of Good Conduct. But to be clear, in Canada there are only two forms of criminal record check – basic and certified.
How do I order a Canadian criminal record check?
Basic criminal record checks can be obtained from the local police force in your area. For certified criminal record checks you can apply directly to the RCMP, or you can apply through an accredited fingerprinting agency in Canada. If you apply directly to the RCMP you will need to provide fingerprints taken by an accredited company or your local police. If you are located in a country outside of Canada and need to obtain a Canadian criminal record check you will need to get your fingerprints taken by a company accredited by the RCMP. Contact us for more information or for assistance in obtaining your criminal record check.
What else do I need to do to use my Canadian criminal record check in another country?
In many cases, before your Canadian criminal record check will be accepted in another country it will need to go through the document authentication and legalization process. This process is used to confirm the authenticity of a Canadian document in a way that makes it official in other countries.
You should note that there are some other names for the Canadian authentication and legalization process that you might hear, including and especially the terms “apostille” or “attestation”. If you have been told that you need to present a Canadian criminal record check that has been apostilled or attested, what you will be doing is authenticating and legalizing this document.
How do I authenticate and legalize my criminal record check?
The process of authenticating and legalizing your Canadian criminal record check involves three steps:
Step 1: Documents preparation
The first step is to ensure your criminal record check is ready for processing. Depending on the type of criminal record check you have (basic or certified) you may be required to notarize the document first. You also may be required to submit a cover letter or supporting documents.
Step 2: Authenticating your documents
After you prepare your documents they need to be submitted to Global Affairs Canada (GAC) for authentication. Once the GAC staff has determined that your criminal record check meets their requirements they will place a large red stamp directly on your document, confirming it has been authenticated.
Step 3: Legalizing your documents
The final step of the authentication and legalization process is to submit your authenticated criminal record check to the embassy or consulate of the country where you will be sending your processed document. Once the consular staff confirms that your criminal record check meets all their requirements they will place a stamp, sticker or certificate directly on your document, confirming it has been legalized. Your document is now ready to be submitted in a foreign country.
Where can I find more info on authenticating and legalizing a Canadian criminal record check?
The first place to get more answers is the International Documents Canada website. You will find information on many different aspects of authenticating and legalizing your documents. We also have a page aimed specifically at criminal record checks. If you don’t find the information you are looking for on our website we invite you to phone our friendly staff. We would be happy to answer your questions.
Can you help me with authenticating and legalizing my criminal record check?
At International Documents Canada, we specialize in managing the authentication and legalization process for our clients. When you contact us for your free consultation we will first take the time to understand your specific situation and answer any questions you have. We will then clearly explain your options and provide you with a detailed quote, so that you have the information you need to figure out which option is right for you. Contact us through our website or phone us toll-free at 1-888-433-1011 – we look forward to hearing from you!