Frequently Asked Questions about RCMP Accredited Fingerprinting Procedures

How do I get my fingerprints taken?

If I was deported can I be denied entry?

There are two different methods of having your fingerprints taken in Canada: digital fingerprinting and ink fingerprinting.

What is the difference between digital fingerprinting and ink fingerprinting?

Digital fingerprints are taken with a scanning device (live scan), stored electronically and submitted to the RCMP directly for review and certification.

Ink fingerprints are taken with ink so the fingerprinting impression can be rolled or pressed onto a paper form. Please note that the RCMP no longer accepts ink fingerprints for certification.

More information:

Fingerprinting Services

What is a rolled fingerprinting impression?

Fingerprint impression must be rolled from one edge of the finger to the next. A flat impression is not suitable for certification procedures.

What is a flat fingerprinting impression?

A flat fingerprinting impression is just as it sounds. The end of the finger is simply pushed down onto the paper rather than rolled side to side. To see the difference click below:

Rolled impression (top) vs. Flat impression (bottom)

What is non-criminal fingerprinting?

Non- criminal fingerprinting is done for identity and background verification. It is different from having your fingerprints taken during an arrest because the fingerprints are not stored anywhere. Rather, they are used to identify you compared to someone else and to retrieve the information that the police may have on file about you. If there is nothing on file non-criminal fingerprints are used to verify that no record exists.

How long does it take to get my fingerprinting certification results from the RCMP?

If you have a criminal record attached to your name the fingerprinting certification will take up to 120 days.

If you do not have a criminal record the fingerprint certification will take 3 business days or less.

Please note these time frames do not include mailing time via Canada Post.
For more information:

Is there any way to expedite the fingerprinting process?

No. Time frames are set by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
What do I need to bring with me to get my fingerprints taken for a regular background check?

You must have two pieces of government ID and a means of payment in order for us to complete your fingerprinting request.

How much does fingerprinting cost?

Please see our pricing page:


Is the $25 RCMP certification fee included in your pricing?


If I require additional fingerprint certifications do I need to return to your office?

No you do not need to come back for additional prints. It is possible to store your fingerprint submission and resubmit at an additional request at a later date. Simply call us and make the request.

Where are your fingerprinting offices located?

We have walk in centres in Montreal and Toronto.

FAQ – Fingerprinting for Immigration to Canada

Why do I need to have my fingerprints taken for immigration?

Fingerprinting is simply a part of the procedures required by immigration law.

Do I need the paperwork from CIC requesting that I get my fingerprints taken?

Ideally you should have the paperwork from CIC. It will help us be certain you are getting the right prints for the right purpose and that they will be sent to the right place. However, if you do not have the paperwork you will either need the address of the CIC office you are dealing with or you will need to receive the fingerprinting results yourself and then forward it to your CIC office at a later date.

I have my Fingerprint Request Letter. Will that be enough to get my fingerprints taken?

Yes, your fingerprinting Request Letter will be very helpful. If you have it, bring it along.

What does a Fingerprint Request Letter look like?

It is a simple one page letter sent from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. To see an example click the link below.

Fingerprint Request Letter

Should my results be sent back to me or CIC directly?

The results can be sent to either you or your CIC office. It’s up to you which option you prefer.

What if I can’t comply with the deadline to provide fingerprints? (ie. 30 day deadline from when request is dated)

If you have a criminal record you will not be able to comply with the 30 day deadline since results take up to 120 days. In this case we will provide confirmation that the fingerprints were taken within the appropriate time frame. We will also provide you with a print out of RCMP fingerprinting time lines to prove that the delay is not your fault.

FAQ – Fingerprinting for Work and Employment

Do I need to provide the name of my employer and/or my position?

Yes we will need the name of the company hiring you. However, if you are intending to work for the government we only need the level of government in Question.

If you want the results sent directly to the human resources department of your employer we will need mailing address and contact information.

If my position requires a vulnerable sector check can I get my fingerprints done first?

No, you must initiate a vulnerable sector check with your local police station.

How do I know if I need a vulnerable sector check or just a regular criminal record check?

It is the responsibility of your employer to tell you what you need. If they do not request a vulnerable sector check then you only require a criminal background check.

For more information:

Can you send multiple copies of the results?

Yes, however multiple fees will apply.

When do the fingerprints expire for employment purposes?

Fingerprint expiry is based on the requirement of your employer.

What kind of jobs / careers require a fingerprinting check?

More and more jobs require a criminal record check. In addition, any kind of professional accreditation will require a criminal background check to be done through a fingerprint submission.

FAQ – Fingerprinting From Within Canada For Foreign Countries

How do I get my fingerprints taken for a foreign visa or immigration application?

For foreign visa and immigration applications of any kind you cannot use live scan fingerprinting technology. Instead you will need a set of ink and paper fingerprints.

Should I get my fingerprints certified for my foreign visa or immigration application?

It depends on what the foreign government is requesting. If they require an RCMP accredited background check then you will have your fingerprints certified by the RCMP.

In this case you will need to have them taken electronically (live scan).

Will RCMP fingerprints be accepted by foreign governments?

Yes. RCMP fingerprints are taken on standard fingerprinting forms.

How do I get fingerprints for a foreign police certificate?

Foreign police certificates are commonly requested by Citizenship and Immigration Canada among other places. In this case you will need to provide a set of ink fingerprints to each of the countries where you have lived for the past 10 years.

Other professional certifications in Canada may also require foreign police certificates.

FAQ – Fingerprinting From Outside Canada For an RCMP Criminal Records Check

Will the RCMP accept ink fingerprints submitted from outside Canada?

The RCMP no longer accepts any ink based fingerprint submissions. For more information please see the RCMP website.

How do I submit digital fingerprints to the RCMP from outside Canada?

Our office has the technology to scan a set of ink fingerprints into our system and then digitize them for submission to the RCMP. The fingerprints will be reviewed and certified exactly as they would if you were having your fingerprints taken in person

Simply download our international fingerprinting package to get started.

International Fingerprinting Order Forms

Can I email you my international fingerprints for digitization?

No. We require the original hard copy fingerprinting form to ensure sufficient quality for digitization and successful submission to the RCMP. However, supporting documents such as copies of photo ID can be accepted by email.

Does your fee include the RCMP $25 processing fee?


If I submit the international fingerprinting package to your office do I also have to submit any documentation directly to the RCMP?

No, we will submit all the necessary information required to complete your RCMP certified Canadian criminal record check.

What is a “rolled impression”?

A rolled impression refers to a wide impression of the entire fingerprint rolled from one side to the other (see example below). These are used for the individual prints on the top part of the form. Ensure the technician taking your prints rolls slowly and applies even pressure for a clear good quality print.

Rolled vs Flat Fingeprint Impression

What address should I list on the international fingerprinting order form and fingerprinting card?

You may list either your permanent home address (in Canada or overseas) or your temporary home address. The address does not need to be in Canada. Note, this address will be listed on your RCMP results. If you would like your results returned to a different address please list it on the Consent to Release Personal Information form.

How long will it take to get my results?

Once we receive your application in our office we will process and submit it to the RCMP for certification the same day. The RCMP then takes an average of 3 business days to process the results if there is no criminal record on file. If there is a record on file it may take up to 120 days to process the results. Keep in mind these time frames do not include mailing time which will vary from country to country.

Once complete, the RCMP will return the results to the address of your choice by regular Canada Post. Our office can receive the results on your behalf to forward by registered mail. You may contact us for more details on international mailing options.

Is there any way to expedite the process?


How can I find out the status of my application once it has been submitted to the RCMP?

We check to make sure all of our submissions were successfully received by the RCMP. Unless authorized, the RCMP will not release further information regarding the status of a fingerprint submission to our office or another third party.

Once the standard processing times have passed you may follow up directly with the RCMP by email ( or phone (613-998-6362).

You should provide them with the following information:

  • Full Name, Date of Birth
  • Date of Submission
  • Type of Request e.g. Visa/Waiver, Employment, Canadian Citizenship

If necessary, you may also contact our office to obtain your Document Control Number (DCN), a reference number for your submission. Note: If contacting the RCMP by phone you may need to leave a voice mail.

Can I receive my results by email?

The RCMP will only return results by regular Canada Post. If the results are being returned to our office we can send a scanned copy to you by email prior to mailing if requested. Note, a scanned copy may not be accepted for official use. Our office does not keep any copies of the results after mailing.

FAQ – Fingerprinting For an FBI Check

How can I get this an FBI fingerprinting check done while living in Canada?

We can take your fingerprints on FBI cards and give them to you. Then you simply submit them to whatever agency is relevant for your purposes.

Do you have FBI fingerprinting cards at your walk in centres?

Yes. At both our Montreal and Toronto walk in locations we have FBI fingerprinting cards available.

What is the cost for fingerprints on an FBI fingerprinting card?

For fingerprinting costs please view our pricing page by clicking the following link:


FAQ – Fingerprinting For a Record Suspension (pardon) or US Entry Waiver

Why do I need fingerprints taken for a record suspension (pardon) or US entry waiver?

Fingerprinting is the first step in both a pardon and a waiver application. These procedures are set by the appropriate government agencies responsible for reviewing and granting these applications.

For more information:

Do fingerprints for a record suspension (pardon) expire?

No, provided there is no additional information to report on your fingerprint certification.

However, if you have been arrested since your last fingerprint certification it will not be accepted.

Do fingerprints for a US entry waiver expire?

Fingerprints for a US entry waiver expire after 15 months.

For more information:

FAQs US entry waivers

FAQ – Fingerprinting For a Vulnerable Sector Check

What is a vulnerable sector check?

A vulnerable sector check is a more comprehensive background check intended to help protect vulnerable people.

Who is considered a vulnerable person?

Children are most commonly considered vulnerable people. A vulnerable person could also be an elderly person or someone with a mental or physical disability.

How do I get a vulnerable sector (VS) check in Canada?

By law vulnerable sector checks MUST start and end with your local police station. If your local police station does not provide fingerprinting services you may be referred to the National Pardon Centre for this portion of the vulnerable sector check procedure.

What happens when my fingerprints are taken for a vulnerable sector check?

A VS search is more comprehensive than a regular fingerprint certification. It will include sealed records (through a record suspension or pardon), the sex offender registry and local police records.

Who needs to get a vulnerable sector check?

Anyone working with people considered to be at a social disadvantage should be required to get a vulnerable sector check.

FAQ – About RCMP Accredited Fingerprinting

What is an RCMP accredited fingerprinting agency?

The RCMP CCRTIS program is responsible for certifying private companies to take and submit electronic fingerprints to the RCMP Civil Fingerprinting Division.

For more information click here:

Is National Pardon Centre RCMP accredited?

The National Pardon Centre participated in the original pilot program with the RCMP that launched electronic fingerprinting in Canada. We are a Direct Connect client which means that we maintain our own server for our connections. In contrast most private companies connect through a third party service provider.

For more information:

National Pardon Centre receives RCMP accreditation for electronic fingerprinting

Call us: 1-866-242-2411 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday to Friday