Fingerprinting for Citizenship and Immigration Canada

If you’re applying for permanent residency or Canadian citizenship there is a good chance that Citizenship and Immigration Canada has requested that you have a set of fingerprints taken. If they haven’t already, they will.

Certified Canadian Criminal Records Check

There are 2 reasons you may require fingerprints for a CIC application. The first is to complete a certified Canadian records check or criminal record verification with the RCMP. To complete this check you will need to have fingerprints taken digitally, and submitted directly to the RCMP for processing. These fingerprints need to be taken by the police, your local RCMP detachment, or an RCMP accredited agency like the National Pardon Centre.

If there is no criminal record on file with the RCMP, the RCMP will usually process the results in an average of 3 business days plus mailing time. Results can be sent directly to the CIC office handling your application. But if you wish to keep a copy for your records, you can receive the results yourself and then forward them to the CIC. Either way, we recommend you follow up with the CIC to ensure they have received the fingerprinting results and added the information to your file.

Police Certificates

The second reason you may have to complete fingerprinting for a CIC application is to obtain a foreign police certificate. Police certificates are commonly requested by the CIC for all countries in which an individual has resided for more than 6 months while they are over the age of 18.

To obtain a foreign police check you will need to have fingerprints taken in ink – one set for each required police certificate – to send overseas or to submit to an embassy for processing.

Ink fingerprints can be taken on an RCMP C216 C fingerprinting forms or a comparable form from the country processing the police certificate. The CIC website includes a helpful online tool with information on how to apply for a foreign police certificate, listed by country.

If you are located outside of Canada, you can still apply for a certified Canadian records check through an RCMP accredited agency. National Pardon Centre’s international fingerprinting service makes it easy to submit ink fingerprints for digitization and submission to the RCMP for processing from abroad.

Timelines for completing your fingerprints and records check.

CIC commonly requests that you obtain your fingerprints within 30 days of receiving a request. If you’re able to visit our walk-in-centres we have fingerprinting services in Toronto and fingerprinting services in Montreal. We will be happy to complete your fingerprinting and have your application sent to the RCMP within about 15 minutes.

If there is no record on file you can expect a quick turn-around time. Your fingerprints should be processed and returned within 3 days + mailing time. But please keep in mind that these time frames are not guaranteed.

Furthermore once we have submitted the fingerprints to the RCMP it is completely out of our hands. However, we will make sure to provide you with a copy of the submission so you can inform CIC and follow up directly with the RCMP if required.

If you have a criminal record it can take up to 3 months to receive the results.

In most circumstances fingerprint results must be completed within 18 months of submitting your final citizenship application. However CIC has advised that this can vary on a case by case basis. While it’s natural to want to be proactive when completing your application, CIC recommends that you wait to complete your fingerprinting until it has been requested

Questions about timelines or your fingerprinting requirements?

Contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada directly for information.

Questions about the fingerprinting process?

Contact National Pardon Centre , drop by one of our walk-in centres or check out our blog.

Coming to see us?

If you drop in please be sure to bring 2 pieces of government-issued ID and the fingerprinting request from CIC listing your Client ID and Application number.

We are happy to answer all of your questions and complete either your digital and/or ink fingerprinting needs right away.

Comments (13)
Brayden Jones / February 21, 2016

Hello. My wife is trying to move here perminitly, but we are having a hard time getting her prints done. The Canadian government wants them done on non criminal finger print cards in ink to sent to the fbi for a record check. She lives in America now and the police stations in usa and Canada both say they cant do them. Please help


Michael Ashby / February 22, 2016

Hi Brayden,

If she is in American then I would think she should be able to find someone to take her prints on an FBI card. I could take her prints on the FBI card if she were here. I could also facilitate the background check for Canada easily enough but this is a bit of a different matter. I suggest she start looking for a fingerprinting agency where she is. The term you’re looking for is FBI card.

Best luck,


GD / May 10, 2016

Hi Michael, Great article. I applied for citizenship and asked for fingerprints but I moved to a newer house and hence missed the letter. As its over 30 days, what do you think I should do now. I am 15 days late from the 30 day window. Please advise. Thank you.

Michael Ashby / May 10, 2016

Hi GD,

I would probably just get another set of prints done asap. Did you not have the results forwarded directly to your CIC office? If so it wouldn’t make a difference.


JV Gill / February 20, 2018

Hi GD,
I am in a similar situation. I went to visit India for three weeks and missed the one month finger print window by one week. Finally I did send them my fingerprints but I am not sure If I should be worried or should be following up with them.

Do you have any suggestions ?


Michael Ashby / February 20, 2018

Hi JV,

I can only take the prints. I’m not really the one to advise you on anything to do with CIC unfortunately.


Judy Kim / September 29, 2016

Hi, my son finally got his finger print result after submitting it since Nov., 2015 and sent it to CIC for the final processing of citizenship grant. He sent it by Canada Post registered mail. However, Canada Post failed to track the mail and now I’m not sure whether it had been delivered to CIC or not. I contacted RCMP and was told that he should re-do finger print work to get the original as RCMP do not keep the result. I only have the copy as the original was sent to CIC. Canada Post says “may or may not delivered… Sorry”. Do you know whether CIC accept the copy of the fingerprint result? That’s what I can do now. Please help me.

Cb / August 16, 2017

The lawyer told my husband we have to go to the Commissionaires office for immigration criminal record check is this true? Can we do it at local police station?

Keri / August 16, 2017

We offer the service at both our Toronto and Montreal offices. We are available Monday through Friday from 830 AM until 5 PM. You do not need an appointment.
Montreal office
2000 Peel St suite 650
Montreal QC H3A 2W5
2 Carlton St Suite 1503
Toronto ON M5B 1J3


Keri Wallis

Gurinder / April 10, 2018

Hi there
My mom lives in India and needs PCC from Canada for immigration. Her finger prints were done digitally in Local police station. Because of the old age her prints were not coming with ink. Could you please help me to send those digital prints to RCMP.

Michael Ashby / April 10, 2018

Hi Gurinder,

You can download the required forms by clicking the link below to go to our website. It is a fairly simple matter that we handle on a regular basis.

If you have any questions after reviewing the information please feel free to get in touch.

Kind regards,


Rafy / July 18, 2018

I am on Peace bond which will end on October 2018.
Charges were withdrawn October 2017.
I have been asked by CIC to make finger print.
Is the peace bond is something preventing me from applying to citizenship?

Michael Ashby / July 23, 2018

I am not 100% sure. I suggest you check with your immigration consultant.



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