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.
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?
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.