Police Checks for Canada Immigration

Police Clearance Certificate for Canada Immigration

What is a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC)?


Each country has its own name for what is essentially a check on your criminal record in your home Country, prior to moving to Canada.

You will need to upload a full-color scan of your Police Background Check with your documents within 60 days of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) to Canada. Police Clearance Certificates are one of the most common reasons applicants get rejected at the documentation stage with problems such as not having all the required PCC’s, expired PCC’s and unexpected offenses appearing on applicants PCC.

It is far better to be “too ready” than miss out on your permanent residency for something that could easily be avoided.

Why does Canada require PCCs?


Canada wants to know about the criminal history of anyone applying for permanent residency in their country. Permanent Residency is a path to becoming a Canadian Citizen so Canada does not want to be inviting people with criminal records into their country to live and work.

Who has to obtain a Police Clearance Certificate


Everyone on your application who is over 18 years of age. This includes yourself, your spouse or partner, and any children on your application who are over 18.


Do my children need a PCC to Immigrate


Only if they are 18 years of age or over.


Which Countries do I need a Clearance Certificate from?


You will all need a PCC from your current country of residence and all countries you have lived in for more than six months consecutively within the past ten years. 

In relation to the “past 10 years” rule, you only need a police check if you were over 18 at the time of living in the country. This applies to yourself, your spouse, and your children.

How do I obtain a PCC?


Every nation has a different process of obtaining Police Clearance certificates.

The Canadian Government has different requests for police checks depending on which country you live or lived in. For example, if you lived in certain states of Australia, Canada wants you to obtain driving record checks as well.

If you lived in a country that has changed its name or status, the police certificate should come from the current national authorities of that country. Canada will know the Country has changed its name or status and you just get the certificate in the name of what the Country is now known as.


PCC validity


The Police Clearance Certificate from the country you are currently living in is valid for six months.

PCCs from a country you have previously lived in are valid from the last time you visited the country.

As the Police Certificate from the Country you are living in is only valid for six months, it is usually obtained as soon as you are issued with an Invitation to Apply ITA.

Once your ITA is received you should immediately order your Police Clearance Certificate, to give it the best chance of arriving within the time frame. You should also keep the receipt of your PCC order payment to help put your case forward in the event you don’t receive your document on time.

If your document does not arrive on time, it is a serious situation and can cause your case officer to reject your application.

You can submit a Letter of Explanation stating you did all you could and applied immediately upon receipt of your ITA as well as submitting the receipt of order that you have, but still it is up to the officer if this will be accepted or not.

Many applicants get their PCC early to be certain nothing is showing up. There are sometimes mistakes or things that should not be there on your record. Getting a PCC quickly allows you time to deal with any issues that might need fixing.

If you need to obtain a Police Check for another Country that you have lived in previously for six months consecutively, then do this as soon as possible.

If you lived there in the past and have no plan to go back soon, then get the police check now. It takes longer to organize from overseas, so it gives you enough time and it will not expire unless you return to that country before you have to submit your documents.


What if I worked or lived in a country for a period of more than 6 months yet not continuously?


You do not need a Police Certificate from that country. If the immigration officer for some reason decides they would like a police certificate from that country they will ask you for it separately.

Migration Consultant at Migration Consultant LLC | Website | + posts

Alexander King is a leading authority in the field of migration, holding a prominent role as a Head of Compliance at Migration Consultant LLC (https://migrationconsultant.com). With years of expertise under his belt, King has guided countless individuals and families on their journey to immigrating to Australia and Canada, shaping countless lives with his professional advice and in-depth knowledge of immigration law and procedures.

His profound understanding of the complexities of immigration coupled with his unparalleled skills in tackling these challenges has earned him a reputation as a trusted expert in his field. This expertise is shared in his groundbreaking book, "How to Immigrate to Canada," a comprehensive guide designed to streamline the process for those aspiring to call Canada their new home.

King's dedicated, compassionate approach to helping others stems from his own experiences. Born and raised in a multicultural community, he grew up witnessing the struggles and triumphs of people striving to start new lives in new countries. This drove his passion for guiding others through their immigration journey, a passion that he pours into his work and writing.

Authoring "How to Immigrate to Canada" has been an endeavor close to his heart. King hopes that through his words, he can demystify the often daunting process of immigration, making it accessible and achievable for everyone.