Navigating the Canadian immigration process through the Express Entry system can be both exciting and daunting. As you undertake this journey toward permanent residency, there are several key elements you’ll need to understand, and one of the most crucial among them is the requirement for police certificates. These documents play a vital role in determining your eligibility to enter and stay in Canada.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about police certificates for your Express Entry application, providing valuable insights to help you navigate this aspect of the immigration process with confidence.


Understanding Police Certificates

Firstly, let’s clarify what exactly police certificates are and why they’re essential. Police certificates, also known as clearance certificates or criminal record checks, are official documents issued by law enforcement agencies. They serve to verify your background and assess your eligibility for immigration to Canada. Essentially, they provide immigration authorities with a snapshot of your criminal record, if any, helping them make informed decisions regarding your admissibility to the country.


Significance of Police Certificates in Express Entry

In the context of the Express Entry system, police certificates are mandatory for all applicants. Whether you’re applying under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, or Canadian Experience Class, you’ll need to submit these certificates within 90 days of receiving an invitation to apply. Given the competitive nature of Express Entry and the potential delays in obtaining these certificates, it’s crucial to initiate the process as soon as possible after entering the applicant pool.


Application Requirements

When applying for Canadian permanent residence, certain application requirements regarding police certificates must be met:

  • Include police certificates for yourself and accompanying family members aged 18 or older.

When applying for Canadian permanent residence through the Express Entry system, you are required to submit police certificates for yourself and any family members who are 18 years of age or older.

  • Provide certificates for every country for six months or more of continuous stay in the past ten years.

You must also provide certificates for each country where you or a family member has resided continuously for six months or more within the preceding ten years.

  • Exemptions for periods before turning 18 or time spent in Canada

However, you do not need to provide police certificates for periods before you turn 18 years old. Additionally, time spent living in Canada does not require police certificates. These exemptions simplify the application process by focusing on relevant periods of adult residency and excluding time spent during childhood or within the Canadian jurisdiction.


Obtaining Police Certificates
  • Police certificates must be scanned copies of the original-colored certificates. Certified true copies or unauthorized duplicates will not be accepted and could result in the rejection of your application.


  • In some cases, certain countries may require a request letter from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) before issuing a police certificate. If this applies to you, you can upload a document in the police certificate field of your document checklist, indicating that you require an official request letter from IRCC.


Understanding Validity and Expiry Dates

Certificates from your current country of residence must be issued no more than six months before the date you submit your application and must not expire. For certificates from any other country, they must be issued after the last time you stayed there for six months or more in a row. If a certificate has expired, include it anyway, as IRCC may still accept it under certain conditions.


When to Obtain a Police Certificate

You don’t need your Police Certificate at the time of the Express Entry Profile opening. You will need once you receive the Invitation to apply and be ready to submit your PR application. Even better, you can start applying from the date you realize that your points in the Express Entry are high and there is s high chance of invitation.


Where Obtain a Police Certificate

Please follow the link bellow for the specific country: How to get a police certificate – Immigration and citizenship – Canada.ca


Addressing Challenges

If you’re unable to obtain a police certificate in time for your application, you have two options:

  1. Decline the invitation to apply, and your profile will go back into the pool for future consideration.
  2. Provide proof that you’ve applied for the certificate, along with a letter of explanation.

Proof could include a confirmation receipt, payment receipt, delivery notice, or tracking number.

Be aware that IRCC may still reject your application if they’re not satisfied that you’ve made your best effort to obtain the certificate on time.


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