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Security Clearance
 


Each applicant for a Canada Immigration (Permanent Resident) Visa, aged 18 or over, will undergo a Security Clearance to prove that he or she is not criminally inadmissible. 


Police Clearance Certificates or certificates of non-criminal activity, as they are sometimes referred to, must be obtained from the country of current residence and from each country in which the applicant has resided for more than 6 months since his or her 18th birthday.

Police Clearance Certificates can usually can be obtained through law enforcement offices or other government agencies. In extenuating circumstances, Canadian Immigration Visa Offices will waive the requirement to submit Police Clearance Certificates.

Police certificates must be recently obtained.  They will be considered valid until the expiry stated on the certificate, or so long as they have been issued no more than three months before your full application for immigration to Canada is submitted to the Canadian immigration visa office abroad, whichever date is sooner.

All applicants for Canada immigration must also undergo a background clearance to weed out those who have been, or are involved in espionage, subversion or terrorism. This is to ensure that the safety and order of Canadian society are maintained and protected. Such security screening decisions are made based on information from every available source, which is then carefully weighed to determine whether an applicant is likely to threaten the internal security of Canada. When there is an indication of security concerns, an interview will be scheduled to discuss these findings with the applicant. Anyone who poses such a threat must necessarily be prevented from entering Canada.

Please note that there is a clear distinction between the Police Clearance Certificate, which the applicant is required to obtain, and the background clearance, in which the applicant for the most part is not actively involved.

If you have resided in the United States, you will be asked to provide State Police Clearance Certificates in addition to the FBI Police Clearance. 

 

Security Clearance FAQ



1. What is a Police Certificate?


All applicants for Canada Immigration (Permanent Resident) Visas, 18 years of age and older, must submit a Police Certificate from each country in which they have lived in for 6 months or more since their 18th birthday as part of the security clearance process. Police Certificates may go by different names in different countries. They are official documents that indicate any prior criminal activity.

If officials in a particular country refuse to issue a Police Certificate, it would be helpful if you could obtain a written statement from them confirming that they refused to issue the certificate. 

 

2. When must I submit the Police Certificate?


This depends on the category of Canada immigration under which you are applying and the Canadian Immigration Visa Office to which your application is being submitted. Police Certificates are only valid for a limited period of time.  For more detailed information, you should seek expert advice or get instructions from the Canadian Immigration Visa Office where you will submit your application. 

 

3. How do I obtain a Police Clearance Certificate?


It depends upon the country from which you require a Police Clearance Certificate. View detailed instructions on how to obtain a Police Clearance Certificate from each country.

 

4. Can I omit a Police Certificate from one or more countries?


If a Police Certificate is not forthcoming from a particular country, a written statement from the police officials of the country confirming their refusal to issue the certificate may be required. Citizenship and Immigration Canada may even waive this requirement altogether if a clear obstacle can be demonstrated. 

Applicants should assume that certificates must be obtained. 

 

5. What is a background clearance?


A background clearance detects applicants who "are, or have been, involved in espionage, subversion, or terrorism." It is separate from and in addition to a Police Certificate. The background clearance is conducted by the Canadian government without the participation of the applicant. 

 

6. What kind of criminal history would cause an applicant to be inadmissible to Canada?


Individuals wishing to enter Canada, either permanently or temporarily as visitors, foreign workers or international students, may be denied entry if they or their dependents are deemed criminally inadmissible.

A person may be considered inadmissible on the grounds of either:
Criminality
Serious criminality

 

7. What is criminality?


Criminality is:
Within Canada:
A conviction of an indictable offence punishable by a sentence of less than ten years; or
A conviction of two or more summary offences

Outside Canada:
A conviction of an act that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to an indictable offence punishable by a sentence of less than ten years; or
A conviction of two or more acts that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to summary offences;


A conviction of an act that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to a hybrid offence punishable by a sentence of less than ten years; or
The commission of an act that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to an indictable offence punishable by a sentence of less than ten years.

 

8. What is serious criminality?


Serious criminality is:
Within Canada:
A conviction of an act punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years; or
A conviction that has led to a prison term of at least six months.
Outside Canada:
A conviction of an act that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to an indictable offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years; or
A conviction of an act that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to a hybrid offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years; or
The commission of an act that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to an indictable offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years.

 

9. What is a hybrid offence?


A hybrid offence is an offence that may be prosecuted in Canada either by way of indictment or summary conviction.

A conviction for an act outside Canada that is equivalent to a hybrid offence in Canada will be considered an indictable offence for Canada immigration purposes. Even if the conviction was a summary conviction in the location where it occurred, it will still be considered an indictable offence by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) as long as the offence is equivalent to a hybrid offence in Canada. 

 

10. May I still enter Canada if I am criminally inadmissible?


If you are otherwise qualified but are criminally inadmissible, you may be allowed to enter Canada if Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) considers you criminally rehabilitated under either:
Deemed rehabilitation
Individual rehabilitation

 

11. How do I qualify for deemed rehabilitation?


Persons who are inadmissible on grounds of may still be permitted to enter Canada if they qualify for deemed rehabilitation

Persons qualify for deemed rehabilitation if they have:

Or 

Or 

 

12. How do I qualify for individual rehabilitation?


Persons who are inadmissible on grounds of serious criminality cannot qualify for deemed rehabilitation; that is, simple passage of time after the completion of their sentence does not alone qualify them for rehabilitated status.

However, persons who fall under the serious criminality classification, as well as others who do not qualify for deemed rehabilitation, may still qualify under the individual rehabilitation category.

To qualify for individual rehabilitation, the person must:

 

13. If I cannot qualify for rehabilitation, are there any other options available if I need to enter Canada with a criminally inadmissible record?


Yes. If the applicable rehabilitation requirements have not been met, but an otherwise criminally inadmissible person has a pressing need to enter Canada, a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) may be granted.

A TRP will only be granted if the danger to the Canadian public is outweighed by the criminally inadmissible person's need to be in Canada. Therefore, both the seriousness of the person's prior offence(s) and the legitimate urgency of their need to enter Canada (such as visiting a dying relative) will factor into the decision.

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