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.
For more information about Security Clearances, see our Security Clearance FAQ.