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Mar 11th, 2023 by David O Connor

How Can I Get a Criminal Background Check in Canada?

Teach in China_Canada Ciminal Background Check

If you have resided in Canada for an extended period in recent years, you must obtain your criminal background record to apply for a China work visa. If you have resided in Canada for an extended period in recent years, you must obtain your criminal background record to apply for a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

The document must be:

  • Not more than six months old from issuing date
  • Notarized in Canada
  • Authenticated by the Canadian Government
  • Authenticated by the Chinese Government

Procedure for obtaining a criminal background check IN Canada

  1. Visit and apply at a local police station

The police station in your area can assist you with initiating the process. After supplying your personal information, they will determine if that is enough to verify your identity. If not (for example, if someone else has the same name and birthdate as you), fingerprinting will be necessary. Not all stations provide this service, but they can inform you where to go if they cannot. It will likely be one of these private accredited fingerprint companies.

  1. IF you need your fingerprints taken…

In this case, you will receive what’s known as a Certified Criminal Record Check. Do note that any fingerprints handed over are used solely to confirm your identity and are not entered/stored in the police database. If you must get a certified record check, you must also specify that you need it for a China working visa application. This is essential because the amount of personal info the certificate releases depends on its intended use.

  1. IF you don’t have a criminal record…

You can expect to receive your document within just a couple of days if your ID is accepted AND you have no record. If you need prints taken, but don’t have a record then you can still expect it to take 2-3 days from the completed application date.

Teach in China_Canada Ciminal Background Check2
  1. IF you do have a criminal record…

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) states that if you have a criminal record, your application will take three months to be processed. You will not be granted a visa to teach in China if you have a criminal record. In the past, applications from people with a criminal record were considered on a case-by-case basis, and minor convictions were not necessarily grounds for rejection. However, this is no longer the case; regardless of severity, any criminal record will result in a visa denial. We suggest you cut your losses at this stage and stop your China work visa application process.

How much is a criminal record check in Canada?

How much is a criminal record check in Canada?

    5. Have the certificate notarized

You can do this through a solicitor, notary public, or a Commissioner of Oaths – all easy to find locally with a quick Google search. Bring the original and a photocopy to your appointment.

    6. Have the certificate authenticated by the Canadian Government

At last, you must have the document authenticated at the Authentication Office of Global Affairs. The department offers authentication free of charge but has been suffering chronic delays in the last couple of years. Instead of getting the document back in a couple of days, you should factor in a two-week waiting period as a minimum. The office requests you do not write to ask for a status update until at least 25 days have passed. So it’s not uncommon for it to take a month!

   7. Have the criminal background check authenticated by China

The Chinese Embassy of Canada does this very last step. Don’t forget to take all your other documents along to authenticate them at once.

Getting a criminal background check FROM Canada, if abroad

You can apply for your China visa from outside Canada. Whether you are from Canada or have lived there during the last 5 years (for minimum of 6 months)

Whether you are from Canada or have lived there during the last five years (for a minimum of 6 months), you can apply for an electronic Criminal Record Check.

You can apply for your China visa from outside Canada. You must first locate an accredited fingerprint company near you if you are currently abroad. This could be a local police station or an international fingerprint company like the Fingerprint Room.

If you go this route and have located an accredited agency: 

Ensure that the paper copy of your fingerprints has all ten fingers printed in black ink, accompanied by the name and address of the agency you visited and the signature and name of the official who took your prints.

Once that’s done, you must contact an accredited fingerprint company IN CANADA so they can convert your prints to digital, ready to complete your criminal background check. Here’s a handY LIST.

Some Canadian consulates abroad offer a full-service criminal background check, but not all. The easiest thing is to confirm this option, first and foremost. If not, you can go it alone with an accredited agency.

From abroad, expect your Canadian criminal background check to take at least three months.

Getting a criminal background check in Canada may sound like a tedious process….  BUT if teaching in China is on your wishlist, then consider it a mere step to what will undoubtedly be a fantastic experience.

To know more about the kinds of jobs available and all the outstanding destinations you can choose from, contact us at China By Teaching today.

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David O Connor

David O Connor

David is China by Teaching’s chief contributor. When not offering sage advice about teaching in China, David is a headmaster of a Bilingual kindergarten in Beijing. David is a lover of craft beers, book clubs and super long road trips.

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