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July 23rd, 2020 David O Connor

How Can I Get a Criminal Background Check in Canada?

Teach in China_Canada Ciminal Background Check

If you’re living or have lived in Canada for a considerable time, during the last few years, you’ll need to get your hands on your criminal background record when applying for a China work visa. The procedure for obtaining this important document, which is also known as a police clearance or record of no criminal history, is not complicated. However be aware, it can be time-consuming, so it’s not something you’ll want to leave until the very last minute.

Given that you will need all your visa application documents authenticated by the Chinese authorities at the very end, it’s best to collate everything you need first. Then get your bundle of docs authenticated, all at once.

In Canada, the document is called a Criminal Record Check and it’s something that’s issued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

The document must be:

  • Not more than 6 months old, from issuing date
  • Notarized in Canada
  • Authenticated by the Canadian Government

And last, but not least…

  • Authenticated by the Chinese Government

Procedure for obtaining a criminal background check IN Canada

  1. Visit and apply at a local police station

Your local police station can help you start the process. Once you’ve given all your personal details, they will tell you if that’s sufficient to confirm your identity. If it isn’t (because, say, someone else shares your name and date of birth) you’ll be required to have your fingerprints taken. Some stations may not offer this service but, if they can’t, they can tell you where to go.

  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 into 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 released on the certificate is dependent 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 RCMP states that you must allow for a 120-day processing time if you have a criminal record. If you do have a criminal record, you will not be given a visa to teach in China. In years gone by, applications for those with a criminal record were taken on case-by-case basis. Minor convictions were not deal breaker. Unfortunately this is not that case anymore. Any offense that shows up in your criminal police check, no matter the severity, will lead to a visa denial.

Fee – The first step (getting your ID verified and/or prints taken) usually incurs a small fee that’s determined by whatever local agency or police station you go through. For a certified document (ie. when fingerprints are needed) you will also incur a Federal fee of CDN25, on top of the what you paid for the application.

Once you finally have the document at hand, it’s time to move to the next step.

    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.

    6. Have the certificate authenticated by the Canadian Government

At last, you must have the document authenticated at the Authentication Office of Global Affairs.

   7. Have the criminal background check authenticated by China

This very last step is done by the Chinese Embassy of Canada. Don’t forget to take all your other documents along to have them all authenticated 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) you can apply for an electronic Criminal Record Check. You can obtain this through your nearest Canadian Consulate or Embassy, although not every embassy offers this service. If none are to be found, you’ll have to employ the services of a third-party accredited agency, like the Fingerprint Room or Canadian Fingerprint Agency. (Loads more to be found online).

Should the system not accept your identity docs and you do need fingerprints taken; you’ll have to find out how to get those in your current place of residence. Usually, a local police station will help you out or at least tell you where to go. With fingerprints in hand, you can then go ahead and apply through one of the above-mentioned agencies. Expect the whole process to take about two weeks or, if there is a record, the usual 120 days.

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 an amazing experience.

To know more about the kinds of job available, all the outstanding destinations you can choose from, contact us here, at China by Teaching, today.

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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