How to obtain an authenticated Canadian criminal record check from abroad

The RCMP has implemented new procedures as of 2014/07/01 requiring, among other things, that all fingerprints be submitted electronically. You will find the details of the procedure on their webpage.

You may also be able to obtain a criminal record check through a Provincial/Territorial police force, but you should know that in this case the process is more complex. The items marked with an arrow (è) only apply if you obtain a criminal record check through Provincial/Territorial police forces.

  1. Follow the steps listed on the RCMP website, or the Provincial/Territorial police force’s site to obtain a criminal record check.
  2. Once you receive it, you will need to complete a few steps afterwards: have the Provincial/Territorial criminal record check notarized by a Canadian notary public in Canada
     
    1. have the criminal record check authenticated by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD)
    2. have the authentication by DFATD legalized by the Embassy, in Ottawa, of the country where the document is to be presented and, possibly
    3. if needed, have the document, authenticated and legalized, translated in the language of the country where it is to be presented
  3. Gather information for the steps above:
     
    1. instructions are below
    2. contact the Embassy in Ottawa of the country where the criminal record check is to be presented and confirm with its consular section how to proceed to forward to them the criminal record check, make payment if there are any fees, have the document sent back to you, etc.
    3. contact the company, institution or government office that has requested to obtain a copy of your criminal record check and ask them if it needs to be translated, and what the requirements are for this translation. Most often, you will need to obtain some sort of “official translation”, and since Canadian Missions do not translate documents, you may need to arrange for an official or certified translator in the countrywhere the document is destined
  4. Start the authentication and legalization process: if you obtained it from a Provincial/Territorial police force, have the criminal record check notarized by a Canadian notary public in Canada
     
    1. send the criminal record check results to be authenticated to Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) following the instructions on the website. This service is available via mail.
    2. send the authenticated document to the Embassy of the country where it is to be presented for legalization; make sure to include clear instructions on how the document is to be returned to you, as well as fees, if applicable
    3. if necessary, have the document, authenticated and legalized, translated in the language of the country where it is to be presented; make sure that the translator meets the requirements of the company, institution or government office that is requesting it

PRO TIP! keep a copy of the documents throughout the process and, if possible, have a certified copy made of the original and translation, so that if it gets lost in the mail, you have a fallback plan.