Police Certificates FAQ – International Experience Canada

When applying for your International Experience (IEC) work permit, either a Working Holiday, Young Professional or International Co-op work permit category, one of the documents that you might be required will be a Police Certificate from your home country and/or any other country that you may have stayed in for 6 months or longer. Let’s say maybe you were on a Working Holiday in another country, you went to study abroad or simply you went traveling to that specific country for 6 months or more,  you will need to provide IEC a Police Certificate from that specific country (you don’t need to provide police certificates for any period of time before you were 18 years old). Knowing this, you have to be ready to provide that Police Certificate during your IEC work permit application.

Among our Working Holiday participants, under the regular IEC or Recognized Organization process, there are always questions regarding when to request a police certificate, the validity of these police certificates and if you will be required to request one. For this reason, we have decided to create this FAQ to address the most commonly asked questions regarding police certificates.

Reminder: IRCC website on how to request a Police Certificate from any country, as well as the instructions and local contact information to help you with the process. The Government of Canada has taken the time to explain the requirements, specifications, and processes for every single country, please refer always to this link. We have listed below the most frequently asked questions regarding police certificates for IEC. However, we will always refer you to IRCC for the most updated information.

Police Certificates FAQ - International Experience Canada

Do I need a Police Certificate from my home country?

Most Working Holiday applicants must provide a police certificate from their country of citizenship to apply under International Experience Canada. There are some exceptions, for example, if you are a citizen of Japan, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland or France, you do not need to provide a police certificate from your country with your application, however, an IRCC officer may request one at a later date.

If you answered “Yes” to a question about having criminal records from before, you will be required a police certificate no matter the country you are from.

In most cases, you will be able to apply for your police certificates in advance following the instructions here. In some countries, like Hong Kong, you are not allowed to directly request a Police Certificate on your own. You will first need a letter from the Canadian Government requesting you to do so.

If I need a Police Certificate from the country where I am living in, when should I apply for it?

Police Certificates must be issued no more than 6 months before the date you submit your IEC work permit application.

If yours is getting closer to the 6-month deadline, the safest option is to request a new Police Certificate. If you don’t, IRCC officers can request an updated one at any time during your work permit process.

Will I need a Police Certificate from every country I lived before Canada?

You will need a Police Certificate for your IEC work permit application, only for those countries that you have worked, studied, traveled or lived in for 6 months or more in a row since you were 18 years old as confirmed here on IRCC website.

What if the country I lived in doesn't issue a Police Certificate for my IEC work permit application?

In rare cases, you may not be able to get a Police Certificate from the Government of that specific country. They might not issue these documents to the public unless they receive a specific request. That’s ok, the Government of Canada will be requesting you to get this Police Certificate at a later stage so you can start the process of requesting this for that country.

Example: You lived in Hong Kong for more than 6 months in a row, you will not be able to request the Certificate of No Criminal Conviction (CNCC) directly on your own, therefore the Government of Canada would need to issue a letter requesting for this police certificate. The Hong Kong Police Force will send your police certificate directly to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada address shown on the request original letter.

I already have my Police Certificate. How do I know if it is still valid for my IEC work permit application for Canada?

  • If the Police Certificate is from your home country:

It is important to make sure that your Police Certificate does not exceed the 6-month duration from when it was issued by the time you want to use it for your IEC work permit application for Canada.

  • If the Police Certificate is from other countries than your home country and you are not living there currently:

Even though some countries put expiry dates on their Police Certificates, if you have a Police Certificate that was issued after you left the country and you have NOT been back, not even for holidays, you will still be able to include it for your IEC work permit application and should be still valid. However, an IRCC officer may request one at a later date if they consider is needed.


I have the Police Certificate from a country that I lived in, but never returned to after it was issued. Can I use it for my IEC work permit application?

Yes! It will be valid, as long as you have not returned to that country, not even for a short vacation! If you returned for the holidays, then you will need a new one.

Example: You lived in the USA for 1 year under a J1 permit in 2017-2018, you got your FBI Clearance in February 2019. As you have been living in Canada, you went to Seattle for a concert during a weekend in August 2019. This means that when applying for your IEC work permit application, you will need to request a new FBI Clearance (Identity History Summary issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)).

I lived in the same country several times but never more than 6 months in a row. Will I need a Police Certificate for my IEC work permit application?

Let’s say you are from the UK and worked in Spain for 2 months every summer between 2015 and 2017. You never stayed there for 6 months or more in a row.

Initially, you would not need a police certificate from Spain. But an IRCC officer may ask for one after your IEC work permit application is submitted if he considers it necessary. If you are requested a Police Certificate from Spain at a later stage, the officer will provide you with a Request Letter with a certain period of time for you to provide it to IRCC.

I lived in Australia, which exact Police Certificate will I need for my IEC work permit application?

If you lived in Australia for more than 6 months or if you are an Australian citizen, you must provide your Australian National Police Certificate — Overseas Visa – Supply to a Country Other than Australia (code 35).

Australia is one of the countries with specifications that you need to pay attention to. Even if you did not hold a driving license during your time there, if you live in Queensland or Victoria you will need to provide the following documents:

  1. If you live in Queensland for 6 months or more, you will need a Traffic History issued by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, you can apply online here.
  2. If you live in Victoria for 6 months or more, you will need to provide a Full License History Search with your police certificate that goes back to your 18th birthday or the day on which your first Australian driver’s license was issued. You can apply online through VicRoads.

IMPORTANT: If you never had a driving license, you must provide a letter issued by the Queensland and/or Victoria roads authority with your police certificate to confirm that you’ve never held a driver’s license in that state.

I lived in Canada, do I need a Canadian Police Certificate (RCMP Criminal Record Check)?

Normally, you will not need to provide an RCMP Criminal Record Check. But in some cases officers can request it through a request letter during your IEC work permit application.

If you get requested this document while being in Canada, bring your request letter to the closest police station. They can advise you on how to complete the steps to request the document. Please be sure you bring an example of the RCMP Criminal Record Check with you as a reference. That way you can show the officer the document you are looking for, as different types of Police Certificates exist in Canada.

If you get requested your RCMP Criminal Record Check while you are living outside of Canada, you can refer to companies like Commissionaires in Vancouver where you can send your fingerprints and the rest of the requested documents in order for them to do the process on your behalf, so you can receive your RCMP by mail.

I needed to submit my IEC work permit application as my ITA is about to expire. However, I do not have my required Police Certificates, what do I do?

The most important thing is to prove you applied for the police certificates needed for your application. Show you made your best to get the certificate on time (with a screenshot of the confirmation page or email.)

Some examples of proof that you can submit along with a letter of explanation can be a confirmation or payment receipt, a delivery confirmation or even a tracking number. An officer will review your application and decide if they will provide you with extra time to provide the certificates.

I submitted my IEC work permit application and finally received my Police Certificates. How do I submit them now?

If you receive your requested Police Certificate after you submit your IEC work permit application, you can go ahead and submit a webform to International Experience Canada. Explain your situation and request to include the attached police certificate to your in-progress IEC work permit application. You must make sure you provide all your personal details, including your UCI and Application Number. This information can be found on your IEC work permit application through your MyCIC account. Pay attention to complete the personal information properly, so they can link your request with your work permit application.

Sometimes, even though you submit a webform with the requested Police Certificate, the officer might still ask you to upload the document later on through your IEC profile, so if you get the request make sure you follow the instructions and upload the police certificate directly on your IEC profile, through your MyCIC account.

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Disclaimer: No Legal Advice Provided.

The material on our website and on this webpage is intended to provide only general information to our clients. Although we make our best efforts to ensure that the information found on our website is accurate and timely, do not, under any circumstances, rely on information found on our website as legal or immigration advice. We can not answer client-specific immigration-related questions or provide any immigration advice. For assistance with your specific inquiry, please contact IEC directly through the IRCC website or contact a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC)