Canadian Immigration Background Check Procedure for 2023

Immigrating to a new country can be an extremely daunting task. Finding information online is difficult, the process is long, and the required documents feel endless. At Reliability Screening, we’ve worked closely with Canadian authorities to process and manage background checks for several individuals and families for a variety of reasons. So if you’re looking to facilitate the process, contact our team today and we can help!


The Government of Canada requires all immigration applicants to include a background check. Among other crucial pieces of information, Canadian authorities will use a background check to make their final decision to determine your eligibility for Canadian immigration. 


If you’re planning on immigrating to Canada in 2023 or the near future, we’ve created this page to break down the process for getting a background check submitted when immigrating to Canada.


Overview of Background Checks for Immigrating to Canada 

Background checks are used to verify information regarding someone’s criminal record, education, and employment history. 

There are three main steps involved in a background check:


  • Criminal History Check – This stage of the background check confirms any past criminal activity, from DUIs to any registration in a criminal organization.  
  • Security Screening – This stage assesses your risk to the health and safety of Canada and Canadians, completed by CBSA, CSIS, and IRCC.
  • Information Sharing – At this stage, the various authorities share their information with each other and the IRCC makes a final decision regarding your application. 


When immigrating to Canada, a Police Clearance Certificate from the current country you’re residing in is required. 



Authorities Involved in the Canadian Immigration Process 

In Canada, there are 3 main authorities that oversee the Canadian Immigration Process: 

IRCC: Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada 

The IRCC is Canada’s immigration authority. Their main duties include facilitating the arrival of immigrants, providing protection to refugees, and managing the programming for newcomers in Canada. They also grant citizenship and are the ones who make the final decision on admission. 

Outside of Canada, the IRCC has Visa offices located in several cities across the globe. You can find the closest Visa Application Centre (VAC) here

CBSA: Canada Border Services Agency 

The Canada Border Services Agency is the authority that facilitates individuals travelling into and out of Canada and trade.  They are the frontline in immigration to Canada since they are the ones who interview you at your port of entry. 

CSIS: Canadian Security Intelligence Services 

CSIS is the main intelligence agency in Canada. They are Canada’s national security, investigating suspicious activity that poses a threat to Canada’s safety. Their role in the immigration process involves gathering and analyzing information from a broad international database. 

Background Information and data collected by CSIS are then referenced during a security screening. 


Immigration Background Check Process for Canada 

Before a background check can be conducted, there are a number of documents that the IRCC, CBSA, and CSIS require. Once they receive and review all submitted documentation, they can then run a background check.  

Documents Required for a Security Screening 

Required documents for the immigration background check process in Canada include:


Biometrics are your fingerprints and a recent photo. Canadian Immigration authorities require biometrics which can only be authorized by a recognized service center. This will usually be a local police authority or Visa Application Centre.  
For more information on fingerprinting, view our resource page

Medical Exam & Health History

For the background check to be completed, you must submit the results of a medical exam and health history conducted by a Panel Physician that is approved by the IRCC. 

The IRCC will e-mail you when it is time for you to proceed with your Immigration Medical Exam. 

Police Clearance or Certificate 

A Police Clearance or Certificate is required to secure your criminal history and background. If there is anything on your record, the IRCC will be notified and they will have to look closer into your application before making a decision. 

You will have to contact your local police authority to learn more about how to obtain a Police Clearance or Certificate. 

A Valid Passport

A valid passport is required to apply for immigration status in Canada. If you do not have a valid passport, your application may still be accepted, but it will make thing’s a bit more difficult. 

You can submit other Government official pieces of identification instead to ensure that the IRCC, CBSA, and CSIS are fully aware of your identity.  

Other Information 

If there have been changes throughout your immigration background check process, you’ll have to be diligent about updating the IRCC. Changes to information such as: 

  • Residential address
  • Employment status 
  • Contact information (e-mail address, phone number, etc) 
  • Marital status
  • Education 
  • Family details (newborn, death, etc) 

Ensure that you are honest and accurate with all the information you’re providing to the IRCC.


Moving to Canada in 2023? Work with Reliability Screening

At Reliability Screening, we’ve worked with thousands of individuals to successfully facilitate getting their fingerprints taken for background checks during their immigration process. We’ll be able to explain the complete process to you, answer any questions you may have, and help you locate fingerprinting services in your area. 

If you have any questions regarding background checks for immigration applications, contact our team to get started. We’ll be able to provide you with the best course of action to help ensure a successful fingerprint submission for your screening application.