Canada Immigration Background Check

Famously, the USA and Canada share the longest border between a pair of countries in the world. The neighboring countries work very closely to ensure that cargo and travelers alike can pass safely and quickly through the various ports of entry.

Immigration underwent many changes as a result of the border-establishing Treaty of Paris in 1783. Of particular interest was the Canada immigration background check process. Changes were made in hopes of improving the overall security of the borders in the wake of the treaty.

The tragic events of September 11th, 2001 also fueled changes in border policy. This resulted in the adoption of additional entrance protocol at the historically friendly border.

As of June 1st, 2009, the full provisions of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative were implemented. The initiative requires any foreigner to present their passport or equivalent document in order to enter the United States. In parallel, American citizens now need to present their passports to enter Canada, as part of the Canada immigration background check.

The Canada immigration background check has made it so foreigners are unable to enter Canada if they have past criminal offenses, and do not have the appropriate documentation. However, there are courses of action that one can take to overcome this inadmissibility.

American citizens who have committed a crime in the USA or abroad, are often deemed criminally inadmissible. However, depending on the circumstances, immigrants have two options in terms of overcoming their inadmissibility to Canada.

Resolving Inadmissibility

The short-term solution is to apply for, and acquire, a Temporary Resident Permit which will suspend an applicant’s inadmissibility for a definite period of time.

The long-term solution is to apply, and receive approval, for Criminal Rehabilitation. This will permanently resolve an applicant’s inadmissibility to Canada.

While slightly differing in outcomes, both of these options require submitting applications to a Canadian consulate in the United States.

Among the requirements of these paperwork-heavy applications are FBI clearances, and in some cases, state police clearances. The title of such documents can vary by state, but they all serve the same purpose; to specify and divulge an applicant’s past charges and convictions. Officials will use these documents to reliably and legitimately inform their Canada immigration background check.

A state police clearance certificate for Canada immigration can offer officials an authoritative and trusted account of the applicant’s criminal history within the jurisdiction of the specified state. The state police clearance compliments the Federal Bureau of Investigation clearance.

The FBI clearance is a mandatory document in both Temporary Resident Permit applications and Criminal Rehabilitation applications, as it enumerates an applicant’s criminal history in the entirety of the United States.

One must note that a charge or a past conviction may appear in the police state clearance, but may not be present in the FBI clearance. This is a consequence of the FBI’s records not being fully up to date. If this is the case, an immigration lawyer can provide guidance in explaining the discrepancy to the immigration officer so as to avoid negative impacts to the application.

If the opposite happens, that is, if a charge or conviction in the FBI clearance is not present in the state police clearance, it’s most likely because it was a dismissal, which would not affect one’s admissibility. The state police clearance would help support the dismissal claim to the immigration officer.

State police clearances are documented proof that an applicant has fully completed their sentence. The certificate also provides legitimate evidence of good behavior since the charge or conviction. For applicants who have resided in a state for many years after having committed a past offense in a different state, their clearance will show an empty criminal report in their Canada immigration background check. The immigration officer will look favorably upon this when reviewing an application for Criminal Rehabilitation.

How to Acquire a State Police Clearance

To acquire state police clearances, individuals must make a request to the state(s) in which they reside. For your convenience, we’ve assembled all state websites, prices and application forms (for certain states), as well as  information concerning FBI background checks,

An additional option for TRP and criminal rehabilitation applicants presents itself through FBI-approved Channelers. These channelers are private businesses who have secured contracts with the FBI, enabling them to receive, collect, and forward all relevant FBI data.

For every application process, it is crucial to be as detailed and thorough as possible. It is not mandatory to provide a state police clearance when applying for a TRP at a point of entry. However, as they are extremely valuable as supporting documents, and have historically helped with success rates, it is recommended to always provide them with the TRP application.

How a Canadian Immigration Lawyer can Help

Inquiring with a Canadian immigration lawyer will help applicants procure the necessary documents for their application. An immigration lawyer will advise applicants on how to best utilize the state police clearance, and provide guidance through the entire application process.

Contracting the help of an immigration lawyer guarantees a complete and thorough application. For more information on Temporary Resident Permits, Criminal Rehabilitation and all matters involving Canadian Immigration, contact us.

FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration follow FWCanada on FacebookTwitter, and Linkedin.