As part of applying for Permanent Residence in Canada, the applicant must undergo an FBI background check to obtain a police certificate: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/security/police-cert/north-america/united-states.asp

How long will this certificate be valid? I can't find any information about the lifespan of this document. I'm looking into applying for PR status soon and I'd like to get a head start on this process, but I don't want the certificate to expire before my PR application finishes processing.

  • 3
    There is some information in some of the forums. Although the official website seems unclear to me. Most people are guessing on the forums for 3 months, 6 months and 1 year. But quoting from CIC For countries where you have lived for six months or more, the police certificate must be issued after the last time you lived in that country. and For the country you currently live in, the police certificate must be issued no more than six months before you apply. Not sure how much that helps you.
    – Dipen Shah
    Jun 15, 2016 at 20:57
  • I think it's actually pretty clear. See my answer. @DipenShah
    – tubedogg
    Aug 27, 2016 at 3:41

1 Answer 1


Let's take me as an example. I lived in the US from birth until age 33. I have now lived in Canada for 2 continuous years.

I need the FBI background check to have been issued after the last time I lived in the US (so issued sometime in the last two years).

If I still lived in the US, it would have to have been issued within the six months prior to my application being submitted. Once you submit the application, that time stops ticking, because you no longer meet the condition of "before you apply".

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