How Does the IRCC Do Background Check? A Complete Guide

If you’re planning to immigrate to Canada and have a felony on your record, you’ll want to make sure the process is as smooth and painless as possible. Without the right information, you can be frustrated, overwhelmed, and even confused about where to start.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) conducts a thorough review of applicants’ security checks, medical examinations, and criminal history. They also check medical condition, validity of police clearance certificate, and even failure to disclose the truthfulness of the applicant’s employment history.

Read on to learn how IRCC conducts background checks, processing times, and document checklists.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada’s immigration authority, makes the final determination of eligibility.

Their primary responsibilities include assisting with immigrant arrivals, protecting refugees, and overseeing programs for newcomers to Canada. Additionally, it grants citizenship and issues travel documents such as passports to Canadian citizens.

IRCC’s primary purpose is to handle immigration applications, facilitate them, and recommend appropriate immigration pathways that foreign nationals can follow.

Its purpose is to help immigrants settle in Canada, whether they need help with the immigration process or protection as a refugee.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Canada Border Services Agency or (CBSA) provide security assessments to IRCC to check that applicants do not pose a threat to national security concerns.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) collects intelligence information, including from international counterparts. Through the security and intelligence community, CSIS receives guidance from the Government of Canada on critical intelligence needs.

The role of the Canada Border Services Agency is to assist CSIS in its responsibilities. The investigation of applicants and those who have applied for asylum for involvement in organized crime falls under the purview of the CBSA Intelligence and Enforcement Branch.

Background check and security screening results are forwarded to IRCC by CSIS and CBSA. An applicant or refugee’s application will either be accepted or rejected by IRCC.

IRCC will decide whether you are applying:

  • citizenship
  • a study permit
  • a work permit
  • an eTA
  • a visitor visa
  • permanent resident
  • a temporary residence permit
  • refugee status from outside Canada

Necessary Documents for A Security Screening

IRCC generally requires these documents:


The main justification for biometrics is that they become necessary as soon as the applicant receives an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

Your fingerprints and photo are examples of biometrics. Only approved biometric collection locations for Canadian immigration can collect your fingerprints and photograph. Prices and charges vary from country to country.

The visa office in your home country is often an authorized location for biometric data collection.

Health history and medical examination
Without the results of the medical exam, the application cannot proceed to the background check stage. Only panel doctors can perform this work and there are clinics in and outside of Canada.

You will receive an email from IRCC before your Immigration Medical Examination (IME). It would be better if you don’t start the medical checkup until after that. Keep in mind that you must pass this medical exam to qualify for a background check.

You must submit the results of a medical examination and health history conducted by a panel physician recognized by IRCC to complete a background investigation.

Police certificate or clearance
Police clearance certificates provide information about the candidate’s criminal record. This is specifically the history of the applicant’s previous criminal offences.

No matter how minor or serious, a criminal allegation can attract the attention of CSIS and IRCC. For this reason the applicant should seek legal advice. To minimize the impact of a criminal offense on immigration, the applicant should hire legal counsel.

Having a criminal record can result in less than:

  • Evidence of rehabilitation
  • Proof of consistently good behavior (e.g., certificates of employment, receipts for the payment of parking tickets)
  • Evidence of a completed sentence five years before the immigration application

A Valid Passport

A current passport is a required form of identification when applying for any Canadian visa.

To ensure that IRCC is fully aware of your identity, you may alternatively provide additional official documents from the government. It is best to have a valid passport before applying to Canada to avoid hassles.

Different Changes

After obtaining an ITA, you must notify IRCC of any change in status to maintain consistency. These modifications may include:

  • Your email address
  • Household address
  • Occupational status (change or loss thereof)
  • Marriage status
  • Family Consistency (e.g., childbirth or the death of a spouse or child)
  • Education or additional training

You may be asked to amend your information throughout a background or security investigation. Be careful to note the modification date of the information. Make sure that any information you provide to IRCC is true and correct.

IRCC Document Checklist (For Profile and Application)

At various points throughout the application process, these are the possible documents you may be required to provide:

For your profile

To submit a profile, you don’t need to upload any documents. However, you may need information from any or all of the following:

To submit a profile, you do not need to upload any documents; however, you may need information from any or all of the following:

  • A travel permit or valid passport
  • Language tests results
  • Your Canadian schooling or educational credential assessment report if you’re submitting your application via the Federal Skilled Workers Program or you want to get points for your schooling outside of Canada (if you have one).
  • Provincial nomination (if applicable)
  • If you have a written employment offer from a Canadian employer, provide it with evidence of your work history
  • Proof of funds

For permanent residence application

If IRCC extends an application invitation to you, you must additionally upload the following:

  • Police clearance
  • Medical examination
  • Proof of funds
  • A birth certificate (necessary if you are listing children as dependents)
  • Application of a representative form (necessary if you’ve employed a representative)
  • Common-law union form (necessary if you have listed “common-law” as your marital status)
  • Marriage certificate (necessary if you listed “married” as your marital status)
  • Divorce decree and a separation contract (necessary if you have listed “divorced” as your marital status)
  • Certificate of death (necessary if you have listed “widow” as your marital status)
  • Certificate of adoption (necessary when a dependent kid is “adopted”)

Additional documents

These additional documents determine if you are qualified for the program you are applying for.

  • Evidence of kinship to a Canadian relative
  • Identification using digital photographs
  • A different name to verify aliases
  • Authority to release personal information to a designated individual form
  • Any additional records you deem relevant for your application.

In its recent website update, applicants unable to complete the necessary paperwork due to the Covid-19 issues will continue to receive deadline extensions from IRCC.

On a case-by-case basis, IRCC officials will contact citizenship, permanent resident, and temporary resident applicants to request supporting documentation or convincing justification as to why a COVID-19-related disruption prevents them from obtaining this information. .

If they do not hear from you before the 30-day cut-off, IRCC will, where possible, make a decision on your application based on the data on file, which may lead to your application being rejected. .


IRCC requires an official processing fee for most visa applicants. These costs remain the same regardless of your nationality or location.

The system will provide a list of expenses that you will have to pay when you fully complete the online form and upload your supporting documents. Some of this list is:

  • processing fee for you and your family members
  • right of permanent residence fee
  • biometrics fee

To accomplish this, you will need a debit or credit card. There is a detailed breakdown of all fee lists on the official immigration website.

The Security Screening Process

Now that the police background check is over and the focus has shifted to a person’s security profile, let’s talk about the background checks that IRCC conducts.

An IRCC officer must complete an eligibility review on any application for a temporary visa or permanent resident visa before the security screening process begins.

If they don’t grant you a visa, there is often no need for a security check because they will return your application. If you qualify and pass the eligibility assessment, your security screening will begin.

Please note that this often indicates that you have also successfully passed the criminal assessment of competency assessment. In other words, you must be eligible to visit Canada on a temporary or long-term visa.

Admissibility is often determined when an IRCC representative processes your application for a temporary or permanent visa. A decision of inadmissibility will be made for the following security reasons: However, the final decision will depend on these specific circumstances:

  1. Criminal activity
  • Organized crime, such as smuggling people or laundering money
  • DUI (driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol)
  1. Security concerns
  • Espionage
  • Subversion
  • Violence and terrorism
  • Participation in groups engaged in such kinds of activities
  • International or human rights violations
  • War crimes
  • Humanity crimes
  • Involved in nations that are a target of international sanctions
  1. Medical causes or risks
  • Medications that endanger the public’s safety and health
  • Medical problems that will strain health and social services
  1. Financial reasons
  • Proof that you are unable or unwilling to support your family
  1. Misrepresentation:
  • Withheld pertinent information or gave the IRCC misleading information under the Immigration & Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).
  1. Inadmissible family members
  2. Failure to follow any IRPA requirements

Typically, security screening procedures come after processing an application.

Although technically, both medical and criminal checks are part of any background investigation, you will often pass both a criminal check and a medical check before the security screening process begins.

Different entry-level applications in Canada require different levels of attention. Upon successful eligibility screening for Express Entry applications, the application is sent for security screening.

After eligibility is “recommended pass” or “optionally passed,” security screening can begin.

IRCC initiates the security screening process, which is completed with the assistance of security screening partners such as the National Security Screening Division.

The information provided by the applicant is checked by IRCC visa officers, who also collect additional data as needed, and reach a decision based on their expertise, judgment, and use of the tools at their disposal. Request safety advice before

Security screening will not begin until an officer has made an eligibility determination. If the eligibility review is “passed,” security screening will begin.

Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) is proof that IRCC has received your application. Additionally, it is to let you know that IRCC has added your profile to the immigration pool.

After the security check, IRCC will ask for your passport. The final stage of your application is the passport application stage, which is now active. IRCC will request your passport via email.

This email usually arrives 1-3 weeks after your background check. This passport must be shown to immigration authorities when you arrive in Canada.

IRCC Processing Time

The big issue is still how much time does IRCC take to review the applications? What should you expect after submitting your application?

Below is a summary of the processing times of each immigration program:

  • Express Entry: 6 months or less
  • Provincial Nomination Program (PNP): Processing timeframes for permanent residency are (1) province-specific and (2) federal government-specific.
  • Visitor Visa: 8 to 40 days
  • Visitor Visa (for business) – 16–20 days

Since April 29, the number of business immigration applications in Canada’s backlog has grown exponentially. Before submitting your application, you must verify all information, complete all fields, and attach any required supporting documents.

It’s not always possible to guarantee fast processing times, but you can prevent delays by making sure your application is comprehensive.

Express Entry Processing Times

Due to the expedited nature of this immigration route you can process your application in less than six months, provided all forms are completed, along with all necessary supporting documents.

Remember that when sharing information about yourself, you must be accurate. If you do not comply, IRCC will reject your application.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Processing Times

Canadian provinces or territories can nominate people or families who want to live and work in Canada through the PNP. Because each province or territory is unique, so are the eligibility requirements and how they are determined.

Even though you applied for the PNP through Express Entry, the program still covers several Canadian provinces or territories. As a result, processing timeframes can vary significantly across provinces, and each province will have different standards and procedures.

Visitor Visa Processing Times

Canadian Visit Visa processing times vary from 8 to 40 days. Processing time for Canadian business visas can range from 16 to 20 days. However, these timeframes may vary depending on the country you are applying from.

The decision of the border services officer will ultimately determine the duration of your visit. They will note the expiry date of your visiting visa on your passport, which can be less than six months or more.

What to Expect with IRCC Processing Times Following an Application

It is wise to schedule your biometric appointment as soon as possible. Additionally, you want to make sure your application is complete to avoid processing delays. After completing your application, you have to wait until they contact you for next steps.

An IRCC officer will review your application while you wait for a response to determine if you are eligible, if all required supporting documents are present, and if your application is overall complete.

It’s important to remember that application processing times vary from person to person because the program, eligibility, and application completion are critical to the outcome of your application.

What is a Writ of Mandamus?

If you feel your application is taking too long because a thorough background check is required, you can also file a writ of mandamus. This mandate applies when an application has taken more than a year and appears to have stalled in security screening.

When you submit a writ of mandamus in an extended security screening instance, you ask IRCC to make a decision about admissibility because:

  • The delay in question has gone on considerably longer than it should have
  • The applicant and their attorney were not to blame for the delay
  • Neither the IRCC nor the CBSA has offered a strong enough defense for the delay.

The current COVID pandemic has made it a bit more difficult to establish this in court.

You must confirm (and then show the court) that you and your representative (if you have one) have submitted a complete application and promptly provided all necessary information, forms, and Submitted to IRCC with supporting documents including photographs. .

Additionally, keep in mind that the federal court in Canada prefers to consider each case on a case-by-case basis to determine, for example, if there is a reasonable excuse for delaying IRCC processing. There is a clarification or review of any other part of the writ of mandamus. .

Also, remember that a successful writ of mandamus petition will only require IRCC to rule on the admissibility of your petition. This will not compel IRCC to admit you. IRCC will still make this selection.

As Canada welcomes newcomers from around the world, there are several procedures that must be followed to obtain citizenship.

Background and security checks are essential to maintaining the safety and prosperity of Canada. Thanks to IRCC, Canada remains a safe haven for Canadian citizens, residents and immigrants.

If you keep all the information on your application correct and up to date, you will become a Canadian citizen.

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