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Security Clearance

  1. Who must undergo security clearance in a Canadian immigration application?

    All adult applicants (age 18 years and older) are subject to the requirement of up to date police clearances, and a separate background clearance conducted independently by the Canadian Security and Information Service (CSIS).


  2. What is the difference between a background clearance and a police clearance?

    The police clearance is obtained by the applicant and provided to the visa office. It is obtained from local, State, Provincial of Federal police authorities depending on the country or countries in which the applicant has resided. Such clearances must be obtained for any country in which the applicant has resided for a period of 6 or more months since the age of 18.

    The background clearance is conducted y CSIS independently of the applicant or the visa office's involvement. No details of the process of the background clearance are divulged by CSIS in order to maintain the integrity of this process.


  3. How long is a police clearance valid?

    The police clearance result of the country in which you are presently resident is generally considered to be valid for a period of 6 months. The clearance results of countries in which you are no longer residing are generally considered to be valid for a period of 12 months. Individual immigration officials and visa offices have the authority to add to, or subtract from, these figures depending on the circumstances.


  4. How long does the background clearance last?

    The background clearance process does not have a fixed duration. In most cases, the process takes between 6 and 12 months. However, in some cases, these delays have extended to as long as two or more years. Several factors, including nationality, occupational history, and political affiliations can influence the delays.


  5. How do I determine the status of my background clearance?

    You should generally submit a written inquiry to the visa office representing your case in order to determine the status of your background clearance. As responses from visa offices are often vague, however, applicants can submit a written inquiry directly to the Canadian Security and Information Service (CSIS). Their response will only indicate if the clearance is at the first or second stage, however. Communications to CSIS should be reserved to only the most extreme delays, as the resources required to attend to inquiries would certainly delay a clearance further.

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