For the fastest processing time that is available, follow the instructions below:

Electronic (Digital) Fingerprinting Technology

  • The RCMP will only accept electronic fingerprints for processing.
  • You must attend either your local police or accredited and certified RCMP Fingerprint agency to have your fingerprints taken electronically.
  • Your electronic fingerprints are then submitted ‘instantly’ to the RCMP through secure internet technology.
  • No fingerprint agency or police department can promise faster processing than another fingerprint agency.
  • All fingerprinting agencies and police departments use the same technology that allows us to take and submit fingerprints to the RCMP instantly.
  • The RCMP handles all requests received on a first-come-first-serve basis. They do not accept requests for an emergency.
  • The RCMP then processes your electronic fingerprints and sends your police check to the address you’ve designated by ordinary mail.  The RCMP will not courier the results.
  • That means you cannot expedite your request.  Keep reading to find out about processing times.

Total Processing Time

The fingerprints are submitted instantly to the RCMP.  The total processing time consists of:

  • RCMP Processing Time PLUS
  • The time it takes for your Police Clearance or Certificate to be delivered to your designated address by ordinary mail.

RCMP Processing Time for Electronic Fingerprints

  • Regular:  You Have No Criminal Record: 3 business days or less + mail delivery time.
  • Regular:  There is a match to a Criminal Record: 120 days or more + mail delivery time.
  • Privacy Act Search for Pardoned (or Suspended) Criminal Record: 2 weeks or less + mail delivery time.
  • Privacy Act Search for Non-Certified Criminal Record: 2 weeks or less + mail delivery time.

NOTE:  we’ve been told the RCMP only sends out mail on Fridays.  Therefore, once the RCMP have completed your request, it is possible your background check may sit in their mailroom an extra 1 to 5 business days before being picked up by Canada Post.


RCMP Processing Time for Ink Fingerprints

  • The RCMP will accept ink fingerprints for processing ONLY if your fingerprints are non-classified and cannot be successfully read by the Digital Fingerprint technology.  Processing times are 120 days or more.

Ordinary Mail Delivery Processing Time

After the RCMP has processed the request, the RCMP will then send the results to you by ordinary mail through Canada Post.  Canada Post processing times from Ottawa, Ontario is:

  • Delivery to an address in Canada:  3 to 5 business days
  • Delivery to an address in the United States:   4 to 6 business days
  • Delivery to other countries:  4 to 7 business days

Total Processing Times

Most applicants receive their requests within 3 weeks provided:

  • the fingerprints were not difficult to read;
  • there is no criminal record; and
  • there is not another person in the system with a similar name and date of birth.

Can My Request Take Longer Than the Times Stated Above?

Yes, processing times can fluctuate based upon the volume of requests being handled by the RCMP, world events, system upgrades, and staffing issues.