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Which is Faster: Criminal Record Checks by Fingerprinting or Name and Birthdate?

Finger Print

In order to apply for a pardon or record suspension in Canada, apply for a job or volunteer position, or clear yourself for travel to other countries, there are certain requirements that need to be fulfilled.  Getting your record suspended (also known as a pardon) can take a significant amount of time, and almost always requires an initial criminal record check.

There are two ways to acquire a Canadian criminal record check (also known as an RCMP Criminal Record Check): you can get professional and official copies made of your fingerprints to be sent into the government and matched with any prints they might have on file, or you can send a request for a record check using your name and birthdate – an option used for when they do not have your prints on file.

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Name and Birthdate Method

If you do not get your fingerprints taken and elect to have your criminal record check conducted using your name and birthdate, the process can generally take longer than by submitting fingerprints.  If the government does not have your prints on file already, this is likely the method you will have to use to procure your criminal record check. If you do not use your fingerprints, the process can take up to 22 weeks, or 154 days.

Fingerprinting

Fingerprinting can make the process go faster than using your name and birthdate, but only if the Royal Canadian Mounted Police already has a copy of your fingerprints on file.  If they do not already have them on file, it will take as long as it would if you were to use your name and birthdate.  However, if they do have them on file, you can send them in with your application either electronically (recommended) or in a concrete paper copy.  In an electronic application, the process would take 3 business days or less, and in a paper application it would take at least 120 days (with a match to prints on file). It is important to note that the paper versions of fingerprints have already started to be phased out, making digital fingerprints the only viable choice.

No matter what, getting a criminal record check will take time.  The process is a long one by design, but it is by no means impossible to traverse. Every application is subject to the specific ramifications of each applicant’s situation. By enlisting qualified and professional assistance throughout your pardon application procedure, you will ensure that your application – including any required criminal record checks and digital fingerprints – is completed in a manner that will ensure a minimum of delays.