The citizenship process can be long. Most of the time, when you’re applying for Canadian citizenship, there’s no need to provide biometrics like fingerprints. You may, however, receive a letter from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) with a request for fingerprints. 

Before we talk about that letter and the fingerprinting process, it’s important that we make two things very clear:

  • FASTCHECK cannot make any claims or comments regarding your personal citizenship application. We cannot tell you how long it will take IRCC to process your citizenship application after you’ve obtained fingerprints.
  • We will only take fingerprints for Canadian citizenship applicants if you have received a letter from the IRCC requesting fingerprints. For most citizenship applicants, fingerprints are not required.

This article attempts to give a non-specific overview of how fingerprinting may affect Canadian citizenship applications. If you have questions about the specifics of your application, contact IRCC.

Why fingerprints are requested for Canadian citizenship

Most people who apply for Canadian citizenship will not need fingerprints taken for their application to be completed. If you need fingerprints taken to complete your application, you will receive a letter from the IRCC.

That letter should have information regarding why fingerprints were requested. The letter can, however, be somewhat vague. We cannot speak to the specifics of why fingerprints were requested for your application. We can, however, give some of the reasons fingerprints may have been requested. They include:

  • Quality assurance (QA)
  • A name and date of birth similar to the name and date of birth of another citizenship applicant/Permanent Resident (especially if that person had a citizenship application that was rejected)
  • A name (and sometimes date of birth) similar to someone with a criminal record

In the first case (QA), applicants are chosen randomly. Should you be chosen for QA, you may need to provide other documentation as well. QA practices change regularly. You may know someone who applied for Canadian citizenship and went through QA. Different documents may have been requested of that person. That may be due to the regular changes to IRCC’s QA process.

In the second two circumstances, fingerprints are simply used to distinguish you from other people with similar names and dates of birth to yours. 

In all cases, your fingerprints will be sent to the RCMP. They will run your fingerprints through a criminal database to look for potential matches.

Timeframes for fingerprinting and Canadian citizenship

When you receive a letter requesting that your fingerprints be taken, IRCC will tell you how much time you have to submit your fingerprints. Generally, that timeframe is 30 days. When you use FASTCHECK for fingerprinting, we submit your fingerprints to the RCMP on your behalf. That means they’ll receive your fingerprints the same day you have them done. 

We always advise our clients to come in well before the end of the 30 day timeline, in case of unforeseen delays. The faster you submit your fingerprints, the faster your application can be processed. The fingerprinting process generally takes no longer than 10 minutes. 

FASTCHECK can’t tell you how long your Canadian citizenship application will take to process after fingerprints have been submitted. Anecdotally, the fingerprinting process does not seem to delay citizenship applications for very long in most cases.

Do you have any other questions about the fingerprinting process? Do you need to have your fingerprints taken for Canadian citizenship? Get in touch with FASTCHECK. We offer fingerprinting services in both English and French. To get your fingerprints taken, all you’ll need is the letter requesting fingerprints from the IRCC and a photo I.D. (such as your passport or PR card).