RCMP Criminal Record Check for Use in Costa Rica

Aug 2, 2021

Whether it be for employment purposes, business, or retirement, Costa Rica has become one of the top destinations for short and long-term residence for Canadians. This doesn’t come as a surprise either! It is home to a large diversity of wildlife, dispersed rainforests, and famous Costa Rican coffee. Costa Rica is both filled with natural tranquility and endless possibilities for exploration. If you are one to make the move, you’re likely to find many like-minded Canadians. But what do you need to know in terms of paperwork for the process? Costa Rica has a thorough vetting process to allow residency to foreigners. There is one particular document worth a mention: the RCMP Criminal Record Check. Here is everything you need to know about  preparing a criminal record check for Costa Rica.

What is an RCMP Criminal Record Check?

The RCMP Criminal Record Check is a comprehensive government certificate to indicate an applicant’s criminal charges, felonies, and misdemeanors, whether on-going or resolved. As the name suggests, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) produces this document.

Whereas in the past, a criminal record check from a local police station used to suffice, the Costa Rican immigration requirements for this have changed since October 14th, 2019. In order to provide a full and complete criminal record clearance for any Canadian individual, they now require a police record check from the federal level of government conducted by the RCMP. This record includes the following key components:

  • Name
  • Identification
  • Rolled (ink) fingerprints obtained by the RCMP

Attestation of the Criminal Record Check for Costa Rica

The RCMP criminal record check (CRC) must go through several steps before it’s valid for use. It needs to notarized, authenticated, legalized, then translated to Spanish. Any local notary public can notarize this document. The document must be submitted to Global Affairs Canada (GAC) for authentication and then to the Costa Rican embassy for legalization.

How long does the whole process take?

This will be one of the longest parts of the process. Remember, it requires several key steps to complete. The time it takes depends on whether the record is clear or there are matches to note. Producing the original documents alone can take up to six months. Once you have it, notary and legalization can take another few months to complete.

If you are conducting this process outside Canada, add more processing times. If you are already in Costa Rica, it can take longer to submit the required documents and fingerprints. Receiving the documents back, can take longer due to mailing wait times.

How We Can Help?

At Legalization Service Centre (LSC), we understand how tiring the entire process can be. For starters, you need to create a file with all of your required documents for immigration in one place. Once all the documents are gathered, they need to be submitted for authentication and legalization. Our team at LSC can help expedite the process by making these submissions for you, in person. Authentication and legalization can both be expedited because we know the particular requirements of the process off the back of our hands.

Settling in Costa Rica is an exciting decision and one that you are probably keen to begin. Regardless of whether you are completing this from Costa Rica or here in Canada, the paperwork required is very seldom the fun part. Lucky for you, at LSC, that’s all we do every day! Give us a call or send us a message for more information. Even if you aren’t quite ready to get started, we’re always happy to have a chat.


Image Credit: Luxury Travel Adviser

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