police clearance certificate

Are You Required To Submit Police Clearance Certificates From All Countries You Lived In?

Police clearance certificate is required from every visa applicant aged 16 years or over for each country of residence where the applicant has resided for at least six months since attaining the age of sixteen.

Police certificates are also required from all other countries where the applicant has resided for at least one year.

A police certificate is an official document issued after a background check by the police department of a country to indicate any criminal records that the applicant may have. Criminal records can include arrest, conviction, and possibly criminal proceedings

Depending on the country, you may have to submit fingerprints and certain personal information to request a criminal record check, and the police agency may charge a fee.

Which Countries Will I Need A Police Certificate From?

IF you…AND…THEN you need a police certificate from…
are living in your country of nationality at your current residence for more than 6 monthsare 16 years old or olderthe police authorities of that locality.
lived in a different part of your country of nationality for more than 6 monthswere 16 years or older at that timethe police authorities of that locality.
lived in a different country for more than 12 monthswere 16 years or older at that timethe police authorities of that locality.
were arrested for any reason, regardless of how long you lived therewere any age at that timethe police authorities of that locality.

This process can be very time consuming if you have lived in several countries after the age of 16. You will need to get in contact with local authorities to get a police clearance certificate. It is best to do this as soon as possible because it may take several weeks to months to receive.

How To Obtain A Police Clearance Certificate

Application Form From Local Authorities

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Apply for a police clearance certificate

To apply for a Police Clearance Certificate, you must complete an application form with your local police department in the country that you currently reside in.

If you are requesting a police certificate from another country, contact their local authority to find out what you need to submit.

The completed application form can be submitted either personally, or through an agent having an identity document from you and an authority letter with your signature.

However, in many cases you will be asked to provide fingerprints so you may be required to apply in person.

Application Fee To Run Background Check

You may be required to pay a fee to run a countrywide background check – along with the application form. This fee can be paid either in cash or by credit card in most situations. Call ahead to find out the specific fee that is charged to run a police clearance background check.

Documents Required For The Police Clearance Certificate

Listed below are the documents that may be required to obtain a Police Clearance Certificate:

A valid original passport;
Proof of residence; and
If the applicant has not stayed at the present address for the last one year, all previous residences.

Processing Time For Police Clearance Certificate

It generally takes 5-7 business days from the date of application to receive a Police Clearance Certificate. However, some police authorities are able to run the check immediately in front of you and you can get the document right then and there.

police-clearance-cert
Police clearance certificate sample

Call ahead to find out how long it will take for your specific local authorities and give yourself plenty of time by applying as soon as possible.

In conclusion, submission of a Police Clearance Certificate is required when applying for any immigrant visa (CR-1) and certain nonimmigrant visas (K-1) for U.S. immigration.

Note: police clearance certificates may not be available in all countries.

The police certificate is a statement which provides the consular officer information on any criminal convictions held against you. Knowing when you need one, and how to obtain a Police Clearance Certificate, can save you a lot of time and frustration.

The whole immigration process is stressful enough without having to try to figure this out at the last minute.

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