What is a Police Certificate of Clearance?
November 11, 2022
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Immigration Lawyer Chicago/ Resources/ Immigration Insights/ What is a Police Certificate of Clearance?
Article by Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C.
November 11, 2022
A Police Certificate of Clearance is a document that proves that you have no criminal record. It is also known as a Good Conduct Certificate (CGC). A police certificate is required from each country where an applicant has lived for at least six months if they are applying for a green card from abroad. If you have been arrested in any country (except the United States), you must submit a Police Certificate of Clearance from that locality regardless of how long you lived there or your age.
Once you have received the police clearance, submit it along with your citizenship application and bring a certified copy with you to the green card interview.
The police certificate for immigration will list any arrests, convictions, or criminal proceedings on an individual’s record as well as the reasons for and outcomes of those arrests. If an applicant has a criminal record, their green card petition may be denied. Therefore, it is important to obtain a police certificate before applying for a green card to ensure you are eligible for immigration to the United States.
The National Visa Center (NVC) requires a Police Certificate of Clearance for any family member of at least 16 years of age that is applying for a green card while living abroad.
You must first apply for a Police Certificate of Clearance from the police department in the country (or countries) where you currently reside. The police department will then conduct a background check and provide a written report of your criminal history if any. In some cases, police departments may also require individuals to submit fingerprints to obtain a police certificate.
Every country has a different process, fees, and names for this document. For example, the Australian Federal Police refer to a Police Certificate of Clearance as a “National Police Check”. Also in Australia, it’s $42 for each National Police Check and $99 for a fingerprint and National Police Check application. In Mexico, the document is referred to as a “Letter or Certificate of No Criminal Record” and fees vary by state.
You may find the appropriate document for your country by using the U.S. Department of State to see if your country or region has a reciprocity page.
If you’re applying for immigration and are unable to obtain a police certificate from your home country, you’ll need to provide proof of your attempts to obtain the certificate as well as a letter explaining why you were unable to do so. You must sign your sworn written statement in the presence of a notary public and their seal should be on the document. In some cases, even if you are able to provide these items, it may not be enough to guarantee acceptance for a green card.
However, it’s important to remember that each case is unique and therefore it’s best to consult with an attorney to see what your best course of action may be.
There are a few types of crimes that may prevent naturalization. If you are seeking a police certificate for immigration purposes, the police may uncover evidence of a crime that would make you ineligible for naturalization.
For example, if you have been convicted of a serious crime, such as murder or rape, you will not be able to become a naturalized citizen. Additionally, if you have been convicted of multiple crimes, or if you have been convicted of a crime that involved moral turpitude (e.g. fraud), you may be ineligible for naturalization.
In some cases, even if you have not been convicted of a crime but there is evidence that you have committed a crime, you may be denied naturalization. Therefore, it is important to consult with an attorney before seeking a police certificate for immigration purposes to ensure that you are eligible for naturalization.
These crimes might temporarily affect your citizenship application if they have taken place in the last five years (or three years if the applicant is married to a U.S. citizen).
Each Police Certificate of Clearance must be less than two years old. You will need to reapply for a Police Certificate of Clearance if your citizenship application is not approved within that time frame.
Anyone who has ever tried to apply for a Police Certificate of Clearance knows that the process can be confusing and frustrating. Police Certificates of Clearance are issued by the police department in the country where the applicant lives and they are usually in that country’s national language. However, the Police Certificate of Clearance on your application must be in English.
Fortunately, there are ways to translate police certificates into English. The first step is to contact the police department that issued the certificate and ask if they can provide an English translation. If they cannot, they may be able to recommend a certified translator who can help. Once you have the translated police certificate, you can submit it with your immigration application.
The time you wait to get your police record certificate will vary by country. For example, in the United Kingdom, it can take anywhere from 14 days to 8 weeks. In Trinidad and Tobago, it can take 4-6 weeks.
A Police Certificate of Clearance is only relevant if you’re living abroad. If you are living in the United States, you’ll instead need to schedule a biometrics appointment to be fingerprinted for a background check. Additionally, you must submit certified police and court records. Generally, you don’t need to supply documentation for minor traffic violations. However, you must include traffic violations if they involve drugs, alcohol, injury, or property damage.
Otherwise, you must submit all of your crime documentation even if you meet the following circumstances:
If you are found inadmissible for a green card during your USCIS background check, don’t panic. You may be able to apply for a waiver.
To be eligible for a 212 (h) waiver, you must meet all of the following criteria:
If you believe that you meet the criteria for a waiver, you should include a letter with your Police Certificate of Clearance application explaining why you believe you should be granted a waiver. The decision on whether or not to grant a waiver will be made on a case-by-case basis. Certain criminal records are not eligible for waivers under U.S. immigration law such as a murder or rape conviction. Applicants with criminal records should always consult with an attorney to determine if they are eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility.
The immigration and naturalization attorneys at Scott D Pollock & Associates, PC have over 30 years of experience working in immigration law. We help our clients navigate the challenges of gaining U.S. citizenship while having a criminal record. We can help you to locate the proper documents and navigate the system according to your individual circumstances and your country of origin. We also have ample experience in submitting waivers for clients with criminal backgrounds if they are deemed inadmissible to the United States.
While the path to citizenship is exciting, it can also be challenging and oftentimes confusing. We can help you feel confident knowing you’re submitting the right documents at the right time and progressing toward your goal of citizenship.
If you have any questions regarding a Police Certificate of Clearance, how your criminal background might affect your green card application, or any other questions about your immigration journey, contact us today. Reach us by filling out an online form. We look forward to hearing from you!View Similar Articles