Criminal Records, Notarization and Document Authentication

December 9







Disclaimer: This is an edited script of an article already posted by Kudosbay酷豆湾



Criminal Records, Notarization and Document Authentication


It is important to determine whether you need a federal (national) certificate or if a local one will be accepted. Factors that depend on this are your employer, location (city and/or district in ), and the decision of the local authorities in China.


A local criminal record obtained by the local police station in China can be used for purposes of for other countries, but usually cannot be used for for China. Some people have mentioned they were able to use the issued one; however, it is extremely rare for this purpose.


Some people have also mentioned that various professional certificates relating to their industry need such authentication while others have reported just needing those documents but not needing to go through these procedures.


As always we would suggest that the original document is not stamped but that a copy is.


The country where your documents should be notarized and authenticated is the country at which the documents were issued.


We will discuss the general procedures and then list the specific procedures for both Americans and Brits, as many ex-pats are from there.





General Procedures


We cannot write a detailed guide for each country because the process varies between each country, however, we can summarize the basic information. We would suggest that you research specific procedures in advance.


Criminal Records, Notarization and Document Authentication


1 – Go to the authority responsible for issuing police clearance records. In most cases, that would be your local police station in your home country or the Ministry of Justice.


2 – Present your passport and your proof of residence (local ID card, for instance). Sometimes you may be required to provide recent passport photos and have your fingerprints taken.


3 – Fill in any relevant application form(s).


4 – Pay required fees, if applicable.


5 – In some cases, you may get the certificate right away and in other cases, you may need to come back after a few days to collect the certificate.


6 – Ensure that your name on the document is correct and matches your passport.


7- Obtain the state notarization. In most cases that would be from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of State, etc, though sometimes a stamp from the Ministry of Justice or other local authorities may be an intermediate step. This may not be free.


8 – Take the notarized certificate to the Chinese embassy or consulate in your home country for authentication (which is not free!)


9 – Once done, take the authenticated certificate to your employer or visa agent to start the application for the work permit, assuming all of your other documents are in order.


It is important to remember that these documents do have an expiration date. According to many overseas Chinese consulates and embassies, this appears to be six months including the work permit and visa processing time. In practice, this appears to be from three to six months depending on the place in China where you will obtain your work permit and residence permit.


Some countries  (like Tunisia, South Africa,  Australia and India to name a few)  allow its citizens to apply, pay, and follow up with the delivery of the certificate online, but you still need to continue steps six through eight above in your home country.


If you are currently in China and have a not notarized and authenticated report, some countries embassies will notarize such documents; however, the US Embassy or Consulate and many others can only provide an affidavit, which is a sworn statement that the document is true and correct. In some jurisdictions in China, this is accepted, whereas others are looking for the seal from the Chinese Consulate or Embassy overseas.


Some people have reported success with using a local notary in China; however, please be aware that this again depends on the factors mentioned at the beginning of this article.


Also, not all local notaries will notarize documents, not from China. Although it is supposed to be accepted by the Chinese authorities with a local notary (from either country), many local governments in China will not accept it because the document is missing the seal from the Chinese Consulate or Embassy overseas.


With a local notary, a foreign embassy or consulate will generally not be able to further authenticate the document.


Proceed with steps six through eight for the notarization of other documents, if required.


Below are some direct links to apply for the police clearance certificate in the countries mentioned earlier and are correct as of the publishing of this article.


Copy the link and open in a new tab to view the :

–  Tunisia

https://b3.interieur.gov.tn

 South Africa

https://www.saps.gov.za/services/applying_clearence_certificate.php

–  United Kingdom

https://www.acro.police.uk/police_certificates.aspx

 Australia:

https://www.acic.gov.au/our-services/national-police-checks

–  India:

http://www.passportindia.gov.in/AppOnlineProject/online/pccOnlineApp





Details for Americans


Criminal Records, Notarization and Document Authentication


If a local statement is acceptable, then you should contact your local police department back home. Each location will have different requirements for issuing such a document. Some have very easy procedures whereby anyone can obtain it for you because it is considered a public record, while other places require you to sign a form. Some places even require an embassy seal on the form or that the person handling this for you has your “power of attorney.”


In some districts, such a document is issued by the courts, but a local police station can verify such procedures. The name on the certificate must match your passport.


If a national one is required, then this takes much more time and involves more procedures, such as fingerprinting. This is processed through the Criminal Justice Information System at the FBI (https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis). Applicants need to submit a formal written request for a copy of this report, along with proof of identity, and fingerprints. Applicants also must accompany their written request with a certified check (bank check) or money order of $18.

FBI CJIS Division
Attn: SCU, Mod. D-2, 1000 Custer Hollow Rd.
Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306
Tel: 001 (304) 625-3878
Fax: 001 (304) 625-5102


The US Embassy provides information regarding identification requirements and local fingerprinting locations in China that are accepted by the American government. The fingerprints are not usually required for local records but are required for records obtained by the FBI. 


Copy the link and open in a new tab to view the content:

https://china.usembassy-china.org.cn/wp-content/uploads/sites/252/2017/05/Fingerprinting.pdf


Criminal Records, Notarization and Document Authentication
Criminal Records, Notarization and Document Authentication


The US Embassy provides this PDF, but please be aware that information contained therein is incorrect.


Copy the link and open in a new tab to view the content:

https://photos.state.gov/libraries/china/197340/PDF/CriminalRecordChecks.pdf


Criminal Records, Notarization and Document Authentication


It mentions a procedure through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but in either event, the US Embassy or Consulate in China cannot notarize your document. They can only provide the affidavit as mentioned above.


The process of obtaining the notarization and authentication overseas in the US includes:


(1) Obtaining a local notarization in the US, depending on where the document was issued

(2) Obtaining the Secretary of State seal (likely from your state’s capital city)

(3) Obtaining a seal from the Department of State

(4) Obtaining a seal from the Chinese consulate or embassy, depending on where the document was issued


There is a streamlined process for federally issued documents that start at the number (3), but there are increased documents, time, and costs for obtaining the documents from the FBI.


The same procedures would apply if other documents are required to be notarized and authenticated, as well.


Please review the below useful links:


Department of State, Office of Authentications 

Copy the link and open in a new tab to view content

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/travel-legal-considerations/internl-judicial-asst/authentications-and-apostilles/office-of-authentications.html


Authentication Requirements

Copy the link and open in a new tab to view content

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/travel-legal-considerations/internl-judicial-asst/authentications-and-apostilles/authentication-certificate-requirements.html


These links may address number (2) above, but to get the mentioned seal, then the number (1) has to be completed, first.





Details for Brits


Criminal Records, Notarization and Document Authentication


Anyone who has lived or worked in the UK (both citizens and non-citizens) can apply for the police certificate.


The application for such a certificate can be made online or via post but in this article, we will focus on the online application.


Below is a list of the mandatory documents you need to prepare beforehand and provide to make an application online:


  • Two proofs of current address (for those living in China, you can provide two letters (one from the employer and one from the bank on company headed paper confirming your current address to be up-to-date)

  • A passport photo (digital format) to be attached to the police certificate when it will be issued.

  • Copy of the ID page of your passport


Please note that if any of the required documents cannot be provided timely, the application will be delayed till all the information required is available to proceed.


As an option, you may provide a copy of your UK driving license and UK National Insurance Number, although they should be not required.


The fee charged and processing time for issuing the police certificate depends on the type of application:


  • For standard application, that will cost £45.00 and will take ten working days to process

  • For premium application, that will cost £80.00 and will take two working days to process


The costs listed above are for issuing one police certificate and include a delivery fee to a UK or China address.


The process of obtaining the notarization and authentication overseas in the UK consists as follows:


(1) Send the certificate to the local notary public for notarization. If the document contains two or more pages, they must then be tied together by silk ribbons and sealed properly by the notary office. If there is should be are any blank pages, please make sure that those pages are marked with a statement that reads “This page has no contents”

(2) Send the certificate, notarized by the local notary public to the legalization office of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (known as FCO) or to an authorized department by the FCO for legalization

(3) Obtaining a seal from the Chinese consulate or embassy, depending on where the document was issued



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Source: Julian via Kudosbay酷豆湾




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