Hi, everyone. I am Attorney Megan Pastrana of Immigration for Couples and I’m here for our weekly live immigration attorney chat.
We’ve been seeing an uptick in interviews being scheduled and so, a lot of individuals are asking about the police clearance certificate requirements. There are also people in our Facebook group who are just being proactive and wanting to understand more about the police clearance certificate requirements.
That part of the process; getting and collecting civil documents, especially if you’ve lived in multiple countries, can be a bit overwhelming.
According to the National Visa Center, police clearance certificates are valid for two years. There are a lot of countries that will issue police clearance certificates where they will issue a police clearance certificate and it’s only valid for three months. UAE is one example.
There are other countries that will say it’s only valid for a month or six months. That can become confusing because that is that particular country’s validity period. But for all intents and purposes, the National Visa Center does say that police clearance certificates are valid for two years.
It is important to pay attention to those interview requirements because they can change and they can sometimes vary by consulate because if you happen to be living in a certain country, they might have a reduced period of time that that police clearance is valid. But in general, the National Visa Center says they’re valid for two years.
Police Clearance for Adjustment of Status
For the adjustment of status process, you don’t have to obtain a police clearance certificate. However, if you have had criminal history in another country, then you would have to get certified criminal records or a police clearance in that instance.
But in general, those police clearance certificates aren’t required in the same way that they are for the consular process or for fiancé visa cases.
What if I can’t obtain the police clearance letter?
In the United Arab Emirates, their police clearance certificates can only be obtained in person and there are a few countries like that where you have to be in person to obtain the police clearance.
Depending on the circumstances and depending on the country where you need to obtain the police clearance, US embassies and consulates will allow that requirement to be waived. It can be waived if there is civil strife, you’re unable to go there safely, or if it’s just impossible for you to make it.
There are some countries where the embassy or the National Visa Center will encourage consular officers to waive this police clearance requirement because of certain extenuating circumstances. But that doesn’t mean that you can get every single clearance letter waived.
A lot of police clearance letters can be obtained online like in the United Kingdom. There are a few countries that allow for you to get that police clearance letter online. If you have a family member or if you can hire an attorney in that country to obtain it for you, it’s always better to get the police clearance letter.
But if you’re really in a predicament where there’s no way to obtain it, you can try to ask for a waiver of that requirement. It’s always better to get the letters to prevent any kind of unnecessary delay.