Must I give consulate a police certificate from a country where I lived for less than six months?

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Question:

I am applying for a visa to immigrate to the United States through my brother who is a U.S. citizen. The instructions say that I must obtain a police certificate from every country where I have lived for more than six months. I lived in Italy for four months, but got arrested there on a minor charge, which later got dismissed. My brother’s lawyer insists that I must get a police certificate from Italy in order to go forward with my consular processing. Is he right about this? How do I even go about getting the police certificates when I no longer live there?

Answer:

Your brother’s lawyer is correct that the U.S. State Department requires immigrant visa applicants to obtain police certificates from every country in which they were ever arrested, regardless of the person’s age or how long he or she lived there. This is set forth on the “Documents the Applicant Must Submit to the NVC” page of the State Department’s website.

Your brother’s lawyer no doubt wants to see the results of the police certificate as well. Even if your case was dismissed, there are a few situations where a visa applicant can be found “inadmissible” and therefore denied a visa without an actual criminal conviction – for example, someone who simply admits to having committed a controlled substance (drug) violation can be found inadmissible to the United States and denied a visa or green card.

As for where to get the police certificate, the State Department website’s “Reciprocity by Country” page will take you to this information (simply choose “Italy” from the dropdown menu). It appears you can request this information by mail.

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