Police records check for Visa?

Old Sep 20th 2009, 10:12 am
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Default Police records check for Visa?

Hi everyone,

I'm a British Citizen applying for an H1-B and would like to get past the embassy without getting stuck in "administrative processing" which can take months (or years).

My record is completely clean, I've had almost zero contact with the police or the courts or tax authorities or even a speeding ticket. BUT I'm from a T country and my name is the Muslim version of John Smith.

The only contact I've had with a police officer was at the airport in June when I was leaving for holiday (from England to Amsterdam for a week). She stopped me as I was walking past their desk and asked me a bunch of questions about "Do you go to a mosque?" "What did you think of the 9/11 attacks" "Where are you working?" "Who are you meeting in Amsterdam" and other stuff which I thought was inappropriate but answered honestly and politely anyway. All my answers were basically "terrorism is bad" but she wrote everything down. Is there a chance this interview would cause my application to get flagged?

Is there any way I can check my records to make sure there are no other errors or mistakes? Would it make a difference at the embassy?

In a similar vein, has anyone heard of this ACRO thing? How do I know if I require a police check in order to obtain a visa?:

"Visas for Australia, New Zealand, United States of America and Canada
If you require a police check in order to obtain a visa for one of the above countries, individuals are now required to obtain an ACRO (Association of
Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office) police certificate. ACRO offer two services, standard and fast track service designed for those wishing to obtain a Visa quickly... ...To obtain an application please go to the ACRO website at
www.acpo.police.uk/certificates.asp or telephone 0845 6013 999."


I'd like to get an idea of what's required before raising it with my American immigration attorney. Maybe I'm just panicking but I really don't want my visa to be delayed...

Any and all help appreciated, many thanks,
AR

EDIT: Also, should I be worried about certifying my birth certificate? Is that necessary? That could take forever...

Last edited by agentred; Sep 20th 2009 at 10:52 am.
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Old Sep 20th 2009, 1:05 pm
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Default Re: Police records check for Visa?

Originally Posted by agentred View Post
Is there a chance this interview would cause my application to get flagged?
Yes, there is a chance... although it's probably very low.


Is there any way I can check my records to make sure there are no other errors or mistakes?
No, not unless you have access to the same databases that are used to do the checks.


Would it make a difference at the embassy?
No. They will not take your word that you are who you are - they will take the word of the authorities who do the checks.


How do I know if I require a police check in order to obtain a visa?:
All immigrants require a police check to get a visa. Not sure if non-immigrants require one. It certainly wouldn't hurt to get one in advance - if nothing else, you'll have a better idea where you stand.


Also, should I be worried about certifying my birth certificate?
Any documents that are not in English must be translated, but I'm not sure that's the same thing as certifiying.

Ian

Last edited by ian-mstm; Sep 20th 2009 at 1:39 pm.
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Old Sep 20th 2009, 5:50 pm
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Default Re: Police records check for Visa?

Originally Posted by agentred View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm a British Citizen applying for an H1-B and would like to get past the embassy without getting stuck in "administrative processing" which can take months (or years).

My record is completely clean, I've had almost zero contact with the police or the courts or tax authorities or even a speeding ticket. BUT I'm from a T country and my name is the Muslim version of John Smith.
I'd suggest that there is no way you can control or avoid 'additional administrative processing' (known variously as AAP, AP, 221g etc). They'll do their own checks and there isn't anything the applicant can do to influence the speed or outcome.
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Old Sep 20th 2009, 9:11 pm
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Default Re: Police records check for Visa?

Thank you both for the replies.

I found out the non-immigrant visa only requires a police check if I've had a criminal conviction in the past, but thankfully that doesn't apply.

I'm just not sure whether the main police database is the same database that the American embassy checks or whether they use some high level "exempt from the freedom of information act" records. So would fixing my police record if there are any mistakes on it make any difference? The waiting list for the normal check is several weeks which is too long, and the quick version for visas costs £70!! So I don't know whether it's worth spending that, and in the rare chance that there is an error will it be possible to correct it in time for my visa interview (in ~3 weeks)... Gah

My birth certificate is in English but it's a really flimsy looking black and white document with a rubber stamp and some doctor's signature on it. Is that normal? It just looks... cheap!

I'll call my lawyer and ask I guess, but he must be getting awwwwwwful sick of me!
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Old Sep 20th 2009, 10:54 pm
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Default Re: Police records check for Visa?

Originally Posted by agentred View Post
My birth certificate is in English but it's a really flimsy looking black and white document with a rubber stamp and some doctor's signature on it. Is that normal? It just looks... cheap!
Is it normal? Depends on where you were born.
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Old Sep 21st 2009, 10:55 pm
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Default Re: Police records check for Visa?

> my name is the Muslim version of John Smith.

In the case of a permanent immigration visa this may be an issue. I have come across many people with common Muslim names that get seriously tied up in Administrative processing, very unfair but a fact none the less.

This is particularly stressful for DV lottery applicants as there is only a 12 month time frame open for the DV visa to be issued. Some times people get so delayed in AP that the window for issuing the DV visa (09/30 of any given year) passes and the visas are not issued :-(.

> I found out the non-immigrant visa only requires a police check if I've had a criminal
> conviction in the past, but thankfully that doesn't apply.

If this is the case then you should be fine for your H1-B. Its worth remembering to factor in time for AP if you ever get to the stage of applying for a GC down the road though. Good luck!
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