Commonwealth of Dominica

Police Clearance Certificates

No country wishes to "import" trouble. Most do their best to keep out those with a criminal record. This is done by requiring prospective immigrants to provide Police Clearance Certificates from all countries in which a person has spent an appreciable length of time. This is often as short as six months. Some countries require a clearance certificate only from the current country of residence.

There are basic identifying documents required to obtain a Police Clearance Certificate the most defining of which is a full set of fingerprints, often including the palms and the sides of the hands. Sometimes a certificate can be obtained without fingerprints but this is not normally acceptable for immigration purposes.

Police Clearance Certificates are valid on the day of issue only but most countries accord them a "life" although this can be as short as six months. Not all police forces are as efficient at supplying certificates as are, say, the British. It is possible that certificates already obtained may "expire" before all have been collected if you have lived in a number of countries. Difficulties arise when the certificates are required from a country whose police force and/or civil service are/is less efficient than most countries or not as honest as the applicant. Official corruption is always a problem. It may result in the loss of the application charge and the return postage. Failure to get the clearance certificate is the major problem. It is difficult to generalize but countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America are easy to deal with and are efficient in providing police clearance certificates. Third world and newly independent countries are often not so well organized. An indicator of problems can be when a country's diplomatic mission, embassy or consulate will not answer questions on behalf of or intercede for you with, its own police force.

In addition to the cost of the certificates themselves and the return mail/courier charges other authorities charge a fee for supplying necessary supporting documents such as birth and marriage certificates. The information given in this book may be low in cost but some things are not. The cost will be even higher if you let a third party prosecute your case for you and it may, even so, not be successful.

In common with many countries which have an immigrant program Dominica wants to make sure that it is not importing a criminal element. Some countries originated as convict colonies. Today all countries are more likely to deport criminals than to accept them as immigrants. Most countries, will now provide police clearance certificates to applicants (on a state and federal basis) depending on the purpose for which they are needed. Judgements in civil matters are usually not recorded so far as police certificates are concerned.

The Links provided at the "Resources" tab of this site and information in the book "How to Retire in the Commonwealth of Dominica" by Les Johnswill assist retirees over this hurdle in the quest for residency. The book can be bought directly from this site.

Application Requirements

Dominica may be just as severe in its requirements for police clearance certificates as is, say, the United States of America. This may require obtaining such a certificate from more than one country. A very useful resource for obtaining the detailed needs by various police departments is provided by the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration site. Included in this informative page of the Society's web site are the requirements of the many countries listed.

The Australian requirements so far as police clearance certificates are concerned is set out by The Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Also included on this web page are the addresses and brief details of the documentary requirements for many countries of the world.The fees quoted may not be accurate. For the current situation in this respect it will be necessary to contact the issuing authority. The information provided by some countries is often not as comprehensive as this Australian example. It is sometimes necessary to contact the appropriate embassy or consulate to discover just what is the procedure and cost and what documents are required. Even this may not resolve all problems and direct contact may have to be made with the department concerned (it may not be the Police) in the country from which a certificate is required.

The minimum information that must be supplied is proof of identity, dates of residency and a set of finger prints. The identity requirement is usually satisfied by a notarized or certified true copy of the identity page of a current passport. A set of fingerprints can usually be supplied by asking a local police station to make up their usual card bearing your finger prints. This may include not just prints of the fingers and thumbs but also of the palms and the sides of the hands. If birth or marriage certificates are required it is often the case that "original" copies issued by the recording authority are needed. Notarized or certified copies are often not acceptable.

The links at the "Resources" tab on this site and the book "How to Retire in the Commonwealth of Dominica" by Les Johns will save intending retirees much research time. The book is obtainable from this site.