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. Difficulties arise when the certificates are required from a country whose police force and/or civil service is less efficient or honest than the applicant. Official corruption is always a problem. 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. South Africa is such a country.

In common with many countries which have an immigrant program Uruguay 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.

More details on this subject can be obtained at the "Resources" tab on this site and in the book "How to Retire in Uruguay" by Les Johns which can be purchased directly from this site

Application Requirements

Uruguay is not so severe in its requirements for police clearance certificates as is, say, the United States of America. The LVM web site specifies just what is required. An updated criminal record certificate issued in the foreign country or the countries where the applicant has lived for the last five years, duly apostilled in the country granting it, is what is necessary. This may require obtaining such a certificate from more than one country. For those applying from the U.S.A. an acceptable certificate can be obtained from the Interpol offices in Uruguay.

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 true copies are frequently not acceptable.

A very useful resource for obtaining the detailed needs of 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 difficulties mentioned in the Australian section can clearly also be encountered regardless of the country of destination. The same basic documentation of finger prints, a birth certificate and current identification will always be required. Fees are frequently subject to increases so such information provided in web sites is rarely current. Enquiries must be made of the appropriate authorities at the time of application for police clearance or any other certificates.

All of the above points can be further explored vis the links at the "Resources" tab on this site and in the book "How to Retire in Uruguay" by Les Johns obtainable for this site.