December 11, 2013

In the last few weeks two Brazilian consulates in the USA have announced to start requiring a FBI Clearance instead of a local police clearance for VITEM V (work visa) applications: the consulate in San Francisco with immediate effect and the consulate in Houston as of January 6, 2014.

A Criminal Background Check is one of the required documents to be submitted for VITEM V applications at all Brazilian consulates in the USA. However, details regarding the type of background check that is accepted and whether or not legalization is required, vary per consulate. Although the two mentioned consulates are the only ones having announced upgrades of the required background check to a FBI Clearance, it can be expected that other consulates currently not yet requiring more than a local or state police clearance might follow suit soon.

At date of writing this blog, the criminal background check requirements for the various consulates are as follows:

Atlanta
Jurisdiction: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Police Clearance

  • issued within the past 60 days on a standard letterhead with contact information of the issuing authority;
  • bearing either an official seal (dry or wet stamp) or have the signature of the sheriff or clerk notarized;
  • including sufficient information about the applicant to determine it is not a homonym;
  • reflect where the applicant has lived in the past 12 months; and
  • match the applicant’s proof of address.

If any of the above requirements are not met, a police clearance from a higher rank such as county, state or FBI should be obtained.

Boston
Jurisdiction: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
Criminal Background Check

  • Issued recently on a standard letterhead with contact information of the issuing authority;
  • bearing either an official seal (dry or wet stamp) or have the signature of the sheriff or clerk notarized;
  • including sufficient information about the applicant to determine it is not a homonym;
  • reflect where the applicant has lived in the past 12 months; and
  • match the applicant’s proof of address.

If any of the above requirements are not met, a police clearance from a higher rank such as county, state or FBI should be obtained.

Chicago
Jurisdiction: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Non-criminal record

  • issued within the last 90 days by the Police Department of the applicant’s place of residence;
  • bearing an official signature as well as a stamped or haut-relief seal of the Police Department;
  • printouts of computer-generated criminal records are not accepted.

Hartford
Jurisdiction: Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Certificate of good conduct, certifying no criminal record

  • issued by the state of the applicant’s place of residence.

Houston
Jurisdiction: Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Currently:
Police Clearance

  • issued within the past 60 days on a standard letterhead with contact information of the issuing authority;
  • bearing either an official seal (dry or wet stamp) or have the signature of the sheriff or clerk notarized;
  • including sufficient information about the applicant to determine it is not a homonym;
  • reflect where the applicant has lived in the past 12 months; and
  • match the applicant’s proof of address;
  • online background checks and print-outs of the police data base without a standard notarized letter from the Police Department are not acceptable.

If any of the above requirements are not met, a police clearance from a higher rank such as county, state or FBI should be obtained.

As of January 6, 2014:
Standard FBI Clearance

  • issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation – FBI headquarters in West Virginia;
  • listing full name, address and last 4 digits of applicant’s social security number;
  • only standard FBI Clearances are accepted  (i.e. no clearances obtained through a Channeler).

Los Angeles
Jurisdiction: Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Additionally, the following counties in California: Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura.
Local Police Clearance or FBI Clearance, certifying absence of criminal record

  • Issued within the last 3 months.

Miami
Jurisdiction: Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Island
Non-Criminal Record

  • issued recently by local Police Department.

New York
Jurisdiction: Bermuda Islands, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania
FBI Clearance, certifying absence of criminal record

  • issued within the last 3 months;
  • legalized by the consulate.

San Francisco
Jurisdiction: Alaska, Oregon and Washington. Additionally, the following counties in California: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Inyo, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Ladera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benidito, San Francisco, San Joaquim, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba.
FBI Clearance, certifying absence of criminal record

  • issued within the last 90 days.

Washington DC
Jurisdiction: District of Columbia (DC), North Carolina (NC), Delaware (DE), Kentucky(KY), Maryland(MD), Ohio(OH), Virginia(VA), West Virginia(WV) and all Military Bases, except Guam.
Police Clearance

  • issued within the past 60 days on a standard letterhead with contact information of the issuing authority;
  • bearing either an official seal (dry or wet stamp) or have the signature of the sheriff or clerk notarized;
  • including sufficient information about the applicant to determine it is not a homonym;
  • reflect where the applicant has lived in the past 12 months; and
  • match the applicant’s proof of address;
  • online background checks and print-outs of the police data base without a standard notarized letter from the Police Department are not acceptable.

If any of the above requirements are not met, a police clearance from a higher rank such as county, state or FBI should be obtained.