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How to Obtain Court Records and Police Reports for Immigration

Close-up Of Male Judge In Front Of Mallet Holding Documents

When a person files any sort of petition or application with the U.S. immigration services, generally, court and police records must be included. The nature of the application/petition will determine what type of record/documentation is needed. For family-based green cards, court records might be needed relating to a marriage, divorce, or adoption. If the applicant has been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime, then police records will be needed.

Further, the court/police records might be needed from U.S. courts (if the applicant has been in-country for any significant amount of time) and/or from the court and police officials in foreign nations. This article briefly discussed how to obtain court and police records.

First, for immigration purposes, ALL court and police records must be in English. If the records are obtained overseas where the records are not kept in English, then the records must be submitted ALONG WITH a certified translation into English. That is, two documents are needed. A certified copy of the original AND the certified translation. The translation is a separate process and is NOT typically done by a government office. Most often, this is done by a private person or business that provides certified translation services.

Second, for immigration purposes, ALL court and police records must be stamped as certified or official copies. This usually means the copy that you obtain must be stamped (usually with red ink) or given a raised seal stating that the document is an official government-issued copy of the original document. You will never receive original documents; you are obtaining certified copies of the original documents.

Obtaining Court and Police Records in the U.S.

In the United States, there is a division in governmental authority between the federal government and the State governments. Further, at the State level, there is another division of authority as most courts and police duties are handled at the county level. So, you may need to obtain documents from all three levels. The process of obtaining official government copies is similar for all three levels. Let's take an example. Assume you were arrested in California for some offense. For most immigration forms, you will need copies of the police records related to that arrest. In this case, you will need to obtain those copies from the California County where you were arrested. This involves:

  • Going to the County courthouse or police station
  • Finding the Clerk's Office (or any other place where the records are kept)
  • Asking for officially certified copies of the required documents
  • Paying a fee and
  • Obtaining the documents.

You will have to find out where the correct location is for the records. Sometimes the records are in storage, so you may have to return at a later time to obtain your certified copies. Because an arrest generally involves the criminal courts, you will ALSO need to obtain the court records related to the arrest. Both sets of records MIGHT be located in the same place. But, if not, then you will have to go to a separate court office or location to obtain the court records.

Generally speaking, this is the same process if you were arrested by the California State Police ("CSP") and/or if you were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"). Again, you will have to find out where your records are located. The CSP and the FBI have many field locations.

Obtaining Court and Police Records From Overseas

Generally, most foreign nations have similar procedures for obtaining court and police records as those used here in the United States. Again, generally, a person must find out where the records are located, go to that location, request copies, pay a fee and then obtain the copies.

Contact Yekrangi & Associates Today

For more information, contact the Orange County Immigration Attorneys at Yekrangi & Associates today. You are not alone and we will fight for you. Yekrangi & Associates works to meet a higher standard. Our first goal is your satisfaction. Contact us at (949) 478-4963 to schedule a consultation or complete our convenient “Get Your Consultation” form here. We are located in Irvine, California.
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