Our law firm routinely assists clients in obtaining China police certificates for purposes such as immigration (to the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries) or employment background checks. Our clients include foreign nationals, including former Chinese citizens, and residents of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
A police certificate is a document confirming you have no conviction (or listing your convictions) within a jurisdiction.
A police certificate is also known as a police clearance certificate (PCC), or no criminal record (NCR) certificate. In Chinese, it is commonly referred to as a 无犯罪记录证明书 (certificate of no criminal conviction). For sample, see here.
Unlike most countries, in China, most cities will only issue a police certificate covering the time you resided in that city (or maybe in that province). As a result, if you have lived in multiple locations, you may need multiple police certificates.
Rules for issuance of police certificates vary from city to city. The rules may not be published, especially in smaller cities.
Typically, to apply, the applicant or another person with a power of attorney (委托书) signed by the applicant must first visit the local public security bureau to apply for a police letter. Then, that police letter must be brought to a local notary office to apply for the certificate to be notarized. The notary can issue the police certificate with a translation to English or another language, if required.
Note on Unobtainable Police Certificates
There are cases where a China police certificate is unobtainable. Most commonly, in some cities, a police certificate will not be issued if:
- you no longer have your passport used when you resided in the city
- you failed to complete the temporary residence registration (临时住宿登记) process when you lived in the city, or you have lost and the police cannot find copies of your temporary residence registration forms
- when you lived in the city, you held short-term visas (such as L, F, M, Q2, or X2) rather than residence permits (居留许可) issued by the local public security bureau’s exit-entry administration
The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries will waive the police certificate requirement upon presentation of proof that the police certificate is unobtainable. For instance:
- United States: “In the event that the immigrant establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer that” a police clearance “is unobtainable, the consular officer may permit the immigrant to submit … other satisfactory evidence of the fact to which such document or record would, if obtainable, pertain.” 9 FAM 504.4-4(F) (emphasis added). Such other satisfactory evidence that a person has no criminal conviction may include, for example, “proof of membership in or affiliation with a reputable religious organization in a religious capacity during periods of foreign residence may be accepted as such evidence.” 9 FAM 504.4-4(B) (emphasis added). In our experience, an individual’s own affidavit or an employer letter may also be satisfactory evidence that a person has no conviction.
- Canada: Rules require that an applicant show proof that they requested a police certificate from the correct authorities and explain why it cannot be issued.
- Australia: If you are unable to obtain a police certificate, you should demonstrate with documentary evidence where possible, that you have made a genuine attempt to obtain the certificate. The police certificate requirement may be waived if you demonstrate that, given the circumstances, it is unreasonable to require a certificate.
- New Zealand: The police certificate requirement may be waived under INZ Operational Manual A5.10, where an immigration officer who holds the position of immigration manager or has Schedule 3 delegations or above is satisfied that such certificate is “not available” (for example, where authorities of a country do not generally provide such certificates) or “unduly difficult to obtain” (for example, where “circumstances beyond the control of the applicant” prevent them from obtaining the certificate).
Unfortunately, in many situations the public security bureau and notary will not provide documentation showing that an application was made and why it was refused. Our law firm will request that the agency put this decision in writing. If the agency refuses to put the decision in writing, we will document this refusal. We will provide a declaration explaining that the police certificate has been denied and that the denial cannot be overcome through reasonable efforts. The declaration will be accompanied by supporting evidence, relevant Chinese rules about issuance and notarization of police certificates, and certified English translations.
Hiring Our Law Firm
Getting a Quote from Our Firm: Our firm focuses on being thorough and transparent regarding how we assist with police certificate applications. As such, we charge a “research fee” to (a) review the facts of your case, as set forth in a Client Questionnaire you will fill in for us; (b) request and review key documents in your case; (c) research published local rules (if any) and speak with local officials to determine the local requirements and procedures for police certificate applications as they apply to the specific facts of your case, such as whether alternative documents may be acceptable if you are missing any normally required documents; and (d) prepare for you a quote describing the steps we will take in your case, the strategy we propose for dealing with any potential difficulty, the odds that a police certificate will be issued or be unobtainable (in which case we will need to gather and prepare evidence that the certificate is unobtainable), and the legal fees we will charge. To get a quote from our firm:
- Client Questionnaire: Each person seeking a police certificate should fill the below Client Questionnaire. We will treat your information confidentially.
- Submit Your Documents: Please provide to us scans of the documents listed here.
- Pay the Research Fee: The research fee is USD 100 (RMB 700) for each police certificate you want to apply for.
Legal Fees: Our firm’s legal fees typically range from USD 450 to 800 per police certificate application. If the certificate is unobtainable, we typically charge an additional USD 700 to gather evidence and prepare a declaration to be submitted to foreign immigration authorities that the certificate is unobtainable.
Discounts: Discounts to our firm’s legal fees are available if you need certificates from multiple cities or if multiple family members are applying at the same time.
Payment Methods: You can pay by either RMB bank transfer, USD credit card, or USD eCheck (ACH).
Processing Times: Processing times vary by city but are typically 7-10 weeks. After the police certificate is issued, we will send it to you via international courier, such as FedEx.
We Can Assist Nationwide
We can assist with applying for police certificates anywhere in Mainland China, including but not limited to the following cities:
- Anhui (安徽): Hefei (合肥)
- Beijing (北京)
- Chongqing (重庆)
- Fujian (福建): Fuzhou (福州), Quanzhou (泉州), Xiamen (厦门)
- Gansu (甘肃): Lanzhou (兰州)
- Guangdong (广东): Guangzhou (广州), Shenzhen (深圳), Shantou (汕头), Dongguan (东莞), Foshan (佛山), Zhuhai (珠海), Huizhou (惠州), Zhongshan (中山)
- Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Zone (广西壮族自治区): Nanning (南宁)
- Guizhou (贵州): Guiyang (贵阳)
- Hainan (海南): Haikou (海口)
- Hebei (河北): Shijiazhuang (石家庄)
- Heilongjiang (黑龙江): Harbin (哈尔滨)
- Henan (河南): Zhengzhou (郑州)
- Hubei (湖北): Wuhan (武汉)
- Hunan (湖南): Changsha (长沙)
- Jiangsu (江苏): Changzhou (常州), Nanjing (南京), Nantong (南通), Suzhou (苏州), Wuxi (无锡), Xuzhou (徐州)
- Jiangxi (江西): Nanchang (南昌)
- Jilin (吉林): Changchun (长春)
- Liaoning (辽宁): Shenyang (沈阳), Dalian (大连)
- Shaanxi (陕西): Xi’an (西安)
- Shandong (山东): Jinan (济南), Qingdao (青岛), Yantai (烟台)
- Shanghai (上海)
- Shanxi (山西): Taiyuan (太原)
- Sichuan (四川): Chengdu (成都)
- Tianjin (天津)
- Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Zone (新疆维吾尔族自治区): Urumqi (乌鲁木齐)
- Yunnan (云南): Kunming (昆明)
- Zhejiang (浙江): Hangzhou (杭州), Jiaxing (嘉兴), Jinhua (金华), Wenzhou (温州), Ningbo (宁波), Shaoxing (绍兴), Taizhou (台州)
Pete Zhang, the paralegal who helped with my application for a Nanjing police certificate, was exemplary in every way. He introduced himself at the beginning; responded to questions and requests promptly; showed initiative to track down the right people; and was patient and reassuring, building trust and confidence in his competence and the professionalism of the firm.
I found Chodorow Law Offices at a time when my US visa application was stuck in administrative processing as I was unable to provide a Chinese police clearance covering my period of residence in China more than 10 years ago. Gary and Linda managed not only to solve my problem quickly but also to restore something I was starting to lose: hope. Their work helped me reunite with my wife in the US. I’ve read somewhere that a lawyer can change people’s lives. Chodorow Law Offices did that for me.
Gary Chodorow and Pete Zhang were a great help to me in getting an immigrant visa at the U.S. Embassy in London. The Embassy initially denied my application because the public security bureau in China refused to issue me a police clearance on the grounds that I lacked sufficient evidence of my residence there long ago. Then I hired Chodorow Law Offices. With attention to detail and expertise, Gary and Pete prepared evidence that persuaded the Embassy to waive the China police clearance requirement and approve my visa application. Thank you!
It can be a daunting task to hire a law firm overseas, but I was impressed by the diligence and commitment of each member of the staff at Chodorow Law Offices. They were well prepared to handle cases like mine, and they patiently dealt with all the details. They succeeded in convincing New Zealand immigration to waive the requirement that I submit a China police certificate on the basis that it was unobtainable.
Hi Gary, I would like to thank you for helping with my husband’s Chinese Police Clearance. Because of you the impossible became possible: The US Embassy in Manila accepted his Police Clearance and, for his first year in China, accepted the evidence your team prepared showing that the Police Certificate was unobtainable. Thank you also to Susie Guo and all those in Chodorow Law Offices.
Gary and his team are very knowledgeable, professional, efficient and always patient… They always thought ahead and helped us to get well organized and prepared. Working with Gary and his team made the complicated visa process so much simpler, and made my life so much easier. So thank you so much!
Thank you for your professional and timely management of my application for a China police clearance.
Gary and his team helped me to acquire a Chinese Police Certificate in order for me to apply for residency in New Zealand. His team are very professional and thorough and kept me updated regularly. Would highly recommend!
Chodorow Law Offices helped get my Canada permanent residence application approved. In particular, the law firm proved to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that it was not possible for me to meet the normal requirement of submitting a police certificate from China, where I previously lived. The firm’s work was quick, with clear, prompt, and personal communications, thanks especially to Pete Zhang. I have no hesitation in recommending your firm.
Thanks, Gary, for providing an expert legal opinion explaining to the U.S. Embassy in London that it would be impossible for my wife to obtain a Chinese police certificate. At the immigrant visa interview, the consular officer reviewed the documentation and approved the visa a few minutes later. It worked perfectly.