Authentication of crimial record check for use in China

Revised: 2016-07-03

"Criminal record check", "criminal background check", "criminal history check", or sometimes called "certificate of lack of a criminal record", is often needed when you apply for work authorization in China. This document outlines the detailed process involved in obtaining the document and have it authenticated by the Chinese consulate.

I. What government agency issues Crimial Record Check?

There are two places that issues the criminal record check:

  • city police, county sheriff's office, or state police and law enforcement agency;
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The former checks the database of the city, county, or state, and the latter checks the database of FBI (only federal records will show up).

Now the question comes: What kind of Crimial Record Check do I need? Do I need both? This is very difficult to answer, and you should check with your prospective employer in China. We have requests for both types of documents.

II. How to obtain the Crimial Record Check and what are the procedures to get it authenticated?

Depending on where the document was originated, the authentication procedures differ.

Criminal record check from city, county or state

1. Get the criminal record check from the city, county or state.

  • You may contact the city police, office of the county sheriff to get the document.
  • More and more states now issues criminal record check at the state level (e.g., Florida, Texas, and Virginia). In most cases, you have the option to get it locally or at the state, but in Virginia, you should get it from State Police.
  • Please tell them that the document will be used in China, and thus the document must be acceptable by the Secretary of State's office for authentication.

2. Certify by the Office of Secretary of State of the state where the document is executed.

  • We begin providing service for this part from September 2012, due to popular demand.
  • You may also do this step yourself.

3. (DC Chinese Embassy states only) Authenticated by US Department of State

  • This step is needed only if the document is to be authenticated by the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC.
  • Other consulates, including Houston, do not need this step.

4. Certified by the Chinese consulate.

  • Your document must be authenticated by a Chinese consulate which holds consular jurisdiction over the state which issues your document.

Criminal background check by FBI

1. Obtain original document from FBI

  • According to FBI requirements, you must supply finger prints, thus this step can only be done by yourself.
  • The official FBI web site has detailed instructions on how to get this done.
  • If you apply directly from FBI, it may take 3 months.
  • If you apply through an FBI approved agent (see FBI web site for lists), you can get it in 1-2 weeks.
  • Please note that certificate provided by majority of the authorized agents are NOT valid for US Department of State authentication, so ask before you order, to make sure that what you get will be valid for US Department of State authentication!

2. Authentication at US Department of State

3. Authentication at the Chinese Embassy.

III. Steps to apply for authentication of Criminal Record Check through YWPW

We only accept authentication applications for documents certified by the Secretaries of State Office of Houston consulate and DC Chinese Embassy states

  • Chinese Consulate in Houston covers: AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, OK, TX, PR
  • Chinese Embassy in DC covers: DC, DE, ID, KY, MD, MT, NC, ND, NE, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, WV, WY, federal agencies

If your document is from a state not listed above but you would like to use our service, you may always choose to do an extra step, i.e. authentication by US Department of State (cost $48 extra per document), then the document can authenticated by the Chinese Embassy in DC.

  1. Please fill out the online order form of our agency.
    • For FBI criminal background check, please select "DC" for issuing state.
  2. Print the confirmation page. You order ID, our mailing address, payment information (including credit card payment) and other instructions are shown on the confirmation page.
  3. Mail us the documents listed in the "Documents needed" section below.
  4. Tell us the time and method you mailed your documents, including tracking number, so that we can track the movement of your mail.
  5. Upon receiving your documents, we will check your application, and contact you if there is any issue. We then submit your application to the consulate, pick it up, and mail it back to you.
  6. We update your order status by email and online when we: a). receive your documents; b). submit your application to the consulate; c). pickup and mail back your documents. We usually send emails and update status in the evening hours, but if there is anything goes wrong, we may contact you during the day.

IV. Processing time and fees

  1. The consular authentication step takes about 1 week, and the consular fee is $25 per document.
  2. The US Department of State authentication step also takes about 1 week, and the DOS fee is $8 per document.
  3. The time for the Secretary of State certification step varies, but normally 10-15 days. The SOS fee ranges from $2 to $25 per document.
  4. We charge a service fee ($39.96) per document for each step invloved (volume discount available if more than 2 documents).

V. Documents needed to apply for authentication of crimial record check

  1. One Authentication Application Form. The form must be completed and signed by the applicant.
  2. Photocopy of the applicant's passport (page with name and photo).
  3. If you are not a US citizen, please also provide copy of your current immigration document (e.g. green card, I-20, H1B).
  4. The "original" documents to be authenticated.
  5. The "photocopy" of the documents to be authenticated.
    • If you have already done the Secretary of State authentication, the copy should include the state certification page. Please do NOT take them apart when making copies -- doing so will invalidate the document.
    • When you have multiple documents with the same content, you may not just copy from one document, as the signatures will be different on each copy. We will not be responsible for any dealys if you do not follow this instruction!

VI. Questions and Answers

Question: I have multiple documents, do I need to attach an application form for each document?

Answer: No. No matter how many documents, as long as they all belong to the same applicant, you only need to provide one authentication application form.

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