Correct stamps and obtaining USA and UK police reports - living in Andorra relocation guide

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Correct stamps and obtaining USA and UK police reports

General Information
So you need a document such as a police report from a distant country?
I can advise you through the process of obtaining each and every police report from countries which issue them ( very few do not, North Korea springs to mind). Whether from Iran, China, Seychelles or any other country let me assist and guide you on the police certificate and the legalising process to make your application for residency all that easier. The same applies for marriage or birth certificates, often couples travel to distant romantic foreign beaches for their wedding, well I can get that certificate as well.

Changes to French, Spanish and Portguese Documents
Up until today and under the tripartite agreement with Spain, France and  also Portugal, Immigration and the Goverment had before today accepted all official documents such as police reports and marriage certificates without the need for an Apostille to prove them. That has now changed and from now on ALL documents issued in the above countries MUST be apostillised in the same way as all third countries. I do not know the reason for these changes but be warned!!

Specific Instructions for UK Certificates

Please use this link which is the ACRO form. I recommend you use the premium service which should see it processed in 3-4 days

The ACRO link covers all of the UK including Northen Ireland.

You can apply from overseas, when it asks for proof of residential address it can be any where outside the UK, it is simply to prove that the applicant is who he claims to be. If you do have family or friends in the UK I would advise you use that address and request that upon receipt they send the document to Milton Keynes for Apostille. This is just to save time and postage.

Milton Keynes is the only place in the UK that processes Apostille stamps and it must be done either directly by post, or by using one of the many companies around Milton Keynes to do that for you. Processing time is a matter of days. Please follow this link for instructions:

Please note that Milton Keynes can courier directly to any address overseas and the charges are much cheaper than having the family or friend send it.

For marriage, birth and death certificates from the UK you can order online here:

Please remember that these certificates too need to be Apstillised at Milton Keynes.

List of Hague Convention countries.
I have reproduced this link as a guide from the official Hague Convention website. IF your country is not on that list you will require the Consular Legaisation route as explained below:

Sample Apostille Stamp - click to enlarge
Sample Apostille stamp
General Advice on Apostilles

Each country has its own procedure for issuing certificates and for apostillising them or for legalising them. Whilst I cannot on this website give details and procedures for all countries, I can offer this general advice:-

  • Identify which documents you are going to require for your residency application in your specific circumstances.

  • Find out how these can be obtained by your country‚Äôs authorities and apply.

  • Find out whether your country is a party to the Hague Convention which allows the Apostille stamp to legalise the document for use in Andorra. (See the tables below and find out whether your country is a party to the convention)

  • If your country is a party to the convention, find out who is the issuing authority and how to submit your documents for the Apostille stamp.
  • Ensure your documents are either in English, French, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish (in some but not all cases in German)

IF the documents cannot be obtained in any of these languages they must  either go for OFFICIAL translation and be notarised as such in your country, and then BOTH the original document AND the official notarised translation must be Apostillised. Alternatively the original documents can be Apostillised without a translation but then officially translated in Andorra. The alternative should be used depending on the language and only if it is impossible to obtain notarised translations in your country. These translations done in Andorra may also now require an Apostille from Spain as most translators are based there. I have recently had problems getting Apostilles in Spain so I recommend that this option as a last resort.

All of this may sound complicated but in most cases is quite straight forward and I am here to guide you.

Sample Consular Legalisation Stamp where the red stamp is the Embassy of France in Canada - click to enlarge
Sample Consular Legalisation stamp Canada
Specific Instructions for FBI and USA Certificates (all links correct as at March 2016)

Obtaining the FBI Identity History Summary Check ( FBI Police Certificate)

Immigration requires that if you were either born in the USA, or apply with a USA passport, or sometimes if your last country of residence is the USA, then you will require an FBI police report (now known as an identity history summary check). Please note for the purposes of immigration a State police certificate Apostillised or not Apostillised is not acceptable.

USA citizens and permanent residents can either apply directly to the FBI or may use a system of approved channellers who are authorised to process your fingerprints and documentation on your behalf.

Please note to use a channeller you must be in the USA. However I have now a process to obtain the Apostillised FBI Certificate directly within 7 - 10 days. If you apply directly to the FBI it will take 16 weeks currently. If you are a USA citizen or a Permanent Resident and intend to apply for residency please contact me first, this saves a huge anmount of time.

Fingerprints can be done here in Andorra or at one of the FBI approved finger print agencies with whom I have contact. Otherwise a USDA Embassy or law enforcement agency can assist BUT the prints MUST be of an extremely high quality else they will be rejected again and again. I have also managed to circumvent the requirements at Immigration where prints keep getting rejected.

If you are wanting to do tis yourself and apply directly to the FBI please follow this link and instructions therein:

In all cases before embarking on this all applicants should familiarise themselves by also reading the above link.

Obtaining the Apostille of a Federal document in the USA.

Once you have received back your FBI certificate and they will only send the FBI certificate to an address in America you must then send off the document to be Apostillised at the U.S. Department of State, Authentications Office. Please follow this link:

Once these documents have been obtained and stamped as required it is always best to email them to me for preliminary approval at Immigration here in Andorra. Please remember also that you have 3 months from the date of the FBI police certificate, NOT the date of the Apostille, otherwise you will need to repeat the whole process again to be accepted in Andorra. This is a major reason why you may need to use the system I have set up to get the certificate easily and quickly.

Apostillisation of Marriage Certificates, Birth Certificates, Divorce Certificates and other documents which are required for Andorran Residency from the USA.

All certificates including but not limited to Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Divorce Certificates etc must be apostillised in the State in which they were issued, and do not require to be sent to The Department of State, Authentications Office in Washington.

Once these documents have been obtained and stamped as required it is always best to email them to me for preliminary approval at Immigration here in Andorra. Please remember also that you have  3 months from the date of all certificates ( except birth certificate), NOT the date of the Apostille, otherwise you will need to repeat the whole process again to be accepted in Andorra.

I have contacts in America that can get all and every certificate and get them Apostillised.

If Your Country is not a Party to the Hague Convention

If your country is not a party to the convention you will need to find out which department is responsible for legalising documents for use in other jurisdictions, normally the Department for Foreign Affairs, or Ministry of the Exterior, and then:-

  • The same procedure for translations should be applied as if being Apostillised.

  • After the correct legalising stamp has been appended the documents (and official translations if done) must then be presented to the Embassy of Spain OR France in your country for their stamp to be added. This is a most important additional step not required for Apostilles. The Embassies of Spain and France look after the interests of Andorra overseas, although on some occasions this needs to be explained to them !!

In all cases I recommend to applicants to e-mail me the documents for approval in advance from Immigration. I can also assist with your questions, and please if in any doubt contact me as this is a vital step in your application and if the wrong stamp is applied it WILL be rejected AND you will need to resubmit the documents when corrected.

So What is an Apostille?

All applicants for andorran residency and for work permits will need to present certain documents from their country of residence in support of their application. Immigration will only accept those documents if they bear the correct stamp. Please note that an Apostille stamp or stamps for Legalisation can ONLY be obtained in the country where they are issued, so all this needs to be done before your arrival in Andorra.

In brief some years ago for a document to be legally acceptable in another country involved a process called consular legalisation. Nowadays most countries have signed up to what is called the Hague convention. This convention allows for a prescribed stamp to be issued by the relevant authority within that country and which the receiving country must recognise as being legal.

Unfortunately not all countries are a signatory, most notably Canada, China and various other countries. If you require a document from one of these countries in your process for application for residency then you must go through the consulate legalisation process which is a little bit more complicated but I can guide you through that as well.

If you have any problems whatsoever with identifying the authorities, or you are unclear which circumstances apply to your particular country, please contact me for advice.

Also please note that if you do have a criminal record in any country your application for residency should not be affected. There are  some procedural steps which I can explain. Importantly if you have any criminal conviction whatsoever it does need to be translated into catalan, and that is best done here in Andorra. Please let me know if this applies to you, and often it may be just a speeding fine!
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