Background check from birth country needed? (even after having left decades ago)

I’m currently a US citizen and have lived in US for the last 20 years. I understand that for golden visa I need to provide the fbi background check. So far so good.

But the first 20 years of my life I was born and lived in a different country. I no longer live there and have minimal ties to my birth country. Would I also need some sort of criminal background clearance from that country?
It would be logistically complicated (or likely impossible) for me to get this and don’t want to start paying the initial fees/investment if this would be a hard-stop issue.

Any other naturalized US citizens (or those who long time ago lived elsewhere) who applied for golden visa can shed light on if they needed background checks from that country long time ago?


From what I know of if you have lived in any country for more than one year then you need to present the country’s background check certificate and thats too apostilled one.

This comes up quite a lot on these forums - do a search for ‘country of birth’ or similar, and you’ll find a few threads.

The broad consensus seems to be that:

(a) for the main applicant, country of current residence should be enough. Some people have suggested the law is vague, and it might be open to the SEF to ask for a birth-country police check, although I think this is a minority view

(b) for dependents, it’s supposed to be additionally any country where they’ve lived for more than a year. (It’s odd, but the text of the law differs. For main applicants it’s country of origin “or” country of residence; for dependents the word is “and”)

That said, this seems to be at the discretion of the SEF official dealing with your case, and the view may not be consistent through the application process. In my case, my wife (applying as dependent) is a dual national, and in our preliminary application we did not submit a police check for her place of birth, nor were we asked for it. Our lawyer suggested that since she had not lived in her country of birth for 20+ years, the SEF was unlikely to ask for it. When it came to biometrics, we did in fact supply that police check, as it was convenient to obtain it then.

So you may get through the entire process without needing a birth-country police check. Or you might be asked for it before final approval. The odds of being asked for it are much less if you are the main applicant.


You may also want to look up this thread - GV spouse document requirements which deals with the birth certificate and criminal background check and variations in interpretation. A search for the words “Certificado do registo criminal” in the forum is also useful.

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For the GV application and renewals, you don’t need the criminal background check from your birth country if you live in the US----you only need the FBI report. However, you will apparently need it if you apply for PT citizenship.

Do we have any reports in nomadgate of naturalized citizens who had to get birth-country-background when they reached the citizenship stage? I checked the requirements on various Portugese embassy websites and they haven’t mentioned birth-country-background for citizenship (unless its through marriage which it isn’t for us). Admitedly I can’t find the actual legal text around it so maybe someone else knows.

This is what my lawyer in PT told me. You may wish to confirm this with your lawyer.

My partner is naturalised British and applied for the GV as a British citizen. Nevertheless we had to get police certificates from his birth country Brazil at both the original application and the biometrics stages. My understanding is that when we apply for citizenship in around five years time he will need British + Brazilian + every other country he’s had legal residency for more than a year in. Citizenship has a stronger requirement than the GV application.

The good news about the Brazilian certificate is that the lawyers in Lisbon can generate it themselves online so it’s the most trivial document of the lot to get.

@richn4 and your UK-Brazillian partner was the main applicant? Because most other reports here are about only the dependant applicants needing birth country extra background.

Good point. I’m the main applicant. If this distinction makes a difference to the requirement for police certificates from both countries of nationality / country of nationality + country of birth then it really makes no sense and seems like a bit of random rule making to demand a stricter condition on the trailing spouse. But may well be the case.

On a brighter note, he won’t have to take the language test in five years time which will terrorise me when we get to it.

In the fall of 2018 I applied for the D7 visa at Portugal’s Bangkok embassy. Because I’d lived the previous 8 years in Thailand under what many call the ‘retirement visa’, I submitted the background check obtained from the Thai national police. Because I lived the first 56 years of my life in the US of A, I submitted the FBI report just in case the Thai report wasn’t enough. When submitting all the required documents to the embassy employee tasked with reviewing them, I asked if the FBI report was necessary. He said “No, but we like to have it in addition to the Thai police report”. I have no idea how other embassies deal with non-current FBI reports.