For Americans living in Portugal already; how to procure apostilled documents?

Has anyone had to obtain things like the FBI background check from inside Portugal? It seems I may need to refresh some documents for my wife.

Within the states it was easy enough to get your fingerprints taken at the post office, then mail the resulting thing to the state department for apostille.

But a lot of these types of documents expect to mail you back the results to an American address, sometimes with you having provided the postal stamp for the return mailing. (This was true of some state level documents in California).

So does anyone have experience or recommendations with how to handle those kinds of things from within PT? Will the FBI, state department, etc actually send the documents internationally without a huge hassle?

Edit; and has anyone had their ink fingerprints taken in PT, on ink, on one of those forms the FBI wants?

This question was addressed in the main Apostille thread from 2021.
Apostille and document preparation for US GV investors - Residencies & citizenships / Portugal Golden Visa :portugal: - Nomad Gate Community
Thomas mentioned about creating wikis would would be helpful in cases like this but it takes people interested in the topic to compile the information.

Thanks, but the thread you linked is huge, and most of the discussion seems to be about the document requirements and getting documents apostilled while still in the USA.

I am looking for input specifically about collecting fingerprints locally in Portugal and the mechanics of international postage for correspondence originating from US government agencies. As the whole thread is about doing it from your home country, there didn’t seem to be anything answering this question when I skimmed through.

I went to that thread, searched “abroad” and found this post, which seems to give a detailed breakdown of getting an apostille from abroad, both in terms of fingerprints and US mailing addresses: Apostille and document preparation for US GV investors - #299 by halekao


Hi there. Just wanted to let you know that I sent a detailed reply on how to get the prints when in Portugal, but it’s awaiting mod approval, since I have some links and contact info in the reply. You should see it as soon as they have reviewed it.

Also, to address your earlier question, once you have sent your prints obtained in Portugal (detailed in the pending response) back to the FBI for their review, the post that was linked earlier by @mecht3ach then kicks in… you can then upload the record via Monument’s onlone service and the remainder of the process is exactly the same as detailed there.

The FBI will not send the record to DOS for Apostille and DOS will not send the Apostilled document abroad, they will only send to a US address, using USPS. This is why we used Monument, since they will handle all of that for you and once they receive the Apostilled document they can send it directly to you or your lawyer here in Portugal for submission after translating.

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Thanks a lot @halekao. So it sounds like the solution to this question is one of the channellers like Monument so as to keep all the intermediate mailings inside the US, then. Thanks very much for the reply and the detailed post in the other thread!

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Hi sj-to-pt:

Yes there is a way to get fingerprints when physically in Portugal. We had to do this when it was time to renew our criminal records prior to biometrics because they had expired by that time.

There is a place called the US COOP located at the US Embassy in Lisbon. You need to schedule the print appointment in advance (when we did it in 2021 there was a 3 week lead time). The (one) person that does this there at the embassy only works 1 day a week (at least that was the case when we did it), and so it might be awhile to get in.

They do not do digital prints, only ink. They have the required fingerprint cards there. They will do two full sets of prints, but you can pay a bit extra for a couple of additional sets, if you are like me and have trouble getting good sets that the FBI will accept.

Once you get your hard card with the prints, you then can send them via express carrier (FedEx, DHL, etc.) directly to the FBI for approval. It’s important to clarify on your shipping forms that you are just sending legal documents when sending to the FBI, otherwise it can get held up in customs.

Also, since the 90-day validity date on the criminal record starts the moment the record is issued NOT when the Apostille is issued, I recommend, getting the prints BEfORE actually asking for the criminal record online. This will avoid wasting weeks of time on the ticking clock for the criminal record validity. You can then have everything prepared to immediately put it all in the express mail to FBI as soon as you get your criminal record case number by email. You need to include a printout of that email with the hard copy prints anyway.

Here is the link with info on the US COOP that does the prints (about halfway down on this page). Technical Difficulties

It does not provide the contact info to schedule an appointment, unfortunately and the numbers in the previous sections on the page don’t get you to the right place. I am pasting below the contact info we had in July of 2021. I can’t guarantee that the info is still valid, but it’s a start.

Ana Margarida Gomes
CO-OP Manager
Embaixada dos EUA
Tel. 351-217702378
Cell 351-918786736

I hope this helps. If you find my somewhat dated info is no longer accurate, it would be appreciated if you would post an update here so we can update our records.



You bet. Always happy to share what we have learned… paying it forward; we have learned a lot ourselves from this community. Good luck! :grinning:

Oh and another hint for dealing with prints when you are outside the US:

If you are physically in the US, but plan on being out of the country for an extended period of time and know in advance that you may need to update your criminal record while you are gone, get HARD COPiES (does not work with digital copies) of your prints done while you are still in the US. Then give those sets of prints, along with a 8.5x11-sized mailing envelope, to someone that you know and trust before you leave the country.

When it’s time to update your criminal record, apply for it online as normal (can be done from most anywhere in the world). Then as soon as you get your case number, forward the email with your case number to your fingerprint caregiver to print and include in the envelope, along with a pre-printed express mail shipping label to the FBI (strongly recommend you use a service that provides a tracking number). Then have your caregiver mail the hard copies they have been holding for you directly to the FBI.

We have started doing this any time we are going abroad and think we may need to update our record (previously it was required for renewals), and it worked brilliantly! My husband’s brother has started doing it as well, and has had no issues with prints dated months prior to the criminal record report.

Thank you @halekao, this is exceptionally helpful.

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