For any Panama residency application, the Panama immigration department requires the applicant to provide an authenticated criminal history report issued by a “federal”, “central”, or “national” police force or criminal investigation authority. In the past, Panama immigration used to accept local police criminal history reports from county sheriffs, city police, and constables, however, they now require the criminal reports to be issued by the national investigative authority of the country of citizenship of the applicant, or the country where the applicant has been a resident of for the previous 5 years. This means that the Panama immigration office requires an applicant’s criminal history covering the entire country in which he or she is from, and the document must be authenticated by Apostille or by the Panamanian consulate in that country. Here is a list of Panama Consulates Worldwide.
In the U.S. this would be the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In Canada it would be the Royal Canadian Mounties (RCMP). In England, it would be The Association of Chief Police Officers.
The criminal history records that do not have an expiration date will be valid for 3 months from the date of issue for immigration purposes.
For U.S. citizens, the FBI publishes an online Checklist for requesting a criminal background check at: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks/fbi-identification-record-request-checklist
A U.S. citizen needs to complete an application form, attach prints to their fingerprint card, send a cashier’s check, money order or make a credit card (using their form) payment of $18 and include your contact information.
The application can be downloaded and printed from this web page after answering a question regarding the purpose for the form such as “To live, work, or travel in a foreign country”.: https://forms.fbi.gov/departmental-order-website-questionnaire
A FBI standard fingerprints card can be downloaded and printed from this FBI web page: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks/standard-fingerprint-form-fd-258
The FBI does not require a specific authorized fingerprint applier and suggests local police and even printing companies to do this.
Panama immigration will require the national criminal history report to be authenticated by Apostille which is an internationally recognized government agency authentification of its issued documents by attaching certain seals to the document. A request to have the report Apostilled must be made when applying for the FBI report. The alternative to an Apostille is to have the document authenticated by any Panamanian Consulate in the USA. Here is a list of Panama Consulates Worldwide.
Canadians will need to visit the RCMP website providing all of the information on obtaining a full criminal history report at: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cr-cj/fing-empr2-eng.htm
While a full fingerprints form is required, the RCMP does not provide one online. However, their website states that they will accept:
• The RCMP accepts fingerprint forms from foreign countries that contain the following:
◦ Flat and rolled impressions of all ten fingers taken with black ink
◦ Full name, sex, and date of birth of the applicant
◦ The name and address of the police organization taking the fingerprints
◦ The signature of the police official who took the fingerprints
This means that the RCMP will accept the FBI fingerprints form which can be downloaded and printed from the FBI’s website at: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks/standard-fingerprint-form-fd-258
Any police force offering fingerprinting services will be acceptable to the RCMP. The Canadian embassy or consulates will not provide this service.
The RCMP processing fee is $25 CAN or USD equivalent per record requested. Payment must be made by certified cheque or money order to the Receiver General for Canada.
RCMP predicts a 4 week processing time.
Authentication by Apostille or Panamanian Consulate is required by Panama immigration. Canada does not offer the Apostille, so the only option is to authenticate the criminal history report through any Panamanian Consulate in Canada. Here is a list of Panama Consulates Worldwide.
Citizens of England
There is no national police force in England. MI5 while being equivalent to the U.S. FBI, does not provide criminal history checks. The Australian government found a solution to how an English citizen applying for residency in Australia can meet the national criminal history background check.
The Association of Chief Police Officers in the United Kingdom can prepare a criminal history report covering the entire UK. The fee for a Standard Service is 35 GBP (10 working days) while a Premium Service (2 working days) costs 70 GBP. They accept payment by UK Cheque, UK Postal Order, or a Banker’s Draft made out to “HPA” only in GBP. International courier is available for an additional 65 GBP.
The applications can be processed with the following documents:
1. Completed application form;
2. Two proofs of current address dated within the last 6 months showing your name and address.
3. Copy of passport including photo and personal information pages;
4. One colour passport photo; and
Their website which contains a downloaded and printable Application Form and additional information is: http://www.acro.police.uk/police_certificates.aspx
The criminal history report needs to be authenticated by Apostille or by any Panamanian Consulate in England. Here is a list of Panama Consulates Worldwide.
Citizens of Spain
Spanish citizens have two options for obtaining their criminal history records:
1. They can sign up to deal with Spain’s Ministry of Justice electronically and do everything by internet by visiting this web page: https://sede.mjusticia.gob.es/cs/Satellite/Sede/en/1215197869883/DetalleInicio.html
2. To download an application (Form 790) which can be taken to the following locations:
• The Regional Offices of the Ministry of Justice.
• Civil Registers throughout Spain.
• In Madrid, in the Central Office of Citizen Services.
You must visit this website: http://www.mjusticia.gob.es/cs/Satellite/en/1200666550200/Tramite_C/1215326258560/Detalle.html
You will need proof of your identity like current DNI, driver’s license, residency card, passport, or EU identity document.
3rd Party Representation: If using another person to apply for you, that person will need to bring original or certified copy of a valid ID of the applicant, and original or certified copy of the authorization of representation like a Power of Attorney.
Fee: The application fee is 3.58 Euros. Payment of the fee can be made in Spain. If made outside of Spain either to a Spanish financial company or by bank wire transfer by the IBAN system. The Ministry of Justice bank information and codes are provided on this website.
Apostille is required by Panama immigration to authenticate documents issued by foreign government agencies. The Criminal Record Certificate can be Apostilled if requested when making the application. Apostille is an internationally recognized government agency authentification of its issued documents by attaching certain seals to the document. Otherwise, you can authenticate the criminal history report through any Panamanian Consulate in Spain. Here is a list of Panama Consulates Worldwide.