Criminal Record Checks in Turkey
Each provincial capital, and some smaller cities and towns, have a law building, called an adalet sarayı, (literally translated "justice palace") or adliye. This building contains most of the local government legal offices, and court rooms. And it contains the office where you need to go to get your criminal record.
In some smaller cities and towns, the office you need may be in the emniyet müdürlüğü, (security directorate), which is kind of a main police station.
In the adalet sarayı or emniyet müdürlüğü, look for a placard (usually just inside the entrance) which says "Sabıka Kaydı," or criminal record, or ask the guard where this office is.
Give the clerk your passport and your current residence permit. If it's for a residence permit, tell him "ikamet." It might take 15 or 20 minutes for them to produce the paper.
Criminal records checks for residence permits are free, but for other reasons, like for a driving license, you will need to pay a small fee. Either there will be a fee-payment window or desk in the same room, or you will need to go to the vezne (cashier) in the same building to pay this fee bring the fee receipt back to the clerk, who will give you your criminal record check document.
Criminal Record Checks in Other Countries
If you have been living in Turkey for less than five years, you may be asked for a criminal record check document from your home country. Even if you have lived in Turkey for more than five years, you may still be asked to provide one.
Each country (and each state in the USA) has different procedures for obtaining a criminal record check. The best way to learn the procedure is to find the main government website and search if for "criminal record." To be sure you are on the official website, make sure it has a ".gov" in the suffix, such as "www.arizona.gov" or "www.gov.uk."
Note: Criminal records checks from other countries can take a long time to be processed and mailed to you. It is a good idea to apply for one as early as possible.
The Apostille, or Legalization of the Criminal Record
For official records from other countries, such as criminal record checks, the Turkish government requires an apostille. An Apostille is a separate document which certifies that the document actually came from the government office which issued it.
You cannot get a document apostilled at an embassy or consulate in Turkey. It must be done in the country from which you are getting the document.
Some governments offer an apostille service in addition to providing the document, just by paying an additional fee. This is ideal, since the document can be created, apostilled, then sent to you with the least expense in time and money. You can find out if your government offers the service on their website.
Some governments, including state governments in the USA, don't offer an apostille service. This will require you go employ a private, government-certified apostille company.
Once you receive the apostilled criminal record check, it must be translated by an official, sworn Turkish translator. Then the translation must be notarized.
What To Do if Your Government Doesn't Provide the Apostille
Typically, this will involve the government office sending the criminal record check to you in Turkey, then you sending it to an apostille service, then them providing the apostille and sending it back to you. But there may be an easier and cheaper way.
Use a search engine to find a certified company which can provide apostilles. Simply search using a phrase like "arizona apostille," substituting "arizona" for the place where the government office is which will be providing your criminal record check. Contact them to see if you can have the government office send the document directly to them.
Then ask the government office who will be providing your criminal record check to send the document to the apostille service. This way, you can save the expense of sending the document to Turkey twice.
State Governments in the USA May Require Your Presence
Some US state governments will require you to submit a fingerprint card before they do a criminal record check. If that is the case, you will have to physically go there and submit your fingerprints in person. Unfortunately, this can't be done at the US embassy or any consulate in Turkey. Contact your state government officials to learn their procedure.
Questions or Comments?
If you have any questions or comments about residence permits, or about these articles, please post them in one of our residence permit forums.
UK Criminal Records Checks for Overseas Applicants: From the UK government, explains how UK citizens can get a criminal record check while overseas.
ACRO Criminal Records Office, UK: The place where you can get a criminal records check certificate in the United Kingdom.
Criminal Records Checks for US Citizens: From the US Department of State, information about how you can obtain a criminal record certificate from the US.
Authentications and Apostilles for US Citizens