Some countries have such checks. Does Germany also check the criminal records of immigrants?

  • 1
    Far as I know, immigrants are checked against an europol database (EUDAC?) and possibly one other database that's mainly for seeing if someone already immigrated. criminal records would depend on wether the immigrant has such a thing in one country that shares data with Germany.
    – mart
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 21:37
  • @mart In some countries, applicants have to secure some sort of extract of their criminal records (in Germany that would be called a Führungszeugnis) themselves to apply for a visa (typically covering a defined period, which can mean that you need to get several such documents depending on where you lived during that period). No data exchange is necessary for that. I guess that's what the question is about.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 22:13
  • Andreas, you could perhaps expand your question a little. Are you thinking about checking whether people have a prior record in Germany? Running their name against international databases (Interpol, SIS, EAW)? Requiring them to submit an extract from their own criminal records when they apply for a visa? All of these? Something else?
    – Relaxed
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 22:15
  • 5
    Australian customs official: "do you have a criminal record?" Reply: "No, I didn't know that was still a requirement". reddit.com/r/Jokes/comments/2mrpvk/…
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 3:30
  • 1
    @Andrew Grimm: Haha, +1, that's a good one ;) Actually America is where Britain originally sent their criminals... started in about 1610.. it wasn't until the start of American Revolution in 1788 that they really started shipping them of to Australia.
    – Quandary
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 12:11

1 Answer 1


Unlike the US, Canada or Australia, I don't think Germany generally requires applicants to submit extracts from their criminal records to apply for a long-term visa or residence permit. I don't know about each and every country but I think it's very common in the Americas, not so much in continental Europe. Belgium does however require such a document, covering the five years immediately preceding the application.

A criminal conviction does not automatically make a person ineligible for a short-stay Schengen visa either and applicants are not routinely asked to disclose it. But visas and/or entry can always be denied on “public security” grounds, i.e. if there are reasons to think you intend to commit other crimes and present a current danger.

I would suspect that an outstanding warrant (including a European arrest warrant) could get you arrested at the border, though. Consulates and border guards definitely have to look for a potential ban in the SIS, at least for non-EU citizens.

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    I don't know about Germany, but in Austria it was required that you provide a confirmation from the police from the country of origin that you haven't broken the law there (when you applied for a long-term visa in the 1990es). That same document (Leumundszeugnis in German) is also required on various occasions (e. g. when you get a driver's license) and this applies both to citizens and foreigners.
    – user4370
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 14:29

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