Visitors and Persons desirous of taking up employment/residence in a number of Countries are expected to be of good character and will be assessed against the character requirements. Requirements usually include a police clearance certificate to satisfy the character requirements.

How character is assessed

You will not pass the character test if you have a substantial criminal record, meaning you have been sentenced or convicted of a criminal offence. A suspended sentence is considered a prison sentence.

Obtaining a Police Clearance Certificate

Police certificates are also known as a Police clearance/character certificate in Nigeria. The process is carried out by the criminal records department of the Nigerian Police. The process involves taking the applicant's finger prints and checking the police data base. After the search has been carried out, a police clearance certificate is issued.

Validity of Police Clearance Certificate

For immigration purposes a police certificate is deemed to be valid for 3 months from the issue date.

How do I obtain a Police Certificate?

Famsville is able to assist with the document services needs of clients. Our role is to ensure a hassle free and efficient process For assistance on these services, we recommend you send an email to

Document Authentication and Legalization – Nigeria


It is not unusual for foreign embassies and consulates to request that documents are to be translated, notarized, and or authenticated/legalized.

Documents issued by local government councils, State and Federal Government Ministries, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, educational certificates, police character certificates are expected to pass through the authentication and legalization process.

Steps: Birth Certificate, Police Character certificate, Marriage Certificate:

  • It is a strict requirement that all documents must be notarized by a Notary public;
  • Authenticated at Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and then
  • Legalized at the embassy.

Steps: Educational Certificates:

  • The documents will be notarized by a Notary public;
  • Authenticated at the Ministry of Education;
  • Authenticated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and
  • Legalized at the embassy.

Processing Times: 1-2 weeks upon receipt of original documents.

Business Impact: foreign nationals, dependents, expats, Business visitors, investors

Originally published October 31, 2018

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.