Ask any expat what their least favourite part of living abroad is, and it’s likely you’ll be told that it’s the visa application and seemingly endless paperwork, the loops you have to jump through to get them, and the frustratingly long application processes.Sometimes, the lack of clear information about these matters make the confusion and frustration even worse than it has to be! That’s why we’ve created this article, which should explain everything you need to know about the ID card and police certificate and how you can apply for them.
Which Documents Do I Need?
A national identification card is a form of ID issued to citizens and eligible residents in Trinidad and Tobago as electoral identification. You need this to be able to vote, plus it is a preferred form of ID in the country for other purposes. This is not to say that you can’t use other forms of ID if you are not eligible for an ID card, but it may make processes a bit lengthier until the point where you can apply for one.
A ‘police certificate’ in Trinidad and Tobago refers to the police certificate of character, which is an official document issued by the police force. The certificate states whether you have any previous convictions in the country. Most employers in Trinidad and Tobago will want to see a clean police certificate, with no former convictions. Even if you have not previously lived in the country, for legal and HR purposes, employers may still request this certificate.
How To Apply
According to the government website, in order to be eligible for an ID card in Trinidad and Tobago, you must be:
“A citizen of Trinidad and Tobago who is 15 years of age or older OR a commonwealth citizen 15 years of age or older, who has resided legally in Trinidad and Tobago for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the application.”
For non-commonwealth citizens eligibility is stated as:
“A non-commonwealth citizen, 15 years and over, resident in Trinidad and Tobago for a continuous period of five years.”
You will need to apply in person at your local registration area office; you can find your nearest one by contacting the elections and boundaries commission.
You can have your photograph taken when you are completing your application, or you can take some passport-sized photos with you. Other documents you will need are:
– Your original birth certificate
– Your passport (with appropriate validity) and a photocopy of the identification page of your passport
– If your name is different to that on your birth certificate, you may also need a copy of your marriage certificate, or a copy of the deed poll certificate if you changed your name
– The processing fee in cash if you are renewing or replacing your ID card (your first application is free)
After you have made your application, a field check will be conducted to ensure that all the information you have provided is accurate. After this, you can expect to receive your ID card within four to six weeks of making the application. Usually, you will receive an alert and will need to go in person to collect the ID card.
Eligibility for the police certificate is stated as follows:
“Any person nine years old or older who has lived or is living in Trinidad and Tobago can apply for a police certificate of character.”
You should be able to apply for the certificate from any police station in the country. All you need to do is go to a local police station with the appropriate ID. Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago must present a valid ID card, driver’s permit or passport. For non-nationals, you will need to present a valid foreign passport.
You can make an application from outside Trinidad and Tobago through an accepted representative or via mail to the police service. Prior to application, you will need to have your fingerprints recorded and certified by an authorised officer in the country where you are currently residing. You must attach several documents to the fingerprint slip such as:
– Photocopy of valid passport
– A recent passport sized photograph of yourself
– Notes of your passport number and expiration date
– Your date of birth and signature
– Required processing fee of $50
Send these documents to an authorised representative or to the police headquarters, at:
Office of the Senior Superintendent
Criminal Investigations Department and Criminal Records Office
Corner St. Vincent and Sackville Streets
Port of Spain
Trinidad, West Indies
For further information and clarification, you can also contact the Fingerprint Department at the Police Administration Building at:
Trinidad and Tobago Police Service
Police Administration Building
Corner of Sackville & Edward Streets
Port of Spain
Trinidad, West Indies
Tel. (868) 627-4140
Fax. (868) 623-2620
Office hours: 8:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, except public holidays
We hope this guide has helped with everything you need to know about these two documents, whether you are eligible, and how you can apply for them. We wish you the best on your expat journey, and hope you will be very happy in your new home.
Have you lived in Trinidad & Tobago? Share your experience in the comments below, or answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!