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China Z visa question: Background check


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10 years ago I got pulled over and charged with:

Driving on expired license: Misdemeanor
Expired registration: infraction
No proof of insurance: infraction

The misdemeanor was reduced to an infraction.

Because they are just traffic infractions, which are considered very minor offenses: they all fell off of my record after a few years.

I currently have zero criminal record by U.S. standards

The issue: It still shows I was charged with the above crimes

So although I technically do not have a criminal record for convictions, It still shows I was charged.

This was the only time I was ever charged with anything and since then (10 years) I have had nothing but good behavior.

Do you think this will prevent me from getting a Z visa to teach English in China?

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I don't think I can =/   When you are arrested it shows forever, unless you can prove you were innocent.  Sad thing is if this happened today I would not even have been arrested as the law is different now.

I don't have convictions but the charges from the arrest that night show like that.

I was hoping because it was 10 years ago and it's just traffic stuff that they would not care. Would asking the Chinese embassy give me more clarification?

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In many jurisdictions, it is possible to have non-criminal and non-conviction information purged from your record.  There may also be different levels of detail depending on the type of background check required/requested: A Criminal Record Check / Clearance Letter would likely omit all but criminal convictions etc., and is probably sufficient for immigration purposes, while a Vulnerable Sector Screening may include some relevant non-conviction information.  The specifics of whether the purging/omission of such non-conviction information is possible and the exact process will depend on where you live, and may even depend on the policies of the police force in question.


This has become a significant political issue in Canada, for example, due to the number of cases where non-criminal, non-conviction, and in some cases even mental health medical information (e.g. where 911 was called for mental health reasons, but where no crime was even alleged let alone charged/convicted) was being used be United States border agents when assessing denying entry.  Thankfully, the public saw this as a gross violation of personal privacy, with negligible security benefit, leading some provinces to make the cross-border/inter-jurisdictional sharing of information illegal and to create processes for on-request/automatic purges of non-conviction and even pardoned criminal conviction information.


I doubt this is all that reassuring, as if U.S. immigration would reject entry based on such information China certainly could as well; however, with any luck your jurisdiction has available some of the options listed above.


Good luck!

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@valetudo -- You need the help of a good lawyer to help clean up your record.Think of it as a prudent investment in your future, amortized over the next 50 years. It would be a pity to have something so minor mess up your future. Would be very nice to no longer have to worry about it resurfacing every time you apply for a new job. 


BTW, welcome to the forum. Hope you stick around and find other areas here to be useful. 

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I was hoping because it was 10 years ago and it's just traffic stuff that they would not care. Would asking the Chinese embassy give me more clarification?


The embassy has nothing to do with it and wouldn't have an answer. SAFEA in the city were you'll be employed makes the decision on this.

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I have a few minor traffic offenses from 10 years ago.

They are the most minor traffic infractions, not misdemeanor or felony, and no DUI.

Normally these type of minor traffic tickets fall off of your record after 7 years, and my convictions did fall off - but the charges for the infractions still show.  I am told the law was different at this time and today it would not be an issue.

Will this prevent me from getting a Z working visa? How strict are they?

I have read that minor traffic offenses are ok, but that was just one source. I'd like to hear your opinions.

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I needed a background check for my visa a few years ago when they just changed the rules requiring one.


I called up my local court house (Michigan), and they were really confused saying they can't show my clean record if I don't have a record. They eventually put me in touch with I think my Sheriff's department that said they can 'notorize' or stamp a letter showing my clean record (they have their own template).


It ended up having the verbiage I had no record for my specific hometown (not county, state, or federal). The Chinese consulate accepted it, but not sure how strict they are now. Just an option if someone is worried about minor traffic tickets causing a snag, but not sure if I'd recommend that for more serious stuff.

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