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Checking Criminal Records in Germany: German Defence Lawyer

Having a criminal record in Germany can make attempts to come to Europe very difficult. Convictions from the past can have a huge impact on the present and the future. For non-European Union citizens, having a criminal conviction in Germany can be damaging should they seek to live and work in Europe. It can even be damaging for short-term visits. As a full-service law firm, our immigration specialists work with clients seeking to come to Germany regularly. We often assist them in their visa applications, and this often means checking criminal records in Germany.

At Schlun & Elseven Attorneys, our criminal defence lawyers can work with you when it comes to checking German criminal records. Our lawyers are discreet and will provide this service in confidence. We can inform you of what is on your criminal record and how to respond from such findings. Contact us today using our contact form below this article for further information about this service. Our lawyers look forward to working with you.

Checking your criminal record in advance of coming to Germany is crucial.

Our criminal law team will provide you with the comprehensive assistance you deserve

The Criminal Record in Germany

Having a criminal record can make certain actions very difficult when coming to Germany. Availing of a residence permit can be very difficult. Coming to Germany on a short-term visa can also be challenging depending on the offence. It can also lead to arrest upon entry into Germany. See our article on “Immigration to Germany with a Criminal Record” to find out more. As can be seen, there is a good reason for allowing legal professionals to check your criminal record before deciding to come to Germany.

Should you find yourself facing extradition charges, please visit our extradition lawyers page to find our services in this legal area.

A criminal record in Germany may leave a lengthy mark, however not always a permanent one. Should the action in question not have resulted in a prison sentence, placement in preventative detention (§ 66 German Criminal Code) or a psychiatric hospital, the offence may have a time-limit by which it is marked against your name. Depending on the case’s facts, the offence may be removed from against your name after several years. How long that will take depends on the act committed and the level of penalty for committing the act.

INPOL: The German Electronic Police Information System

INPOL is the German police information system, and it has been used since the 1970s. It is an integrated system which allows the German police to update records efficiently and quickly. Once the information has been placed on INPOL, it is available to all others with access to Germany’s system. Those with access include local police authorities, customs officials and the federal police. These groups can check whether an individual has a criminal record in Germany, whether the police want them in Germany, what suspected offence they are wanted for, and whether they are a recognised member of a gang.

This mechanism is designed to aid the police forces with investigation work. However, the amount of personal data used does mean that the system needs to be regularly updated. Should a person not be of interest to the police, their information should be dealt with accordingly. Personal data should be deleted when appropriate from the INPOL system.

Under § 84 BKAG, individuals have the right to check the INPOL system to find out about the police’s data about them. As your lawyer, we can perform that task for you. Once we have your written permission, our legal team can determine whether the data held by INPOL on you is appropriate to the case.

Checking INPOL: Criminal Records in Germany

For our lawyers to work on your behalf to check the INPOL system for you, you as the data subject must give us formal written permission to do so. The information provided by INPOL is sensitive, and therefore they have a responsibility to ensure that the personal data is dealt with responsibly. They will only provide this information to the data subject, or those formally acting on that person’s behalf. Therefore, it needs to be shown that we, as your lawyers are acting on your behalf. For our lawyers to represent you, we will need the following:

  • an informal request for information,
  • a current power of attorney stating the request and signed by the data subject. This will show that we are acting on your behalf,
  • legal copies of a valid identity document,

Once we have these documents, we will be able to access your data, and together we can find out whether you have a criminal record preventing your stay in Germany. Consult with us today, and we can outline our processes in this regard. We will ensure that your data is safe and that we will only act in the manner stated by you.

The Schengen Information System

The Schengen Information System works similarly to the INPOL German system but extends to most countries in Europe. The SIS allows police forces around Europe to cooperate and share information, aiming to make Europe safer. It is a search file in which police forces can enter alerts on particular individuals and objects relating to criminal activity. The alert issued will inform authorities across Europe how to act should they find the individual in question. In practice, having an alert attached to your name can result in you not being issued a Schengen Zone visa.

As the SIS is a common search file, the investigation and case data are not stored. In other words, the criminal file of the suspect is not stored. However, instructions concerning the arrest and freezing of the evidence are kept. Additional information concerning a suspect can be shared by SIS when there has been a hit on the system.

The SIS system is operational in 30 European countries. It includes 26 Member States of the European Union – Ireland and Cyprus are the only exceptions – as well as 4 Schengen states in Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. Therefore, it is vital when planning a trip to the Schengen Zone, including Germany, it is vital to check this system. Once again, our lawyers, with your express permission, can act on your behalf on this matter. Contact us today using the contact form below to find out more about how we can do this for you.

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Practice Group: German Criminal Law

Practice Group:
German Criminal Law

Philipp Busse


Dr. Julius Hagen



Contact a lawyer for German Criminal Law to Check German Criminal Records

Please use contact form to tell us about your criminal record issue. After receiving your request, we will make a short preliminary assessment on the basis of the information provided and give you a cost estimation. You are then free to decide whether you want to instruct our attorneys for criminal law.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, we understand our clients’ need for maximum security when dealing with personal information and confidential records. That is why we offer a specially-operated > secure message and file server with the highest security standards.

You can use this mechanism to send us encrypted files and messages. The contents are encrypted with a password assigned by you, which you must send to us via a third channel.  Depending on the level of security required, you can forward this password to our offices via our contact form, > email, > telephone, or even PGP.

You can also send us the request directly via PGP. However, we recommend using our secure server for sending files. You can download our public key > here. Our fingerprint is: BF 10 9852 679B AFD5 F486 C5C4 E2E4 E9AC CB5E 7FA5.