Obtaining a Police Certificate when you need to use it to work or study abroad can be a time-consuming process, but understanding the process can make it easier to understand why you need to use a professional legal firm. The information on this page will help you better understand what a Police Certificate for the UK is and how you can go about obtaining yours.
What is a UK Police Certificate?
As a UK citizen, you have the right to request a copy of any record that the police have about you. This is also referred to as a “subject access request.” More often than not, foreign countries will request that you submit these documents when applying for a work or residency visa.
The subject access request holds records that include details from police forces in England, Wales, Northern Ireland Jersey, and the Isle of Man and well as the British Transport Police. Applications for a subject access request are logged with the ACRO Criminal Records Office, although the process does differ if you need to request records from Scotland.
Police Certificates for Visa Applications
You can request a police certificate from ACRO if you are applying for a visa or emigrating to a country such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa or the USA.
ACRO is responsible for issuing Police Certificates for individuals that wish to emigrate or obtain visas for the countries mentioned above. The certificate details whether or not the applicant has a criminal record in the United Kingdom and is generally required as part of the visa application process by the respective high commission or embassy.
The UK Police Certificate can also include information on foreign criminal history if it has been disclosed in the UK. Although the UK Police Certificate details any criminal history within the UK, it does not apply to Scottish convictions. The certificate also includes any impending prosecutions and offences that are still under investigation.
How long is a Police Certificate valid for?
There is no set period of time for which the Police Certificate is considered to be valid. In most cases, embassies, high commissions, consulates and other authorities will require Police Certificates and other vital documents such as Full Birth Certificates to be dated at less than six months before your visa interview or travel date. Some countries only accept Police Certificates that are no more than one month old. Keep in mind that it will always be your individual responsibility to check with the relevant authority before making an application.