City, town and village /procedures » How to Obtain a Police Certificate in the UK

WHAT IS A POLICE CERTIFICATE?

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Are you planning to move to another country? If you need to apply for a visa permit to live or work abroad, there’s a high chance you’ll be asked to submit a police certificate as part of the application. This is a document issued by the Criminal Records Office (ACRO) which states whether you have criminal convictions in the UK. Some countries request the police certificate as proof that you haven’t committed any crimes before they issue your visa permit to enter or stay in their country.

Depending on the reason for your stay, you may have to request a different certificate. For example, some countries may also request a Police Certificate for Holiday Purposes. Make sure to check with the local authorities what certificate/s you will need to provide before you submit your application.

Now, let’s find out how to obtain your police certificate in the UK. Learn about the certificate’s cost, processing times, and validity here.


WHO CAN APPLY FOR IT?

Anyone who has lived or worked in the country under a valid visa permit can request a police certificate. The application is personal, which means that as rule only the individual named on the application can apply for it.

However, it is possible for a third party to request a certificate on someone else’s behalf under certain conditions. They’ll need to show a signed letter of authorization from that person and proof of identity.


HOW CAN I REQUEST A POLICE CERTIFICATE?

You can choose to apply:


  • Online. If you have a valid email address, the easiest and fastest way is to apply online. You will upload your supporting documents as part of the application and pay online too. Documents must be in JPG, GIF, TIF or PDF format and weigh less than 2MB.

  • By post. You must send the completed application form and colour copies of the required documentation to the address indicated on the form. You can pay by cheque, postal order, or bank transfer.


WHAT DOCUMENTATION DO I NEED TO SUBMIT?

Before you apply, make sure you have the following documentation ready:


  • Proof of identity. You can submit colour copies of any of the following documents:

  • - Driving licence

  • - Passport

  • - A National ID card

  • Proof of current address. You may use a bank statement, a utility bill, or a driving licence among others. For a complete list of the accepted documents as proof of address follow this link.

  • Address history. You must provide the address(es) you’ve live in for the past 10 years, including the dates you’ve lived there for.

  • Your endorser’s details. They will help to confirm your identity. They must have known you for 2 years and be over 18. You must submit your endorser’s full name, occupation, relationship to you, a telephone number, and their email address. They mustn’t be related to you. They need to be employed under one of the listed occupations. You can check the full list here.

  • A recent passport style photograph

  • Your National Insurance Number (NIN) if you have one.


Please note: any documentation that is not in English must be translated.

COST AND PROCESSING TIMES

Police certificate cost and processing times

If you apply online, fees are paid as part of the application by credit or debit card. However, this may change depending on what country you are applying from. If you are applying from Algeria, Argentina, Belarus, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Nigeria, The Philippines, Romania, Russian Federation and Ukraine, you must use the postal application service and make all payments by bank transfer.

In the table below, you can check how much you will have to pay and the estimated processing times:



Type of Application Fee Processing time
Standard Application £55 12 working days
Premium Application £95 4 working days

You can also request extra copies as part of your application or up to 3 months after your certificate is issued. You will have to pay £6 per copy. If you ask for a copy after you’ve received your certificate, you’ll need to contact ACRO’s customer service:


ACRO

Telephone:+44 (0)2380 479 920

Email:customer.services@acro.pnn.police.uk

Monday to Friday (from 7.30am to 7.30pm UK time)


As part of the application, you may also choose to pay an extra £9 for either of these:


  • An Enhanced Next Day Delivery to a UK address

  • An Enhanced delivery to an address outside the UK (to allow you to track your certificate, not to speed it up)


Please note:there’s also the option of hiring their International courier, City Sprint, for an extra £48.

VALIDITY

Although the police certificate has no expiration date, most countries will request that it should be issued less than six months before your visa interview or travel date. Some even request it to be less than a month old. This is done to make sure your details are up to date. Make sure you check the requirements with the relevant authority.


OTHER IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS

Police certificates are not intended to gain employment within the UK. If that’s what you need, apply online for a Basic Disclosure (DBS) instead. Unless you are self-employed, the employer usually pays for it. For more information on how to apply for a DBS, visit the gov.uk webpage.

Some countries may accept a DBS instead of a police certificate. Check with the relevant authorities before making your application.

• You can make a subject access request to the ACRO Criminal Records Office (ACRO) if you want to check what information the government holds about you. You can learn details about your employment history, tax paid, benefits, arrests, convictions, and NFA (No Further Action) outcomes, among others. This cannot be used for immigration or employment purposes.