City, town and village > Procedures > Criminal Record Certificate: How To Prove You Have a Clean Record



Are you planning to move to another country? When you apply for a visa permit to live or work abroad, you may be asked to submit a police certificate for every country you've recently lived in as part of the application process. 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. Keep reading to learn how to request your UK police check.

How to get a police certificate

Do I need a certificate?

Depending on the reason for your stay, you may have to request a criminal record check. Some countries even require a police certificate for holiday purposes. Make sure you check with the local authorities what certificate/s you will need to provide before you submit your application.


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.


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.


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 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 ACRO 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.


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 to get your police clearance certificate as well as 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:


Telephone:+44 (0)2380 479 920

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)

You can also choose to hire their International courier, City Sprint, for an extra £48 for your own peace of mind.

How long is the police check valid for?

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.


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 get a DBS, visit the 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.