Additional guidance for applicants wishing to obtain an International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) for use in ensuring international child protection in schools or similar establishments outside the UK.

Information for Employers

General information about the ICPC

Where can I use the International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC)? 

You can use the ICPC when you are applying to work in a school or organisation outside of the UK where you will be in regular contact with children. The ICPC will detail your criminal record history and/or relevant information from the UK for the employer so that they can assess your suitability. 

Before submitting your application, you should check that your employer will accept the ICPC. Some overseas employers use other UK disclosure services such as the DBS (formerly CRB) or Disclosure Scotland, while others are unable to access these services, however some will still need to use the ICPC.


How will the employer use my certificate? 

The employer will consider the content of the certificate when deciding suitability for entry into the organisation / contact with children as part of your role. You should ask the employer directly if you have any queries as to the criteria considered in their assessment.


I have a criminal record. Will this stop me from working for employers that require an ICPC?

An assessment of your suitability to work with children can only be made by the school or organisation you are applying to, and so you should discuss your criminal record with them directly.

ACRO and NCA-CEOP do not provide advice on an ICPC applicants suitability to work with children.

Why are spent convictions and intelligence information included?

To ensure a robust system is in place so that the welfare of children and young people outside the UK is considered in the same way as within the UK, allowing consistent information to be disclosed globally.


What if there is information about me on other police databases?

The process does involve a check of police databases. If there is any information or intelligence about an applicant on police databases, then NCA-CEOP will make a proportionate assessment of that information based on child protection aims. Any relevant information will be disclosed where deemed appropriate.

 Who produces the ICPC?

The ICPC is produced by ACRO Criminal Records Office (ACRO) in the UK, in conjunction with the National Crime Agency's (NCA).


I am a British National but currently live/ have lived overseas. Will the ICPC cover me for the time I have spent abroad?

We cannot guarantee that all convictions received outside of the UK will be held on UK police databases, and so it is advisable that you obtain a criminal record check from any country where you have spent significant periods of time. The employer will advise you whether a criminal records check is required to cover the time that you have spent in countries outside the UK.


If I move employment will I need to apply for a new ICPC?

It is likely that a new employer will want to see an up-to-date criminal record check. ACRO is only able to guarantee that Certificates are valid on the date of issue, as any convictions obtained after this date would not be shown. The new employer should advise you on what they are prepared to accept as a valid criminal record check.


Can I start work before I have received my Certificate?

This will be at the discretion of the employer.


What is acceptable by way of confirmation from the school or organisation to establish that I am to be employed / registered by them?

We will accept a copy of your contract, an offer of employment on headed paper which has been signed and dated by the school/organisation or an email confirming your registration/employment sent from an official email by the school/organisation you will be working at. If you are still unsure what to provide, please contact ACRO Customer Services.


Can I refuse to apply for the ICPC?

Each organisation will have their own policy on criminal records checks for staff and will be guided by the statutory requirements and/or government recommendations in the country in which they are operating.


I have not yet found a job overseas. Can I still apply for an ICPC in advance?

The certificate can only be issued once a job offer has been made by a school or organisation. It is only relevant to the school or organisation that has requested it, and is not portable. The school or organisation must retain the certificate once you have provided it to them.


How will I know if there is a problem with my application?

Our Customer Service team will send an email to the email address given on the application form in the first instance. If we get no response, we will telephone you. If there is still no response, we will leave a message if possible and/or send a further email. If we still get no response, we will send a letter. Queries can usually be resolved quickly once we are able to contact you, so it is important that you monitor your personal inbox.


Information for Employers


Can I apply for an ICPC on behalf of my staff?

In accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018, applications for the Certificate can only be completed by the individual and Certificates will only be posted to the address requested by the applicant. Please note the certificates cannot be sent directly to the organisation.


As an employer, you will be able to access the Certificate by requesting it from the individual. To encourage your employees to provide this you may wish to make the production of a police check a requirement of pre-employment checks.


A school can post applications on behalf of staff, however the form should be completed and the declaration signed by the applicant themselves. It can only be returned to the applicant directly.


Should I accept an ICPC that the employee obtained in previous employment?

The certificate can only be issued once a job offer has been made by a school or organisation. It is only relevant to the school or organisation that has requested it, and is not portable. As the employer, must retain the certificate once it has been provided by the employee. 


How do I track the progress of a staff members' ICPC application?

You can contact ACRO Customer Services to find out if the certificate has been posted. ACRO will not be able to disclose any information on the certificate by phone to anyone except the applicant.


Do the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) filtering rules apply to the ICPC?

No. The DBS filtering rules determine what information should be disclosed in certificates issued by the DBS for employment purposes under Part V of the Police Act 1997. This applies to vetting for employment in the UK only. 


Does the ICPC guarantee that the applicant is suitable to work with children?

No. An ICPC will always be issued to an applicant regardless of their criminal background. The certificate will provide criminal record information and other relevant information about the applicant and it is up to you, as the employer, to make a risk-based decision about whether that person is suitable to work with children, taking into account the role for which you are recruiting them. 

Further to this, the ICPC can only disclose information that is known by UK law enforcement agencies. The ICPC should be used as one of a range of child protection measures implemented both before and during employment. 


General information about International Child Protection Certificates



You will need to provide one document which clearly shows your name and your current address. This is where you live now and can be outside of the UK. A list of acceptable proofs of address is at the end of the application.

Any proof of address not in English will need to be translated into English.

We do not accept envelopes or hand written documents as proof of your current address.

The paper UK driving licence counterpart is not an acceptable proof of address even if it shows your current address.

Please contact the ACRO Customer Services team if you are still unable to provide sufficient documents to satisfy these requirements.


International PO Boxes 

If you live in a country where all post is delivered to a PO Box, we will accept a document which shows your name and the PO Box as proof of your current address.


We do not accept documents sent to a UK PO Box as proof of your current address. 


BFPO addresses 

If you have a UK forces address (BFPO) then you can provide one proof with your BFPO address on. Alternatively you can provide a letter from your commanding officer to confirm you have a UK forces address.



The ICPC costs £75.00 and will take 12 working days to process.

The 10 days does not include the day we receive it or day we send it out to you.

Saturday, Sunday and UK Bank Holidays are not working days.

The fee charged is for one ICPC and includes postage by 1st class post to a UK address or standard airmail to an address outside the UK. See ‘Delivery options’ for information about paying for alternative postal options including the international courier service.

Delivery options 

Delivery by 1st class post to UK addresses or standard airmail to overseas addresses is included in the fee. Other delivery options are available at additional cost:


Enhanced delivery to a UK address – Next Day Delivery 

The cost for this service is £9 per application.

Delivery will be made by 1pm Monday to Friday only. You will need to sign for the certificate. Delivery to some remote areas of the UK cannot be guaranteed by 1pm.

You can request and pay for enhanced delivery when completing your application.


Enhanced delivery to an address outside the UK 

The cost for this service is £9 per application.

Depending on the delivery address, the certificate will be sent by International Tracked or International Signed for. Please note these services enable you to track your certificate, they do not provide a quicker delivery method.


Courier services 

ACRO does not provide the option of a courier service to UK addresses.


International courier 

This costs £48 per application.

Please note that international courier is not available for PO Boxes (except for the United Arab Emirates and the Cayman Islands).

ACRO uses an international courier company (City Sprint) to deliver certificates. Deliveries are made in accordance with City Sprint’s published timetable and ACRO has no control over when your certificate will be delivered after it has been collected from ACRO. Please visit the City Sprint website for more information about this service.

Please include at least one contact telephone number in the ‘Contact Details’ section of your application form so that the courier company delivering your certificate can contact you about when it will be delivered as you will need to sign for it.

If you have already sent in your application and want to change to an enhanced or courier delivery please contact ACRO Customer Services. Please note that payment can be taken over the telephone.


 Documents you will need to make an application

The same documents are required for both online and postal applications.

To apply online you will need to have a number of documents which you can upload to your application. We suggest you have these ready and in the correct format before making your application. If you apply by post, do not send original documents as they will not be returned.

  • ONE proof of your current address from the list at the end of the application
  • A passport style photograph of yourself which will be used on the Police Certificate
  • Colour copies of your current passport(s)

If applicable a copy of any third party authority such as a Power of Attorney or signed authority for another person to act on your behalf. See also ‘Third party information’

You do not need to send in a copy of your driving licence but it will assist with processing your application if you do.

If you cannot provide all of the relevant documentation your application will be delayed until we have received all the information required to process your request.



Your application needs to be endorsed by someone who has known you for a minimum of two years, is over 18 years of age and is not your partner, a family member or related to you.

Your endorser does not need to live in the same country as you but they must have known you for at least two years.

ACRO may contact your endorser to confirm that they have known you for at least two years and we may also send them a copy of the photograph you provide with your application to confirm that you can be recognized from the photograph. For this reason we recommend that you check with your endorser that they are happy for you to put their name and contact details on your application.

A list of suitable occupations can be found at the end of the application.

If you have any problems providing a suitable endorser please contact ACRO Customer Services.


Information which will appear on the certificate

  • Your full name
  • Any previous names by which you have been known
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Passport details
  • The photograph supplied with your application
  • Your current address
  • Details of any convictions which are disclosed in accordance with the Retention Guidelines - see below (Part 1)
  • Disclosure of any information deemed relevant for disclosure by NCA-CEOP in the interests of child protection (Part 2)


Please note that certificates will contain impending prosecutions and offences that are under investigation. 

The certificate may also contain criminal conviction information about offences committed in other countries where such information has been disclosed to the UK through existing exchange mechanisms. 


Length of time for which a certificate is valid

There is no set period of time for which the ICPC is considered to be valid.

Embassies, High Commissions, consulates or other authorities will usually require you to produce a Police Certificate which has been issued less than six months before your visa interview or travel date.

Some countries will only accept a Police Certificate which is less than one month old. It is your responsibility to check with the relevant authority before making an application.


National Insurance Number (UK)

You will need to provide your UK National Insurance Number on your application. If you do not have a UK National Insurance number please enter ‘Not Applicable’ in this section.


Other types of certificate

ACRO provides Police certificates for immigration and visa purposes for Australia, Belgium,Canada, Cayman Islands, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States of America.

Other countries may request or accept a Police Certificate for visa purposes. It is the responsibility of the applicant to check with the relevant Embassy, High Commission or requesting authority if a Police Certificate will be acceptable.


Certificates of Good Character 

There are no organisations within the UK which offer a certificate of good character or good conduct. If you are being asked to produce a certificate of good character or good conduct you may wish to contact the organisation to check what information is required.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Certificate 

This type of certificate was previously called a CRB check. It is designed for use in the UK for employment purposes and cannot be used for employment overseas in place of an ICPC. It is the responsibility of the applicant to check with the relevant organisation to whether a DBS certificate will be acceptable.

Please note that the DBS and ACRO use different criteria when assessing what information may be disclosed.

An ICPC cannot be used for employment purposes in the UK.

Subject Access Disclosure 

A Subject Access disclosure provides the applicant with the disclosure of information from the Police National Computer (PNC). It will give details of all arrests, convictions, as well as any cautions and NFA (No Further Action) outcomes.


Paying for your certificate

If you apply online you must pay on line at the time you apply. You will not be able to submit your application without making payment. You can pay by credit or debit card.

If you apply by post you will need to send in your payment with the application. You can pay by cheque, postal order or bank transfer. Your payment must be in UK Pounds Sterling and made payable to 'PCC for Hampshire'. No other payee details will be accepted.

Payment by bank transfer must be made through your bank and the bank may charge you for this service. Please ensure the amount paid to ACRO is in UK Pounds Sterling and is for the full amount required to pay for your Police Certificate.

If you are sending your application in by post and cannot pay by cheque, postal order or bank transfer, please contact the ACRO Customer Services team. Please do not send cash.



The photograph you send in with your application will be used on your ICPC. Please ensure it meets the criteria shown on the application form.



If you complete your application online you will receive on-screen confirmation that your payment has been successful, which you can print for your records. ACRO does not issue receipts for online applications.

You will not receive a receipt for a postal application unless you specifically request one when you send in your application. If you do request a receipt, this will be sent to you by email once your payment has cleared.


Retention Guidelines 

The information disclosed on a Police Certificate is subject to the ‘Step Down Model’ as set out in the Retention Guidelines for Nominal Records on the Police National Computer.


Security features


All certificates contain a number of security features to prevent fraud and unauthorized production or copying.


Certificates are only issued in hard copy and never sent electronically.

If you have any concerns about the authenticity of a Certificate please contact ACRO Customer Services.


Third parties


If you want someone other than you to deal with your application on your behalf, you must provide written consent. See Section 8 of the application form. If you decide after sending in your application form that you would like someone to be able to deal with any issues for you, you must provide written consent. Please contact ACRO Customer Services for more information.

If you are completing the application on behalf of the applicant, their written consent must be included with the application.

Any Power of Attorney documentation must be sent in with the application.


After you've applied

ACRO Customer Services may need to contact you if there is a query with your application.

To avoid unnecessary delays, please ensure you provide accurate contact details including daytime and evening telephone numbers and an email address.

If you want to change any of the details on your application, pay for additional copies or change the delivery details, please contact ACRO Customer Services by telephone or email.


Concerns and disputes

Concerns or disputes regarding the ICPC should be made to the ACRO Customer Services department via email to or by letter to ACRO, PO Box 481, Fareham, Hampshire, PO14 9FS, (UK). We will endeavour to acknowledge your concern within two working days of receipt and we will endeavour to resolve your concern within 28 days. 

ACRO will manage disputes regarding part 1 of the certificate. ACRO will not be held responsible for errors on records held on national police systems. If you do not agree with the information on your certificate, ACRO will verify that the disclosure is an accurate reflection of (a) the information provided on the application, and (b) the information held on national police systems. If you would like to dispute the information held on the national police systems, ACRO will refer to the relevant data owner (usually the police force or agency that created the record). 

NCA-CEOP will facilitate the appeals process for disputed information for part 2 of the certificate. ACRO will inform NCA-CEOP of your dispute and NCA-CEOP will write to you (by email via ACRO) asking if there is any additional information in relation to your application that you wish to provide to the appeal panel. This letter may identify specific areas and include an invitation to provide further clarity. 

Following this you can make written representations to the panel. This may include further detail regarding information provided in your application, information relating to any incident that you believe may be relevant and/or any other information that you would like the panel to consider.

A panel will be convened consisting of at least three individuals all of whom were not involved in the initial decision-making regarding your ICPC application. It will be chaired by a NCA Deputy Director and will include senior level representation from the NCA safeguarding team. 

The panel will review the evidence and information provided and may decide to issue a certificate without any information included in part 2, to re-issue a certificate with an amendment to the information originally included in part 2 or to uphold the original certificate issued.