Police Certificates

 

Additional guidance for applicants wishing to obtain a Police Certificate for immigration purposes

 

 

General Information about Police Certificates


How to apply
You can apply online or by post.
We do not accept applications by email or fax.
We can only accept and process applications which are made on the ACRO Police Certificate application form. Please check the website to make sure you are completing the most recent version of the application form as older versions may be rejected.


Who can apply for a Police Certificate
Police Certificates are issued individually to the person named on the application.
You cannot send in one application to cover, for example, all family members.

Anyone who has lived or worked in the UK can apply for a Police Certificate.
Please note that some immigration authorities may require confirmation that you have no convictions in the UK and will request a Police Certificate for this reason.

If you have any questions about whether you need a Police Certificate please contact the relevant embassy or High Commission as each has its own regulations and requirements.


General Information about Police Certificates

Addresses
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 the UK. Click on this link to see a list of acceptable proofs of address.

 

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.


Cost
The fee charged is for one Police Certificate 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.

Standard Application
This costs £55 and will take 12 working days to process..
Saturday, Sunday and UK Bank Holidays are not working days.
Please also allow reasonable time for delivery of the certificate.

Premium Application
This costs £95 and will take four working days to process.
Saturday, Sunday and UK Bank Holidays are not working days.
Please also allow reasonable time for delivery of the certificate.

Additional copies
Additional copies can be ordered at a cost of £6 each. Additional copies can be ordered at the time you make your application or up to three months after the date your certificate is printed. To request additional copies after you have received your original certificate you will need to contact ACRO Customer Service.


Countries for which a Police Certificate is required
ACRO will provide a Police Certificate for any country but cannot offer a refund if the Embassy, High Commission, consulate or other body refuses to accept the Police Certificate.

A Police Certificate is needed if you require a work or residency visa for countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cayman Islands, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA. In the case of the USA you will also need a Police Certificate for holiday purposes if you have ever been arrested or convicted of any offence, no matter how long ago it was.

It is your responsibility to check with the relevant authority before making an application.


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 go to 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. Payment can be taken over the telephone.


Documents you will need to make an application for a Police Certificate

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 following list  
  • 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.

You do not need to send in or provide a UK National Insurance Number (NINO) 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.
 


Endorsers
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.

Here is a link to the list of suitable occupations.
If you have any problems providing a suitable endorser please contact ACRO Customer Services.


Information which will appear on the Police 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


Length of time for which a certificate is valid
There is no set period of time for which the Police Certificate 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.


Other types of certificates
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 visa purposes in place of a Police Certificate if you are travelling to Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cayman Islands, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States of America. It is the responsibility of the applicant to check with the relevant Embassy, High Commission or requesting authority whether a DBS certificate will be acceptable.

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

A Police Certificate 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.

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


Receipts
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.


Replacement and extra copies
Extra copies can be ordered at the time you make your application or up to three months after the date the certificate was printed. The cost is £6 for each copy.

Extra copies can be ordered and paid for by telephone. Please contact ACRO Customer Services for more information.

Please note that any copy sent to you will have the same date as the original certificate.
ACRO cannot issue extra copies of certificates which are more than three months old. You will need to make a new application and pay the full fee.


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.

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

If you have any concerns about the authenticity of a Police 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 have 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
If you have a concern about the service you have received, please contact ACRO Customer Services by email or write to:

ACRO
PO Box 481
Fareham
Hampshire
PO14 9FS
UK

We aim to acknowledge receipt of your concern within five working days and resolve the matter within one month.

If you have a query about the information disclosed on your certificate, please contact ACRO Customer Services in the first instance. Please note if you wish to dispute the information held on the Police National Computer (PNC) you will need to contact the force which owns the data. ACRO Customer Services will be able to advise you on who to contact.