Certain individuals are required to provide criminal record checks with their UK visa applications. We take a look at this requirement.
What is a Criminal Records Certificate?
The criminal record certificate (CRC) confirms an individual’s criminal record in the country where it is issued. The information included will relate to past offences and further action which may be pending. Where an applicant does not have a criminal record, this will be stated.
Usually, a CRC is provided by the country’s police or law enforcement agency.
Who needs a Criminal Records Certificate?
Only those who are applying for permission to enter the UK (also known as ‘leave’ to enter, a visa or entry clearance) are required to provide a CRC. Those who are already in the UK with permission to stay and are applying to extend this or to switch visa categories are not required to provide a certificate.
Not all immigration routes require individuals to provide CRCs. Currently, only individuals making applications under the following routes, need to do so:
- Tier 1 (Investor)
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
- Skilled Worker – education, health or social care sectors
- Dependant partner (aged over 18 years old) of a main applicant in one of the above routes
As noted above, individuals applying for permission to enter the UK as a Skilled Worker will only need to obtain a CRC if they intend to work under certain occupation codes. Such roles include nurses, pharmacists, education teaching professionals and probation officers amongst others. A full list of the relevant occupation codes can be found here and at paragraph SW 16.1. of Appendix Skilled Worker, Immigration Rules.
How can you obtain one?
You must provide a CRC from any country where you have lived, whilst aged 18 or over, for 12 months or more in the ten years prior to submitting your application. This is relevant where you have spent a continuous 12 months in a country, or 12 months in total in that country over the ten-year period.
You do not need to provide a CRC from the UK, regardless of whether you have lived there previously.
The process differs from country to country. The Home Office has provided detailed guidance documents to provide information for each country.
Failure to submit a Criminal Records Certificate
Certain countries will be unable to provide CRCs or may not agree to provide them to anyone who is not a citizen of that country.
In such circumstances, you will be required to explain why you are unable to obtain a CRC. You must also provide information regarding the attempts you have made to obtain one. This will be considered by the Home Office on a case by case basis.
Where the Home Office is of the opinion that it should be possible to obtain a CRC, but you submit an application without one, your application should be refused.
UK visa applications: who needs a criminal record certificate: How our immigration solicitors can help
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