Some applicants making an immigration application from overseas need to submit a criminal record certificate. Failure to provide such a document, where required, may lead to the application being refused.
When an individual applies for a UK visa, the Home Office will consider a number of matters including any previous criminality. The Immigration Rules contain general grounds for refusal. These set out the circumstances in which an individual could have their immigration application refused.
Applicants have always had to declare any previous offending on their immigration application form. The need for certain applicants to now provide an overseas criminal record certificate expands on this requirement.
Who needs to provide an overseas criminal record certificate?
Only those who are applying for leave to enter the UK (also known as a visa or entry clearance) are required to provide a criminal record certificate. Those who are already in the UK with leave and are applying to extend this or to switch visa categories are not required to provide a certificate.
Those applying for leave to enter the UK under the Tier 1 (Investor) route or for further leave to remain under the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route, along with adult dependants, will need to provide an overseas criminal record certificate for any country (excluding the UK) in which they have been present, continuously or cumulatively, for 12 months or more in the 10 years prior to the application.
Even if the applicant has only spent time visiting a particular country over the 10 year period but that time amounts to 12 months or more in total, they will need to obtain a criminal record certificate for that country.
Those applying for leave to enter under Tier 2 (General) and who will work in the education, health and social care sectors are also required to provide an overseas criminal record certificate, along with any adult dependants.
A list of the exact roles under Tier 2 (General) for which an overseas criminal record certificate is required can be found within the Tier 2 Policy Guidance. This includes roles such as teachers, nurses, physiotherapists and social workers.
How to obtain an overseas criminal record certificate
A certificate confirming an individual’s criminal record will usually be issued by the police or by an appropriate law enforcement agency in the relevant country.
The majority of countries have formal procedures for issuing criminal record certificates. It can take some countries a number of months to issue one. It is therefore advisable for an applicant to check the processing times of obtaining a certificate for any required country well in advance.
Some applicants will find that it is not possible to obtain a criminal record certificate from the required country. In such cases, an applicant should contact the country’s Embassy or High Commission in the UK to seek one. If a certificate can still not be obtained, they should explain the steps they have taken to try and obtain one in their application.
A certificate used in support of an immigration application must be valid. Where a certificate can be obtained, this will remain valid providing that it was issued no earlier than six months before the date of application or, if issued by a country other than the applicants country of residence, within the last six months of their stay ending.
When is an overseas criminal record certificate required: How our immigration solicitors can help
The above is just one of the requirements that those applying for leave to enter the UK under the Tier 2 (General), Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Investor) categories must meet.
If you require legal advice on this or any other aspect of an application, our immigration specialists are always happy to have an initial discussion and can be contacted here.