UK Immigration and Overseas Criminal Record Certificates
If you are intending to come to the UK for work you may need to provide a criminal record certificate so in this article, ourimmigration solicitors take a look at the criminal record check procedure and requirements.
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Can you ignore the request for a criminal record check?
If you are applying for a UK visa you may be asked for a criminal record certificate. Many visa applicants find the request a bit annoying as it is yet more red tape. As UK immigration solicitors we are sometimes asked if a visa applicant can safely ignore the criminal record check. The answer is no, you can't because if you fail to produce the criminal record certificate when asked to provide one your visa application will be refused unless you can provide a reasonable explanation and evidence why you can't produce one.
Do all UK visa applicants need to produce a criminal record certificate?
Thankfully not all UK visa applicants need to provide a criminal record certificate. The criminal record check is only required for specific visa routes.
Does the criminal record certificate apply to your country of nationality?
If you are required to produce a criminal record certificate the criminal record check doesn’t just apply to your country of nationality. If it did then the check would not be of much use for those who are international travellers.
The immigration rules say that if you need to produce a criminal record certificate then you need to provide one for any country, except the UK, that you have been present in for twelve months or more in the ten years prior to the date of your visa application, while aged eighteen or over.
The twelve-month period is:
- Either a continuous twelve-month residence or twelve months residence in total.
- Any type of period of stay in a country so the country could be your country of nationality or a country that you visited or stayed in on a work visa or family visa or student visa. You do not have to have been domiciled or settled or even ordinarily resident for the twelve-month period to count.
- The criminal record certificate should be not more than six months old at the date of your visa application. This rule applies even if the twelve-month period that you stayed in a country for occurred say nine years ago.
The criminal record certificate basics
If you are required to produce a criminal record certificate as part of your visa application process then you can provide a scanned copy of a criminal record certificate. However, the criminal record certificate must either be in English or, if it isn’t, you need to provide a translated copy of the criminal record check.
The immigration rules state that the translation should be certified by a professional translator who needs to specify their credentials and confirm that the translation is an accurate translation of the original criminal record certificate. The translation should be dated and include the original signature of the translator. It is well to double check that the translated document complies with the immigration rules as if it doesn’t your visa application may be delayed or refused.
Do I need a criminal record certificate?
Whether you need to provide a criminal record certificate depends entirely on your chosen UK visa route rather than your nationality or any other ‘red flag’.
These immigration routes require you to provide a criminal record certificate when applying for a UK visa from overseas:
- A skilled worker visa applicant applying for a job with a specific standard occupation code in specific education, health or social care sectors.
- The dependant of a skilled worker visa applicant who is required to provide a criminal record certificate as part of their dependant visa application.
- An investor visa applicant.
- The dependant of an investor visa applicant who needs to produce a criminal record certificate as part of their dependant visa documentation.
If you are already in the UK and you are switching to one of the above visa routes or you are applying to extend your visa you don’t need to provide a criminal record certificate.
Skilled worker visa jobs requiring a criminal record certificate
The jobs requiring a criminal record certificate when applying for a skilled worker visa are in the education, health and social care sectors.
The jobs are identified not by their job description but by the standard occupation code used by the prospective UK employer.
The standard occupation codes requiring a completed criminal record certificate are currently:
- 1181 – Health services and public health managers and directors
- 1184 – Social services managers and directors
- 1241 – Health care practice managers
- 1242 – Residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors
- 2211 – Medical practitioners
- 2212 – Psychologists
- 2213 – Pharmacists
- 2214 – Ophthalmic opticians
- 2215 – Dental practitioners
- 2217 – Medical radiographers
- 2218 – Podiatrists
- 2219 – Health professionals not elsewhere classified
- 2221 – Physiotherapists
- 2222 – Occupational therapists
- 2223 – Speech and language therapists
- 2229 – Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified
- 2231 – Nurses
- 2232 – Midwives
- 2312 – Further education teaching professionals
- 2314 – Secondary education teaching professionals
- 2315 – Primary and nursery education teaching professionals
- 2316 – Special needs education teaching professionals
- 2317 – Senior professionals of educational establishments
- 2318 – Education advisers and school inspectors
- 2319 – Teaching and other educational professionals not elsewhere classified
- 2442 – Social workers
- 2443 – Probation officers
- 2449 – Welfare professionals not elsewhere classified
- 3213 – Paramedics
- 3216 – Dispensing opticians
- 3217 – Pharmaceutical technicians
- 3218 – Medical and dental technicians
- 3219 – Health associate professionals not elsewhere classified
- 3231 – Youth and community workers
- 3234 – Housing officers
- 3235 – Counsellors
- 3239 – Welfare and housing associate professionals not elsewhere classified
- 3443 – Fitness instructors
- 3562 – Human resources and industrial relations officers
- 6121 – Nursery nurses and assistants
- 6122 – Childminders and related occupations
- 6123 – Playworkers
- 6125 – Teaching assistants
- 6126 – Educational support assistants
- 6141 – Nursing auxiliaries and assistants
- 6143 – Dental nurses
- 6144 – House parents and residential wardens
- 6146 – Senior care workers.
Visa entry to the UK and criminal records
Although not every UK visa applicant has to provide a criminal record certificate all visa applicants do need to detail past criminal convictions on their visa application. Criminal offending history may be sufficient to refuse a visa application on general refusal grounds.
Where a visa applicant is applying under a specific visa route the requirement is extended to include the provision of the criminal record certificate as an enhanced criminal record check. If a criminal record certificate reveals that a visa applicant has a criminal record the Home Office will assess if there are grounds to refuse the application under the general grounds for refusal in the immigration rules. If the record shows a pending potential conviction the visa application should not be determined until after the conclusion of the criminal case.
How do I apply for a criminal record certificate?
Your criminal record certificate is usually obtained from the local police or nominated law enforcement agency in the relevant country.
What happens if I cannot get a criminal record certificate?
If you can't get a criminal record certificate, for example because the country won't provide criminal record certificates to anyone who doesn’t have nationality, then you should provide an explanation with your visa application.
You should not assume that the Home Office official will know that it is impossible for you to get a criminal record certificate but instead you should explain in the application why you can't get one. The Home Office official will then look at the reason and if it is satisfied that it is reasonable then it won't refuse your application simply because you can't comply with the requirement to produce a criminal record certificate.
If you need a criminal record certificate you should not think that the process will be online and speedy as the process varies between countries. If you are not sure how to secure your criminal record certificate or you need help because you can't obtain one speak to one of our immigration solicitors.
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