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Congrats! You've overcome the hurdle and managed to snag a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)! Now all that lies before is applying for the TIER 2 visa. The online application part is well discussed in Online application for Tier 2 visa. The documents required are mentioned in supporting documents for Tier 2 visa, but for now we are concerned with obtaining a criminal record certificate.
What is a criminal record certificate?
According to the definition formulated by UK Visas & Immigration,
A certificate confirming an individual’s criminal record is usually issued by the police or by an appropriate law enforcement agency. A certificate will include information about an individual’s criminal record, including any past offences and information relating to recent arrests which are pending further action such as prosecution. Alternatively, the certificate will confirm that the individual does not have a criminal record.
This piece of document is termed differently in different countries. Please have a look at the list below:
- Bangladesh - Police Clearance Certificate
- Canada - Police Certificate/ Criminal Record Check
- Egypt - Criminal Status Record (Saheefat al Hala al Gina'iyya)
- India - Local Police Report/ Police Clearance Certificate
- Pakistan - Police Character Certificate
- Nepal - Police Clearance Report
- Nigeria - Certificate of Good Conduct
- Saudi Arabia - Police clearance certificate
- United Arab Emirates - Police Clearance/ Good Conduct Certificate
- United States - Criminal Record History / FBI Identification Record
For the ease of discussion, we will refer the criminal record certificate as police clearance certificate (PCC) throughout this post.
I have been to multiple countries. Which country's PCC do I need to provide?
You are required to provide a PCC for any country you’ve stayed in for a total of 12 months or more over the last 10 years. This can be continuous or overall. What that means is if in the last 10 years you would visit, let's say, Saudi Arabia for 2 months every year, that would total to 20 months over 10 years, and would require you to obtain a PCC from that country.
Now let's get some points clear:
- This must be from any country (except the UK) where you have lived for 12 months or more (whether continuously or in total) in the last 10 years, while aged 18 or over.
- This will also apply to any adult partners, whether they apply with you as Tier 2 dependent, or make a separate application to join you if you are already in the UK.
- This will not apply if you are making an application for an extension of stay in the UK.
- If you don’t provide a certificate or a satisfactory explanation about why you have not provided one, your visa application will be refused.
How long ago can it be dated and signed?
A certificate will normally be considered valid in the following circumstances:
- for the applicant’s latest country of residence, where it is issued no earlier than 6 months before the date of application
- for other countries where you were present, it must be issued within the last 6 months before their last period of stay ended (this can be any date)
How do I obtain a Police clearance certificate?
It will be a long post as we will discuss the ways to apply for PCC from the following countries.
Click on the country's name to jump to that section.
You can contact your local police station or you can apply for PCC online too. The online process takes 7 days for Dhaka metropolitan area and 15 days or so for outside Dhaka. Doing it online may also require you to visit the police station for verification when they contact you upon receiving your application (made online). It varies from police station to station.
The steps for doing it online are:
- Registering an account in Online Police Clearance Website.
- Click Apply, which prompts a step by step form fill up.
- Passport and Personal details (it requires uploading your photo too)
- Address Details: In my experience, the verification is done at your passport address. But if that's inconvenient for you, you can always put your present address and surely add a proof of it while uploading documents.
- Uploading necessary documents: You MUST upload your passport scan copy. As mentioned above, you can upload other documents to support your application too, e.g. nationality certificate, commissioner certificate etc.
- Finalizing your application will not let you make any more changes to it further that point.
- Payment: Payment is made by Government Chalan. A pre-filled chalan form will be available for you to download. Take that and make three copies and deposit 500 BDT with that form to any branches of Sonali Bank. With the number given by the bank and proper seals, you need to upload that chalan online.
- After your payment is done, work from your side is done. You can check the status of your application by sms. When it replies "Ready to Delivery", then you can go check at you selected place to see if it has arrived.
A Police Certificate/Criminal Record Check must be obtained in order to satisfy the requirements for TIER 2 visa.
Who can apply?
- Individuals in and outside Canada.
- Individuals may authorize the results of criminal record verification to be
forwarded to a third party upon receipt of written consent*.
*The consent must contain a statement that the subject is aware that refusal to give consent to release information to a third party will not affect their request. The consent must be an original document – faxed or photocopied documents will not be accepted.
If you reside outside Canada:
To submit fingerprints to the RCMP's Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS) from outside of Canada, you must first contact the local police of jurisdiction where you are staying outside Canada, and who can provide you with a copy of your fingerprints. Ensure you get the name and address of the police agency as well as the signature and name of the official taking the fingerprints. Also ensure all ten fingers are taken with black ink.
Next, you must contact an accredited company within Canada who can convert the paper fingerprint forms taken outside of Canada and submit them to CCRTIS electronically.
A certified criminal record check – also known as a fingerprint-based criminal record check – may require local and/or federal processing fees. Local fees are determined by the local police agency or the accredited fingerprinting agency taking your fingerprints. Contact them directly if you would like more information about fees they charge. The fee charged by your local police is in addition to the federal fee.
The federal processing fee is CDN$ 25 for each criminal record check, however, the federal fee is waived in some cases. The federal fee is collected by the police service or accredited fingerprint company taking your fingerprints. The federal fee is in addition to fees charged by your local police or accredited company.
If you reside within Canada:
You will first need to have your fingerprints taken. Contact your local police service or an accredited fingerprinting company. You will be asked to review information on your application form prior to the police agency or authorized agency submitting it to the RCMP's Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS). Make sure that all of your information is correct before you submit it.
Next you'll need to inform your local police service or the company you are apply via for the reason that you need this check to be done.
Typically your request will be processed within 3 business days. If it takes longer than this and you wish to hear about the status of your application, you may contact [email protected] to find out more information. Please make sure to provide the following information:
- Your full name
- Your date of birth
- The date your application was submitted to CCRTIS
- Provide the reason for the criminal record check and specify if the application is for a vulnerable sector check
- A phone number where you can be reached on weekdays during the day
- The document control number (DCN), if available
A Local Police Report/Police Clearance Certificate is required in order to meet the guidelines set out for the TIER 2 visa application.
Who can apply?
- Resident/non-resident Indians, including non-citizens
- Individuals may directly apply
- A UK employer may forward a completed application form from the individual to the respective police station/commissioner’s office, accompanied with a written consent letter, and a covering letter for purpose from employer
- Third party accredited agencies or authorized representatives may submit application through the same process as above
Individuals must apply in person directly to an Indian police service in the applicant’s local jurisdiction or via local regional passport office. UK applicants may apply through the Indian High Commission in London.
What you must provide:
For local applicants:
- Completed application form (available at station)
- Passport photograph
- Certified copy of individual’s passport, driver’s license, voter’s identification card, PAN card, and ration card
- Details of current address and residential history for previous ten years (desirable)
- Father’s name and date of birth (desirable)
- Proof of payment
- Formal written request of prospective employer on formal headed letter
For overseas applicants:
- Completed application form
- Original and photocopy of first four and last two pages of passport
- Fee payment (£15)
There is no standard fee for applications, as it varies between states for those applying locally. For example, in New Delhi a fee of ?250 applies, in Ahmedabad it is ?10, and in Bangalore ?3000. Overseas applicants must pay £15 as stated before. Typically, applications submitted in person take about 7-10 days after which one may collect it from their local police station. Postal application may take up to one month.
You may also apply via India's online portal for police clearance certificates either via their online form submission or their e-form submission. The cost via this process is ?500. If you are a resident of New Delhi, you can save yourself some trouble and obtain your certificate online without have to book an appointment. Law enforcement will instead come to visit you.
A Police Character Certificate is required in order to meet the guidelines set out by the UKVI for TIER 2 visas.
Who can apply?
- Third party representatives (close relatives only) can apply, with written
- Prospective employers cannot apply
Local applicants must apply through post or in person as follows:
- City: Local city police officer/ local police station
- Town: Local district office of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP)
- FATA areas: Local FATA agencies
Overseas applicants are advised to apply through the High Commission of Pakistan in Manchester or London, through post or in person.
What you must provide:
If you are applying for yourself:
- Full name
- Full names of both parents/husband’s name
- Date and place of birth
- Permanent current address (UK or Pakistan)
- All previous/temporary addresses in Pakistan
- Pakistani Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC)/ National Identity
card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP)/ Pakistan Origin Card (POC)
- Reasons for application with any supporting documentary evidence
- Photocopies of passport or NID (ask local station how many they require)
- Fingerprints may be required at some police stations
Third party representatives must supply:
- A photocopy of applicant’s British passport/foreign visa page
- A photocopy of third party representative’s National Identity Card(NID)
- A letter named on their behalf from subject, naming and granting the third party relative to obtain the certificate on their behalf
- An affidavit on judicial stamp paper from the third party relative, stating that they will receive the clearance certificate on subject’s behalf
Local fees typically amount to Rs. 20 (though more may apply), and the entire process tends to take 10-15 days to complete. Overseas applicant fees vary according to the local consulate, and the process often takes 4-7 months depending on the local office's ability to respond accordingly.
For foreign passport holders:
1. Contact your country's embassy in Saudi Arabia for applying for an endorsement letter. Submit the filled form including the iqama copy and fee for applying for the endorsement letter (SR100). It takes a few days to process.
2. Once you get endorsement letter from the embassy, visit the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in order to attest your letter. You will be provided with a form that you must fill and submit it back to MOFA along with the endorsement letter and photocopies of your iqama and passport. Get there early as there is a token system and you may not be seen if you come later in the day.
3. Translate the endorsement letter to Arabic as it is needed when you hand it to the police station.
4. Visit one of the below mentioned police stations for police clearance certificate with your documents (attested endorsement letter, iqama, and passport photocopies) along with a company representative/government relations officer from your company. Ensure your fingerprints have been taken already.
- Riyadh, Deera police office, near the court.
- Jeddah, police office behind Islamic Development Bank.
- Dammam, police office opposite to the Governor's house.
5. You will get an expected date from police station for your police clearance certificate. You need to visit that day again to collect it. Once you get it, translate it to English for your future use.
If you are applying for a Saudi PCC, but are no longer in the country and cannot return in order to process your paperwork, you will need to find someone in Saudi who can complete the steps for you.
First you will need to go to the police station in your village/district/etc and obtain a fingerprinting card from them. This card must be translated into Arabic and stamped by the Saudi embassy in your country. When you go to Saudi Embassy for the card attestation, get a PCC form from them. You will have to fill it in Arabic and get it attested by the Saudi embassy. You will also have to write a letter to the embassy of your home country in Saudi Arabia stating that you need a PCC, and that you're authorizing someone else to get it on your behalf.
Next, you will have to attach 2 passport size pictures, copy of your iqama for the time when you were in Saudi, and a copy of your passport. You will also need to attach all the pages of your entry and exit stamps to Saudi that are in the passport. Whoever is completing your application will then have to go to one of the police stations mentioned above in order to apply for your PCC. Once it is issued, attestation by the MOFA is not required. The rest of the steps are as mentioned above.
United States of America
Criminal Record History/FBI Identification Record issued by the FBI or an approved channeller must be obtained in order to satisfy the requirements for TIER 2.
Who can apply?
- Non/Citizens and non-residents can apply (minimum stay of 12 months required)
- Third party representatives cannot apply
- Prospective UK employers cannot apply
- Residents of Puerto Rico, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, the Midway Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia have to apply to the FBI CJIS for a copy of their Criminal Record History.
For visa purposes, the UK will accept FBI Identification records issued by the FBI or an
FBI approved channeller certificate BUT approved FBI channeller certificates are available for US citizens and permanent residents only.
If you are neither a US citizen nor hold PR status, you must complete an application directly through the FBI's Identity History Summary Checks. This can potentially be a considerably longer and more complicated process, so you must ensure that you do not make any mistakes in your application.
If you undertake this route, you can apply electronically or by post. Current processing time for Identity History Summary requests submitted electronically is estimated to be 3-5 business days upon receipt of the fingerprint card. It may take longer if you requested mail delivery during the request process. Current processing time for Identity History Summary requests submitted via the mail is 14-16 weeks, not accounting for mail delivery. The request per person will come to $18, not taking into account how much whatever service you go to in order to obtain your fingerprint card will cost.
If, however, you hold US citizenship or PR status, you can save yourself some trouble and apply via an approved FBI channeler. The benefits of their services is that there is less wait time to hear back and the application is more concise and straightforward. Of course, such perks come with an added cost. You can estimate spending at least $20 on getting your fingerprints done at an authorized center, and then $50 for the actual application. Typically you will hear back within 72 hours of submission.
Frequently Asked Questions
If your employer or employment agency is based in the UK, then your employer may be able to apply for a DBS certificate rather than a UK police clearance check.
If you are applying for entry clearance under any of the following visa routes, you must provide a criminal record certificate for any country (excluding the UK) where you have lived for 12 months or more (whether continuous or in total), in the 10 years prior to your application, while aged 18 or over.
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
- Tier 1 (Investor)
- Tier 2 (General) Worker in education, health or social care sectors
- Dependent partner (over 18 years old) of the main applicant in any of the above routes, either together with the main applicant, or separately.
I cannot obtain a criminal record certificate from the relevant country. Now what?
It is not always possible to obtain a certificate from countries that do not have functioning criminal record regimes or refuse to provide these to anyone other than their own citizens.
For visa purposes, if you are unable to obtain a certificate you must provide an explanation with your visa application, which details your attempts to obtain a certificate, and confirms why this has not been possible. UKVI will consider your explanation against the situation in those countries, and decide whether to waive the requirement.
If UKVI concludes that it is possible for you to obtain a certificate but you have failed to do so your application is likely to be refused. In the absence of available checks, we would expect employers to obtain as much information as possible in the form of references, etc before deciding whether or not to make an offer of employment.
Some information collected here are from various sources, so if you find any misinformation please drop a comment below or contact us. We will review and make necessary amendments. Thank you.