Criminal records checks for overseas applicants

Who can apply, how to apply and contact details for criminal record checks overseas.



The application process for criminal records checks or ‘Certificates of Good Character’ for someone from overseas varies from country to country. You’ll have to apply in the country or to the relevant embassy in the UK.

Please read the guidance document if you have any queries. If you have any questions on applying for a criminal record check in the UK, please contact the Disclosure & Barring Service.

All Tier 2 (General) visa applicants who want to work in specified health, education or social care sectors must provide a criminal record certificate.

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 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.

You can read the written ministerial statement and statement of changes to the Immigration rules (HC1078) for more information.

Published 22 May 2013
Last updated 19 August 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated guidance for Hong Kong.

  2. Amended Hong Kong information in 'Countries G to P: applying for a criminal records check for someone from overseas' - the new policy comes into effect on 8 June rather than 1 June.

  3. Updated Hong Kong information in 'Countries G to P: applying for a criminal records check for someone from overseas' to reflect changes in check process that come into effect on 1 June 2022.

  4. Updated change to highlight that the National Police Certificate should only be used for immigration purposes for the Republic of Korea (South Korea).

  5. Updated guide on the application process for criminal records checks overseas to include care workers and home carers in the standard occupation codes list.

  6. Details for Iceland updated.

  7. Updated information on criminal checks in Singapore.

  8. Details for Antigua and Barbuda updated.

  9. Updated the occupation codes list.

  10. Updated address and added link to online application form for Croatia.

  11. Information for Costa Rica added.

  12. Details for France updated.

  13. Updated contact details.

  14. Guides for countries A-F and Q-Z updated.

  15. Updated guidance on the application process for criminal records checks overseas.

  16. Updated information.

  17. Updated documents.

  18. Updated guidance published.

  19. Updated documents

  20. Countries G-P and Q-Z documents updated

  21. Updated guidance

  22. First published.