Monday, April 18, 2011

Getting a UK Police Certificate for Immigration Purposes

What is a police certificate

Some visas now have a requirement that if you are a British citizen, then you must supply the country you are traveling to with a UK Police Certificate for immigration purposes.  The Police Certificate lists what, if any, criminal convictions that you have on your Police National Computer record and gives details of them, if they have not been “stepped down”.  If you have convictions that have been stepped down, the Police Certificate may use terms such as “No Live Trace”, or “Stepped Down”, or “Further Information Stepped Down” (see further down for more information on the terminology).  Some countries require a Subject Access request rather than a UK Police Certificate (more on Subject Access requests below).

Why did I need one?

I personally needed a UK Police Certificate for immigration purposes basically because it was a requirement of my K1 Fiance Visa application, which I was applying for so that I could marry my American girlfriend and live in the USA.

How did I go about getting a UK Police Certificate?

The UK Police Certificate application form was available on the ACPO website.  I downloaded it, filled it in and sent it off.  Along with my filled in UK Police Certificate Application form, I also included a passport photo signed on the back by a teacher friend, a photocopy of the details page of my passport, plus copies of an electric bill and bank statement, as requested, to prove my identity.  I then sent everything to ACRO at Fareham along with a cheque for the fee of £35.

Just over two weeks later, I received my UK Police Certificate for immigration purposes.

What do the terms ‘No Trace’, ‘No Live Trace’, and ‘Further Information Stepped Down’ on my Police Certificate mean?

‘No Trace’ means that you have no convictions, reprimands, final warnings, or cautions held on the Police National Computer.

‘No Live’ Trace means that there is criminal record information held on the Police National Computer but it has been “stepped down”.  Anyone who sees this, including an embassy or consulate, can see that you have a criminal record from your past, even if they can’t see details (that effectively means that you might as well come clean).

“Further Information Stepped Down” means that only some of the information on the Police National Computer has been stepped down.

How do I know what might show up on my Police Certificate?

You can do a Subject Access request at any time.  The Subject Access request tells you everything that is on the Police National computer with regard to any criminal records that you have on there.  If there’s information on there that is incorrect, you can then dispute it.  I had actually submitted a Subject Access request a couple of years prior to applying for a K1 finace visa and getting my UK Police Certificate.  I enquired at my local police station in Leeds to set the ball rolling regarding my Subject Access request.


  1. thanx man great blog!!!

  2. hi, I'm getting all of the forms together. Everything looks very straight forward but the only thing that concerns me is school history because I left school in 1982 and don't have any of my certs....CSE or GCE...will the want me to show them and if any information is innacurate will they know?...truth is I just don't remember...Great blog...I'll be watching avidly

  3. interesting post.

  4. I am Thai nationality but I need the certificate within 2 months who can help me. Please contact email
    Thanks / Chatree
    PS Ilive in Thailand but used to studied there.

  5. Oh thank you
    Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou!!


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