Delivering Operational Benefits to Law Enforcement
  • Police Certificates - Frequently Asked Questions


    These notes apply to applicants wishing to obtain a Police Certificate for immigration purposes.


    Click here to download a printable version of these frequently asked questions.



    What do I do if the country I want to go to is not mentioned on the application form?

    We will provide a Police Certificate for any country but cannot offer a refund if the Embassy, High Commission, Consulate or other organisation refuses to accept the Police Certificate. We suggest that you contact the relevant body for the country you would like to apply to for a visa. If they say that they will accept the Police Certificate, add the country to the section marked “Country to which you are travelling” under “Other”.


    What will show up on my Police Certificate?

    All Convictions, Warnings, Reprimands and Cautions recorded on UK Police Systems. We apply the principles of the 'ACPO Retention Guidelines for Nominal Records on the Police National Computer', which incorporates the Step Down Model, when preparing the Police Certificate. Please note that Scottish and Military Convictions are NOT subject to the Step Down Model.


    Does everybody in my family who is emigrating need to obtain a Police Certificate?

    It is dependent on the age of the visa applicant. Each country is different and advice should be sought from the relevant Embassy, High Commission, Consulate or other organisation. Anyone who has any criminal convictions, no matter what their age will be required to provide a Police Certificate.


    If I have a close relative who has a criminal record, will this be mentioned on my Certificate?

    No. Police Certificates only contain information relating to the applicant.


    If I have lived in different regions of the United Kingdom, or other countries, would I be required to get more than one Police Certificate?

    The Police Certificate provided by ACRO covers the whole of the United Kingdom. Applicants who have lived abroad may be required to provide evidence of good character, or to disclose their previous criminal history in that other country. Advice should be sought from the relevant Embassy, High Commission, Consulate or other organisation that is requesting a Police Certificate.


    Who can apply for a Police Certificate?

    Anyone who has lived in the UK for any length of time, regardless of nationality. Only the individual wishing to obtain a police certificate can apply, third parties applications will not be accepted.

    Can I pay online?

    No, payment can only be made by Cheque, Bankers Draft, or Postal Order. Your payment must be in Pounds Sterling (made payable to 'PCC for Hampshire'). You can arrange for someone else to pay the fee for you if necessary.



    However ACRO can accept a Bank transfer, which can be arranged by clicking on following the link. You may be able to transfer funds using online banking, please check with your bank first.


    What is a Banker’s draft?

    This may be known as a Treasurer’s Cheque or a Cashier’s Cheque. It is similar to a personal cheque except the money has already been debited from your account by your bank. You must give notice to the bank that you require a Banker’s Draft (usually 24 hours) so that they can prepare the draft and check that you have enough money in your account.


    There may also be an additional fee to pay for issuing a Banker’s Draft. You must send the Banker’s Draft to us (it will look like a cheque). Do not send the receipt, we require the original cheque. For further guidance on making payments by bank draft, please see our guidance document.


    Will I get a receipt for my Police Certificate?

    Unless you specifically request a receipt on page 10 of the application form, you will not receive a receipt for the fee paid. Receipts follow up to 15 working days after the dispatch of your certificate via email. 


    What will happen if I pay too much for my Police Certificate? 

    If you have overpaid by £10 or less the overpaid amount will be donated to charity. If you have overpaid by more than £10, you will be contacted to arrange a refund or to obtain your agreement to donate the overpaid amount to charity. 


    Can I email or fax my application to you?

    No, you must post your application to ACRO to the relevant address located on page 2 of the guidance notes as we require original signatures.


    Can I courier my application to you?

    It is not possible for courier companies to deliver directly to this office. Courier deliveries are not accepted at the PO Box addresses. If you wish to send your application to ACRO using a courier please note the following:

    You are responsible for all the fees incurred in the transportation of the application. If you put a value to the package ACRO will not accept it as it would incur a customs importation fee. Couriers should deliver to the following address:


    c/o City Sprint

    Unit 2, Solent Estate

    Shamblehurst Lane

    Hedge End


    SO30 2FX



    International telephone +44(0)1489 776473


    Please note that a delivery to City Sprint does not mean that your application has arrived here at ACRO.


    Can I send my application via a Trackable/Registered/Signed For mail? 


    Yes, you can request that your application be sent via Express Mail, available through your local postal service. This way it can be delivered direct to our Premium or Standard PO Box addresses. This service is trackable and cheaper than a normal courier and applies to 97 countries throughout the world. 


    Can more than one application be sent in the same envelope with one form of payment for the total amount?

    Yes, providing all the documents are complete and the total payment covers each application made. Note: Once the applications have reached the office, they will be treated as individual applications and processed separately.


    Can you courier my Police Certificate to me at a UK delivery address?

    If the delivery address is within the United Kingdom, ACRO are unable to provide a courier delivery service. You will need to make arrangements and payment to City Sprint by calling +44(0)1489 776473. Please note these fees vary and can be expensive. As we are a secure location, other courier companies are unable to collect directly from us.



    If your delivery address for your Police Certificate is in the UK we would recommend Next Day Delivery, which when dispatched guarantees delivery before 1pm the next day (Delivery is not guaranteed on Saturday).


    Can you courier my Police Certificate to me at an international delivery address?

    If the delivery address is outside the United Kingdom the fee is £48 sterling (per delivery address). Please complete the ‘Postal address’ section of the application form ensuring only a physical address is given and enclose the additional payment with your application. The delivery times will depend on the flight availability in the country where your documents are to be sent.


    Please note that ACRO are unable to provide confirmed delivery dates or timescales for courier services. Any use of a courier service is a contract between the applicant and the courier company


    I have already submitted my application form and I now want my Police Certificate to be sent back to me via courier. How do I arrange this?

    Please contact ACRO Customer Services who may be able to advise or/and arrange this for you.


    What happens if my certificate is lost in the post?

    The certificate fee only includes the price for 1st Class UK post or Standard Airmail. If you have paid for a Courier Delivery, Next Day Delivery (UK only), or Secure International Delivery please report it to ACRO.



    If you have opted for standard UK 1st class mail or Standard Airmail, ACRO cannot be held responsible for items lost or delayed in post or by third party delivery companies. In these cases, on request to ACRO, replacement certificates can be reproduced and sent 1st class post or standard airmail at a fee of £6. If you wish to have your certificate returned to you by courier, next day delivery (UK only), or Secure International Delivery you will need to add the additional postage fee. Please contact the Customer Services Department for the latest prices.


    How long is my Police Certificate valid for?

    There is no set period of time for which the Police Certificate is considered to be valid. The Police Certificate is only truly accurate on the date of issue. Embassies or High Commissions will usually require you to produce a Police Certificate which has been issued less than six (6) months before your visa interview.


    I have lost my Police Certificate, how do I get another copy?

    If you have lost your Police Certificate, or require another copy within 3 months of submitting the original application, ACRO can reproduce the original Police Certificate for a fee of £6. Please note that the Police Certificate will only show the original date of production, not the date that you requested the replacement copy, and so you may wish to check that this will be accepted by the Embassy, High Commission, Consulate or other organisation.


    If you require another copy and 3 months have passed since you made your initial application, you will be required to submit a new application with supporting documentation and the full fee.


    How do I know that the Police Certificate is genuine?

    The Police Certificate has been designed with anti-tamper technology and features a photograph of the applicant, a unique reference number and unique serial number, along with several other security features which cannot be duplicated. If you are concerned about the authenticity of the Police Certificate, please contact ACRO Customer Services.


    If you are obtaining the application form from anywhere other than our website please contact ACRO Customer Services to ensure that you have the most up to date version. We do not operate through any private agencies, only the applicant can apply directly to us.


    I live abroad and cannot prove my UK addresses. What can I do?

    If you live abroad you do not have to prove your UK addresses. You only have to prove your current address and inform us of your previous UK addresses over the past TEN years.


    I do not have proofs of my current address. How can I prove my address?

    Proofs of address can be anything official that has reached you at your current address and bears your name. We accept copies of documents from "official bodies" e.g. bank statements, letters from a GP, letters from a school or college, utility bills, phone bills etc. Ideally they should be for different months and in either case should not be more than six months old.


    I do not have any proofs of address in my name at the address I currently live at. What can I do?

    If you do not receive mail addressed to you, we can accept:


    TWO proofs of the address in the name of the householder dated within the last 6 months, together with a signed and dated letter, written by the householder confirming that you have no proofs in your own name but that you reside with them.




    TWO documents taken from the following list which have been issued within the last 6 months:


     . A signed and dated letter from your employer, on company headed paper confirming your current address as per their records.


    . A tenancy agreement, rent payment receipts or a letter from a letting agent confirming your current address.


    . A driving licence, ID card or passport page showing your current address.


    . A signed and dated letter from your bank on headed paper confirming your current address as per their records.



    Please contact ACRO Customer Services if still unable to provide sufficient documents to satisfy the requirement.  


    All my post goes through a PO Box. How can I prove the address at which I currently live?

    If your post goes through a PO Box then you can provide two proofs of address with your PO Box address on. You will also need a letter from either your bank/employer stating both your PO Box address and your physical address. Alternatively you can provide a tenancy or similar agreement showing the address at which you actually live, to accompany the two PO Box proofs of address.  

    All my post goes through a correspondence address. How can I prove the address at which I currently live? 


    If your post goes to a correspondence address then you can provide two proofs of address with your correspondence address on. You will also need a letter from either your bank/employer stating both your correspondence address and your physical address. Alternatively you can provide a tenancy or similar agreement showing the address at which you actually live, to accompany the two correspondence address proofs of address.


    Who can endorse my passport photo?

    Your photograph needs to be endorsed by an individual who has known you for a minimum of 2 years, is 18 years of age or older and is not a family member or related to you. Examples of preferred occupations are listed on the application form.


    I don't know anyone who can sign the back of my photograph in the country I'm living in. What do I do?

    You will need to send the endorsement page of the application form and your photograph to someone who can endorse it for you.


    I don't know anyone from the list of endorsers. Who can sign my photograph?

    Please contact ACRO Customer Services for further advice. 


    What is the difference between a Police Certificate and a Subject Access request?

    A Police Certificate is issued mainly for immigration purposes. The Subject Access request is used to provide an applicant with details of any information held about them on police computers.



    Both check the Police National Computer to see if you have a criminal record. A Police Certificate is needed if you require a work or residency visa for countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cayman Islands, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA. In the case of the USA you will also need a Police Certificate for holiday purposes if you have ever been arrested or convicted of any offence, no matter how long ago it was. 


    I have a DBS (formerly CRB) Certificate. Can I use that instead of the Police Certificate?

    No, the Embassies and High Commissions will only accept the ACRO Police Certificate.


    Can I use the ACRO Police Certificate for employment purposes or for security checks?

    No, the ACRO Police Certificate can only be used for submission to the relevant Embassy, High Commission, Consulate or other organisation.


    Please contact the overseas Authority or Organisation requesting a Police Check from you. If a Police Certificate will be acceptable for your purpose, ACRO can produce a Police Certificate for you.



    Please note ACRO can not produce Police Certificates for employment purposes in the UK.


    If I contact ACRO by telephone or email can you tell me what is on the Police National Computer before I send my application or before I receive my Police Certificate?

    We are unable to check the Police National Computer in advance of an application being made, as we have to ensure that the Data Protection Act is complied with. We cannot advise on specific cases without the application being logged with us.


    Do the DBS filtering rules apply to Police Certificates?

    No. The DBS filtering rules determine what information should be disclosed in certificates issued by the DBS for employment purposes under part V of the Police Act 1997. This applies to vetting for employment in the UK only.


    The information disclosed in a Police Certificate is determined through the application of the 'Step Down Model' as set out in 'ACPO Retention Guidelines for Nominal Records on the Police National Computer'.

    How will I know if there is a problem with my application?

    Our Customer Service team will contact you by email in the first instance to the email address given on the application form. If we get no response, we will follow up our email with a telephone call and leave a message if possible. If we still get no response, we will send a letter. Queries can usually be resolved quickly once we are able to contact you, so please ensure that your email address is spelt clearly and correctly and is regularly monitored.