I want to travel abroad. Will other countries have access to my criminal record?
If you wish to travel or emigrate abroad you may find that your criminal record restricts your entry to certain countries. Each country will have its own entry criteria and if you are thinking about moving or travelling to a country outside the EU you should check the entry criteria with the relevant embassy and find out whether it is necessary to provide any documentation.
The UK does not routinely share criminal record information with overseas authorities. For this reason, if you declare a criminal record on your visa application form, you may be required to provide a copy of your criminal record as part of your application. Different countries have different requirements, but you may be asked to apply for one of the following:
- Basic disclosure certificate: this will give details of any unspent criminal convictions which are recorded on the Police National Computer.
- Police certificate: these are issued by the Criminal Records Office (ACRO) for those wishing to emigrate to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States of America. ACRO will also provide police certificates to those wishing to obtain visas to other countries, but only if they have confirmed with the relevant embassy that this will be accepted. Police certificates give details of all convictions, cautions, final warnings and reprimands recorded on the Police National Computer, although ACRO filters certain records after a certain period of time under the old step-down guidelines. For more information, see here.