Criminal record checks for working abroad

If you are emigrating from Northern Ireland or going abroad to work, volunteer or study, you might need a criminal record check. You should ask your employer or the overseas organisation about the check they need.

Criminal record checks in different countries

AccessNI doesn't give advice about checks necessary for each country. You should ask your overseas employer or the country's embassy, consulate or High Commission.

When you'll need a Police Certificate

When you're emigrating or going abroad to work, study or volunteer, you may need a criminal record check to get a visa.

You must get a Police Certificate from the Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Record Office (ACRO) to complete your visa application for:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • USA 

A Police Certificate will disclose any convictions, warnings, reprimands or cautions recorded on UK police systems.

To apply for a Police Certificate online or by post, go to:

Emigrating to countries which don’t accept a Police Certificate

Not all countries accept a Police Certificate as a valid criminal record check. If you’re emigrating, you should contact that country’s embassy, consulate or High Commission and ask them to confirm what they accept as a criminal record check.

To read more about Police Certificates for people emigrating from the UK and applying for visas, go to:

AccessNI basic check for working overseas

If an employer overseas asks you for a criminal record check before starting a job, and that country accepts an AccessNI certificate, you can apply for an AccessNI basic check.

This check  discloses any unspent convictions in the United Kingdom (offences that aren't spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders (NI) Order 1978).

If an overseas employer doesn't accept your basic check, AccessNI won't refund your payment.

Standard and enhanced checks

An individual cannot apply for a standard or enhanced check. Only umbrella bodies and registered bodies can apply for these checks.

Apostille or legalised document for working or studying abroad 

Many employers, universities and authorities abroad ask for a 'legalised’ document of your criminal history or stating no such record exists. A legalised document is stamped with an apostille, which verifies your document is official.

Only the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) can issue UK apostilles on official, signed certificates and documents.

Getting your AccessNI basic certificate signed

AccessNI doesn't provide an apostille but is authorised by the FCO to sign basic certificates. AccessNI’s signature confirms to the FCO that the certificate is genuine.

If you want AccessNI to sign and stamp your basic certificate, you should send the certificate to AccessNI:

When they sign and return your AccessNI basic certificate, you must apply to the FCO for the document to be legalised.

Working overseas with children 

If you're going to work or volunteer with children in another country, your employer or the organisation might ask you to get a criminal record check.  You can apply for an AccessNI basic check but this mightn't be enough for the work you'll be doing. If you can't get the check the role needs, you must apply for an International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) from the Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Record Office. 

To apply for an International Child Protection Certificate, go to:

This certificate doesn't cover you for working with vulnerable adults.

More useful links

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.