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UK Visa Application Criminal Record

Applying for a UK visa with a criminal record might be complicated. Find out how criminal convictions affect the visa application process.

For professional assistance with your situation, call our lawyers on 020 4502 8582. We are here to help you in person, over the phone, or online.

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    Do criminal convictions affect visa applications?

    Having a criminal record can negatively impact your chances of obtaining a UK visa, but it does not necessarily mean that your application will be rejected.

    When reviewing your visa application, relevant authorities will take into consideration the type of visa you wish to get, as well as the severity of the crimes you committed. They will also look at the punishment you received.

    Keep in mind that serious crimes and long prison sentences will most likely make it more difficult for you to enter the UK.

    UK visa applicants with criminal records should consult an immigration lawyer before submitting their applications. They can help you understand the rules regarding criminal convictions and can tell you in detail how the specific crimes you committed may affect the outcome of your application.

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    What is an overseas criminal record certificate?

    Foreign citizens applying for certain types of UK visas from overseas are required to provide a criminal record certificate which confirms their criminal record.

    If the criminal record certificate states that the applicant has a criminal record, the Home Office will assess their circumstances and determine whether there is a reason to refuse the application. In a situation where the visa applicant has a pending potential conviction, the visa application will not be processed until the criminal case is concluded.

    The criminal record certificate requirement applies to the following visa routes:

    • Tier 1 Investor Visa
    • Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
    • Skilled Worker Visa

    Dependent partners of the main applicants trying to obtain a dependent visa under any of the above immigration routes are also required to submit the criminal record certificate.

    Skilled Worker Visa applicants are only required to provide criminal record certificates if they will be doing a job with a specific standard occupation code. These include:

    • 3219 – Health associate professionals
    • 3239 – Welfare and housing associate professionals
    • 2318 – Education advisers
    • 2319 – Teaching and other educational professionals
    • 2314 – Secondary education teaching professionals
    • 2223 – Speech and language therapists
    • 2211 – Medical practitioners
    • 1241 – Health care practice managers
    • 6146 – Senior care workers
    • 2317 – Senior professionals of educational establishments

    Visa applicants can obtain their overseas criminal record certificates from the local police or a law enforcement agency in their country of residence. If you are unable to obtain a criminal record certificate, for example, because the country where you live does not issue them to non-citizens, you must provide a detailed explanation of the situation in your UK visa application.

    It is important to note that the failure to provide the criminal record certificate or a satisfactory explanation as to why you are unable to get it might result in your visa application being rejected.

    Can I apply for a settlement visa with a criminal record?

    Those who wish to apply for UK settlement visas such as the Leave to Remain must disclose all of their previous convictions, committed both in the UK and overseas. The Home Office needs this information to determine whether the applicant will make a positive contribution to British society.

    According to immigration rules, there are certain categories of convictions that mean an automatic refusal of a settlement visa application. These are:

    • Being a subject of a deportation order
    • Having been convicted of an offence for which the individual was imprisoned for more than 12 months (unless it has been more than 10 years since the applicant completed the sentence)
    • Having been convicted of a crime for which the individual was imprisoned for less than 12 months (unless it has been more than 5 years since they completed the sentence)
    • Having spent more than 4 years in prison (if this is the case, the applicant is permanently banned from the country)

    Keep in mind that lying in your application might lead to you being deprived of the possibility to settle in the UK.

    Shadow behind bars

    Can I apply for a Visitor Visa with a criminal record?

    Although foreign citizens wanting to obtain a UK Visitor Visa are not required to provide a criminal record certificate, they must detail any past criminal convictions in their visa application.

    When processing the application, immigration officials will use the same criteria that are used to assess applications for settlement visas. So, unfortunately, those who have a criminal past might be refused entry to the UK on the Visitor Visa but the decision depends on the severity of their convictions.

    Get in touch with our lawyers and they can tell you whether your criminal convictions are so serious that it is impossible for you to visit the UK. Our lawyers will offer professional legal advice and they might be able to help you find a solution.

    Do I need to obtain a criminal record certificate in my home country?

    Visa applicants who are required to submit the criminal record certificate must provide one for any country in which they spent more than 12 months in the 10 years preceding the visa application. This means that if you have been living abroad, you might have to get the certificate from the relevant country where you are resident rather than from your home country.

    The following circumstances count as the twelve-month period:

    • A continuous residence of 12 months or more
    • 12 months of residence in total
    • Any type of long-term stay in a country, for example, on a Student Visa or a Family Visa (even if you were not settled in the country)

    At the time of submitting the visa application, your criminal record certificate should be no more than 6 months old. This rule applies regardless of how long ago the twelve-month period in a certain country was.

    Do you have a criminal record and need a UK visa? Our immigration lawyers can assist with you. Contact us

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      How Can London Immigration Lawyers Help?

      Applying for UK visas with a criminal record can be a complex process. To maximise the chances of your application being approved, you should consult an immigration lawyer.

      We have a team of highly-qualified immigration lawyers who can explain to you the rules around criminal convictions, helping you determine whether you can get a visa to the UK despite your criminal record.

      Our lawyers can guide you through the application process and answer any questions you might have. They can also tell you whether you need to provide a criminal record certificate and, if so, how you can obtain it.

      Regardless of how complex your case is and which immigration route you want to choose, we can offer expert assistance with your immigration situation.

      Call us today on 020 4502 8582 for further guidance and to find out more about how our team can help.

      Call us for further assistance with your UK visa application. Contact us

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Obtaining UK visas with a criminal record can be difficult but it is not impossible. Before making a decision, an immigration officer will review the severity of your convictions.

                  Unfortunately, if you have been convicted of serious crimes for which you have spent long periods in prison or if you are a persistent offender, your application will most likely be rejected.

                  If you are not sure whether your convictions are considered as serious, get in touch with our lawyers. They will assess your circumstances and, based on your past convictions, they will tell you what specific visa routes you might be eligible for.

                  Yes. When applying for visas to the UK, you must disclose details of any offenses committed either in the UK or abroad. Immigration rules state that, for the purpose of processing visa applications, overseas convictions are treated as those that happened in the UK.

                  When applying for UK Visas, you should not hide any information about any previous convictions. You must disclose your full criminal record. If the Home Office finds out that you lied in your visa application, they will reject your application. And, you might face troubles when trying to apply for UK visas in the future.

                  Some UK visa applicants might not be able to obtain the criminal record certificate when, for example, a country where they live does not issue such documents to non-citizens.

                  If you are unable to obtain the criminal record certificate, you must include an explanation in your UK visa application. In the explanation, you should prove that you attempted to get one and state why you could not obtain it.

                  Immigration officials will consider your explanation and confirm whether there have been compelling factors preventing you from getting the certificate. If they agree that you found yourself in exceptional circumstances, they might waive the requirement and grant you entry clearance to the UK.

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