Police clearance requirements to begin Sept. 1

31 Jul 15



What is the change? The U.K. is rolling out requirements that long-term visa applicants obtain police clearances for every country they have lived in during the 10 years prior to application.

What does the change mean? The initial test phase beginning Sept. 1, applies to applicants applying for Tier 1 (Investor, Entrepreneur) visas. If this phase is successful, employers sponsoring workers should expect the rule to apply to Tier 2 categories by 2016-2017.

  • Implementation time frame: Sept. 1 and following.
  • Visas/permits affected: The first phase applies to Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas. Later phases of the rollout are expected to cover Tier 2 and other long-term categories.
  • Who is affected: Applicants for long-term visas to the U.K., including visa-waived nationals.
  • Impact on processing times: Police clearance certificates can add significant time to the process. Time frames depend on the country.
  • Business impact: Companies should prepare for a proposed rollout of the requirement to Tier 2 categories and allow for additional time when planning assignments for next year.
  • Next steps: Contact your BAL attorney for processing time estimates for individual countries.

Background: The Home Office is imposing increased documentary requirements for visa applicants in order to prevent criminal elements from entering the country.

In the first phase, Tier 1 investors and entrepreneurs and their adult dependents applying from overseas must produce police clearance certificates from every country where they lived for 12 months or more in the previous 10 years. The certificates must have been issued within six months before submission of the visa application and must be translated into English. The requirement will also apply to visa-waived nationals, including U.S. nationals.

The Home Office has said that if the first phase is successful, the requirements will be rolled out to other visa categories in 2016-17.

BAL Analysis: The lengthy process of obtaining police clearances, in some cases from multiple countries, will add significant inconvenience, time and cost to the visa process.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact uk@bal.com.

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