A new law will require Tier 1 investors, entrepreneurs and their dependents over the age of 18 submitting visa applications on or after September 1, 2015 to provide an overseas criminal clearance certificate from any country in which they have lived continuously for at least twelve months over the past ten years. This new requirement can prolong the visa application process because criminal clearance certificates can take months to obtain in some countries.
This requirement will be introduced in phases and is expected to eventually apply to applicants of other visa categories and their dependents.
Failure to provide the certificate, or a reasonable explanation for its absence, can lead to refusal of the application. Providing false or fraudulently-obtained certificates may result in a ten-year ban for any future entry clearance applications.
Currently, applicants only have to declare criminal convictions on their applications. The new requirement is not expected to apply to extensions or in-country change of status applications.
Rules Regarding Criminal Clearance Certificates
The certificate must be an original document issued by the overseas authority. If the original is not in English, the applicant must submit a translated copy of the certificate which meets the Home Office’s requirements.
If the applicant cannot provide a certificate for valid reasons, he or she must provide a letter which details the attempts to obtain a certificate and confirms why this has not been possible. The Home Office will consider whether to waive the requirement, or the applicant may still be asked to provide the certificate.
What This Means for Foreign Nationals
Tier 1 investors, entrepreneurs and their dependents will need to start their visa application process far in advance, as the criminal clearance requirement will likely cause delays in the document-gathering time.
Courtesy of Fragomen Worldwide