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9 May 2022

ACRO: what you need to know

If you’re planning on moving abroad, it’s likely you’ll need an ACRO. Woodcock Notary Public is often asked to notarise ACRO documents and have them legalised. In this blog post, we explain how the process works.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

What is ACRO?

The UK Criminal Records Office, or ACRO, is the official government agency tasked with checking up on the police records of people who want to leave the UK. They exchange conviction information with foreign countries and governments to safeguard communities across the globe.

People who wish to emigrate from the UK to a different country are often asked to prove they are of good character before they are permitted to enter the country they want to move to. ACRO offers a range of services to do this, and works with both governments and individuals overseas to conduct the necessary checks. 

The services offered by ACRO include:

  • Police Certificates 
  • International Child Protection Certificates (IPCPs)
  • Subject Access
  • Requests for deletion 

Notarising an ACRO

If your ACRO has been signed by an official, an apostille can be affixed to the document by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) directly. In this case, there is no requirement for getting it notarised. 

If you require your ACRO to be legalised with an apostille but it does not contain a signature from an official, it will need to be certified by a notary. Similarly, apostilles are only considered sufficient in countries that are party to the Hague Convention. If you need to use your ACRO in a non-Hague Convention country, you will need additional consular services.

We can handle the notarising of your ACRO if it requires one. We can also facilitate any legalisation your ACRO might need and give you free advice on what’s the best way to be able to use your ACRO where you want to. 

Police Certificates

Police Certificates are likely to be the ACRO service you’ve already heard of if you’re planning to emigrate from the UK. If you’re applying to leave the UK and immigrate to another country, especially if you plan to work whilst you’re there, you will need a police certificate. 

The certificate details whether you, as the applicant, have a criminal record in the UK. Impending prosecutions and offences currently under investigation also appear on the Police Certificate. Furthermore, if you have a criminal conviction in a forgien country that has been previously disclosed in the UK, this will also show on your certificate.  

When you apply for a Police Certificate, you will receive a hard copy in the post – this is the only copy that will be provided to you. If you have any questions or anything you want to discuss with ACRO, they are unable to do so until you have received your certificate.  

Most foreign embassies will require a Police Certificate dated within the last six months when you apply for your work visa so it’s important to apply for your certificate at the right time.

You can apply for your Police Certificate here.

International Child Protection Certificates (ICPC)

The ICPC was introduced to protect children from people from different countries that intend to cause them harm, be it through paid work or other. 

The ICPC confirms whether you, as someone who wants to work with children abroad, have a criminal conviction. It details, if applicable, the nature of the conviction as well any non-conviction data. 

If you’re planning on working with children abroad, then it’s likely you’ll be requested to provide an ICPC to prove you are of good character. Though it’s likely you’ll need one, we do recommend that you check with your employer overseas before applying for one. 

The certificate comes in two parts: the first part details any convictions, cautions, warnings or impending convictions you have against your name. The second part details any information that is deemed relevant in the interests of child protection. As with the Police Certificate, the ICPC may also detail any convictions you have in other countries. 

If you apply for one, the ICPC will be provided directly to you alone. ACRO will not disclose the contents of it to any third party organisation. 

Please note that the ICPC will be supplied directly to you and not disclosed by us to the school or organisation offering employment or voluntary placements. 

To apply for an ICPC, click here

Subject access and requests for deletion

Subject access and requests for deletion are similar services in that they concern the data on the national police databases. They may both be of relevance to you if you are planning on moving out of the UK and want to know what any ACRO background check would disclose. 

The subject access service allows anyone to see what information the national police database has on them. It’s your right to know what information the database has about you and it may be worth finding out if you’re concerned about such information impacting your ability to move abroad. 

The requests for deletion service allows individuals to request for information on them to be deleted from the national police database. This option is not available for all individuals in all circumstances and relies on there being legitimate grounds for the request. 

You can request subject access by clicking here and request deletion by clicking here


If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services,
contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 or email

If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services, contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 or email