Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for a Licence

Overseas Criminal Record Checks

If you live overseas or you have spent six continuous months or more outside the UK, you must provide evidence of a criminal record check from the relevant country or countries. The checks need to cover the five years prior to your application.

We will need the originals of any documentation sent to us. Where these are not in English, they must be translated into English by an accepted translation body.

You may submit your application before you provide us with your overseas criminal record check. This will enable us to begin processing your application sooner.

You will still need to send us evidence of a criminal record check and no decision will be made on your application until we have received this and confirmed its authenticity. If you don't provide evidence of a criminal record check we will cancel your application and you will lose your application fee.

If you are completing your application at a post office we will tell you where to send any documents when you enter your details online.

If you are submitting a paper application form you will need to follow the process below:

  • Attach a note to the front of your application form to let us know that you will be sending us your criminal record check separately.
  • When you have it, send your criminal record check to:

    SIA OCC Processing Centre
    PO Box 1293
    L69 1AX

  • Include a covering letter with your criminal record check, which should contain your full name, your address and your date of birth.

You must send your overseas criminal record check to us within 21 days of submitting your application. If we do not receive your criminal record check within this time we will cancel your application and you will lose your application fee. We will confirm in writing that your application has been cancelled.

Please note: if you hold a licence to work in the private security industry that was issued overseas and you were required to undergo a criminal record check in order to obtain that, you may not need to repeat the criminal record check. We will take it into account as long as the checks that were made meet the SIA's requirements. This means that the checks:

  • must be up-to-date and must cover the last five years, including any periods of six months or more spent outside the country issuing the licence or outside the UK;
  • must cover all relevant offences;
  • must include a certificate issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) or the Scottish Criminal Records Office covering any periods spent in the UK

Obtaining a Criminal Records Check

If the country in which you were based is not listed in the following pages, please contact that country's embassy, High Commission or Consulate in the UK for advice. Contact details can be found at

Official Sources Unavailable

In some exceptional cases official sources do not exist or if they do, are unable to supply you with a criminal record check. For example, the government administration has collapsed to a point where there are no credible official sources of information or there is a risk to your personal safety if you make contact with your country of residence. In circumstances such as these we may accept your sworn oath and a character reference from a suitable referee.

More information about this process