Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for a Licence

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What to do if you can’t get an overseas criminal record check

You may be unable to provide us with evidence of a criminal record check. This could be because:

  • The government of the country has collapsed.
  • There is a risk to your personal safety, or that of your family, if you contact the country’s government.
  • The country will not provide a criminal record check to someone who does not live there.
  • You are a refugee.

In this situation, you can request an exception. We will give you this option after you submit your licence application. You will need to explain why you can’t get an overseas criminal record check. If we approve your request we will send you forms to complete and return to us.

The forms will ask you for three things:

  1. A sworn oath.
  2. A letter confirming that the sworn oath is authentic.
  3. A character reference.

Do not send us these unless we have approved your request for an exception.

Your character reference should be from someone who knew you personally during the time you lived outside the UK. It should not be from a member of your family; this includes people who are related to you by marriage.

The reference must be from someone in one of the following occupations:

  • Accountant.
  • Barrister or Solicitor.
  • Chairman or Director of a Limited Company.
  • Commissioner for Oaths.
  • Local Councillor.
  • Medical Doctor or General Practitioner.
  • Justice of the Peace.
  • Member of Parliament.
  • Officer of the Armed Services (Active or Retired).
  • Warrant Officer or Chief Petty Officer.
  • Police Officer.
  • Teacher / Lecturer (PGCE or equivalent qualified).
  • Trade Union Official.

If you have refugee status in the UK and you cannot provide a character reference from someone on the list above, we may accept a character reference from:

  • UK Refugee support worker.
  • UK Asylum caseworker.
  • UK Social worker.

People in these three roles do not need to have known you during the time you lived outside the UK but they will need to know you well enough to answer the questions on the form. We will thoroughly check all character references.