Effective from 04 February 2018, all expats applying for a new work visa in the UAE or switching jobs within the UAE are required to produce a "Good Conduct Certificate" for the visa process, from all countries where the applicant had resided in the previous five years. This new requirement brought with it confusion as to what constituted a "Good Conduct Certificate", how this would be obtained from the applicant's home country, how this would be obtained from other countries of residence and in what circumstances the "Good Conduct Certificate" was required.
The uncertainty has also been compounded by further announcements revoking the requirement of a "Good Conduct Certificate" in certain circumstances and thereafter reinstating it. At VirtuGroup, we have experienced this first hand throughout the company formation and visa process. This article aims to provide clarity in respect of what constitutes a "Good Conduct Certificate", how this can be obtained from the UK and briefly considers the current position.
What is a Good Conduct Certificate?
In the UK there is no document called a "Good Conduct Certificate". The document that should be obtained is an ACRO Police Certificate. You can apply for this online at https://www.acro.police.uk/Police_Certificates_Online.aspx, the website also lists the documents required for the process.
You do not require to be resident in the UK to apply for this document. You are required to provide two proofs of current address, one of which dated within the last six months. There is a ten working day (currently £45.00) or two working day (currently £80.00) option for the certificate to be provided. You can also ask for additional copies, which presently cost £6.00. The certificate can be delivered to your current address or to another address. It is advisable to have the certificate sent to an address in the UK for the further process outlined below.
What further steps are required?
To meet the UAE requirements, the ACRO Police Certificate on its own is not sufficient. The document must be:
Legalised by the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London. This process verifies the official signature on the document and the ACRO Police Certificate does not need to notarised by a solicitor.
Stamped by the UAE Embassy in London.
Stamped by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in the UAE.
You can carry out this process by sending or taking the document to these various offices, or there are companies that will carry out this process for you.
It was announced on 23 February 2018 that expats currently working in the UAE were no longer required to provide a "Good Conduct Certificate" when changing jobs however, it has been reported that this requirement has been reinstated as of 20 March 2018. It was also reported on 23 February that new work visas obtained from Dubai Free Zones did not require a "Good Conduct Certificate", which was not applied in practice, as the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs in Dubai (DNRD) still required the provision of a "Good Conduct Certificate" after this announcement.
Given the recency of the announcement on 20 March 2018 we have not yet seen the practical effect. It is advisable that all expats securing new employment or changing employment, who have not been resident in the UAE for more than five years should obtain the ACRO Police Certificate.
VirtuGroup are company formation specialists and we have established over 14,000 companies since 2009. The BBG Director of Membership, Paul Bryson is the Director of Domestic Structuring at VirtuGroup where we offer specialist mainland services and advice, including corporate nominee shareholding and local partner services, allowing clients to maintain 100% ownership control of their business. We advise on the most suitable corporate vehicle and assist you through the company formation or company restructuring process, as well as with visa applications and other business requirements.
Should you wish to discuss the content of this article or any other matter further, please contact me at email@example.com or the VirtuGroup team on +971 4 457 8200