ACRO or ICPC – Which Police Clearance Certificate do you need to teach ESL overseas?

There are several types of Criminal Record Checks available for those living in the UK, which you can read about here. If you're teaching ESL overseas, which one should you apply for? Here we will look at the types of clearance certificates that are most commonly requested for these job roles and which you may be required to provide.

In this article

What We’ll Cover

  • What an ACRO Police Certificate is

  • What an ICPC Clearance is

  • Which one you will require to teach overseas

  • How to have it legalised for your new job

ACRO Police Clearance Certificate

This is the most common type of police clearance certificate to be legalised for UK citizens moving overseas. They are the most internationally recognised by employers for legalisation purposes. These are acceptable for all job roles and sectors.

ACRO certificates are issued by the Criminal Records Office and detail any previously spent or pending convictions. When using an ACRO for legalisation purposes to apply for your visa, you will be required to provide the original document for legalisation.

An ACRO can be requested online – you must apply for this yourself and upload a series of documents and an ID as part of the process.

International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC Certificate)

The ICPC is also issued by the Criminal Records Office, but this disclosure is more specifically aimed at those applicants who will be working directly with children. This report details the same previously spent or pending convictions as the ACRO certificate, but in addition it provides an assessment of available intelligence which is relevant in the safeguarding of children. This includes information which does not relate to any officially recorded convictions.

Any offences committed overseas will also appear on this certificate, provided they have been communicated and recorded by the UK Police or other law enforcement agencies.

Which type of Police Clearance Certificate should I apply for?

If you have been asked to provide a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) for your job role, the ACRO is usually acceptable for visa purposes. If you are working directly with children, it would be best to check with your employer directly whether they have a preference as to which you should provide.

Recently, we have had customers who are taking up teaching positions in China submitting both an ACRO and an ICPC at the request of their employers. This is generally for those in higher positions of trust, such as headteachers, but is becoming a more common practice across the board. This is to cover both child protection concerns as well as a more general criminal background check for those in more managerial positions.

If you’re unsure which you should apply for, it is best to check before starting the legalisation process. This is because for most destinations, PCCs are time-sensitive. For example, for China it must have been issued within 6 months of you taking the position in order to be accepted. If your PCC is older than this at the time of applying for your Chinese Z-Visa, you will be required to re-apply and start the legalisation process again, costing you valuable time and money.

How do I have the document legalised for use overseas?

Wherever you’re going to teach ESL, we can assist with the legalisation of all of your documents, including the Criminal Background Checks. Simply visit our site and request a personalised quotation based on your requirements. You can also give us a call directly on +44 (0) 330 088 1142, send us a message via WhatsApp, use our live chat system, or e-mail us at Our friendly team of specialists are on hand to answer all of your queries.

key takeaways

Key Takeaways

There are several types of police clearances available in the UK, and which you require will depend on your job role and where you are teaching. Although an ACRO is usually acceptable for teaching positions, it’s best to check if your employer requires a more in-depth clearance before you apply. Remember that both the ACRO and ICPC should be legalised on the original documents. 

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Ashraf Vachhiat
Ashraf Vachhiat

Ashraf is the Marketing Technologist at Vital Consular, which means he handles all the technicalities involved in bringing this blog to life! He also enjoys creating in-depth articles around current affairs which impact the travel and relocation industry. In his free time, Ashraf relishes travelling as much as possible, and is always looking for quirky spots to take some great photos.

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