A Police Certificate is an official statement about you issued by An Garda Síochána (the Irish police force).
It is generally used by those who reside in Ireland and who wish to partake in professional or educational activities abroad. It is required by some foreign authorities and provides some information regarding your background in Ireland.
The Police Certificate, which is normally valid for 1 year, states your:
- Date of birth
- Criminal record in Ireland (this does not include adult cautions)
This document provides information about the purpose of the Police
Certificate, as well as detail on how to apply for one.
What is a Police Certificate for?
The Gardaí will only issue you with a Police Certificate in limited circumstances. This includes if you are:
- Applying to a foreign consular authority
- Applying for a foreign visa
- Establishing a business in another EU State
It should be noted that a Police Certificate is not the same as Garda vetting, which is a more extensive form of background check required for anyone who works or volunteers with children or vulnerable adults.
You should also note that the Irish spent convictions legislation cannot be used to prevent disclosure when you are required to disclose information about your criminal convictions to another state.
How to apply
Requests for Police Certificates are not processed in your local Garda station but are sent to the Superintendent for the district where you live, or used to live. If you leave your application into your local Garda station for forwarding to the Superintendent for the district, you should take note of the Garda's name or shoulder number.
Your application should include the following:
- A completed Police Certificate Application form (pdf)
- A certified copy of your passport, driving licence or similar for identification purposes
- Proof of address or proof of previous addresses
The Police Certificate is issued free of charge and usually takes about 3 weeks to process.
However, if you are living abroad and require a Police Certificate from Ireland for employment purposes, you should get in touch with the local police in the country where you now live. Explain to them what you require and they may get in touch on your behalf with your nearest police station in Ireland and request any relevant information.
Irish people living abroad
Generally speaking, if you are an Irish person living abroad it is not possible to obtain a Police Certificate from Ireland unless you require it:
- For visa purposes
- To apply for residency in another country
In the above instances, write to the Superintendent of your police district here in Ireland and request a Police Certificate.
However, if you are living abroad and require a Police Certificate from Ireland for something like a job, you could get in touch with the local police in the country where you now live. Explain to them what you require and they may get in touch on your behalf with your nearest police station here in Ireland and request this information.
You can access detailed information regarding the Police Certificate, including a Frequently Asked Questions document (pdf), on the Garda Síochana website.