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4 October 2023

Can I get a UK visa if I have a criminal record?

If you have previous criminal convictions, have a criminal record or have served time in prison, it may affect your UK visa application.
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
criminal record

Applying for a UK visa can be a long and complicated process, and the approval or denial of your application can depend on a number of factors. 

Skilled Worker (inc educational and health care workers), Entrepreniral and  Investor Visa applications require a police criminal background check to be supplied. You can learn about the background check process for your country on the Government’s website. 

Each country has a different application process and fee, so you must check your country’s requirements fully before you apply.

Failure to supply a background check with your visa application will likely lead to automatic rejection.

Coming to the UK with a criminal record

If you know you have a criminal record and have spent time in prison, your visa application may be automatically denied. Here are the three main reasons for denial:

  • Your sentence was between 1-4 years long and ended less than 10 years ago
  • Your sentence was less than 12 months but ended less than 5 years ago
  • Your sentence was more than 4 years long



You are applying for a UK visa in January 2024. You spent 24 months in prison between January 2010 and January 2012. Your application will be approved because your 24-month sentence ended more than ten years ago. 


You are applying for a UK visa in January 2024. You spent 24 months in prison between January 2020 and January 2022. Your application will be denied because your 24-month sentence ended less than ten years ago.

If you were sentenced to, or served, four more years in prison at any point in your life, your application will always be denied.

Contact us

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