Child protection isn’t just something that we are concerned about in the UK, or even in Western Europe. Every year, many thousands of British nationals head overseas to take up a teaching, healthcare or voluntary position which involves working closely with people under the age of 18. The International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) is designed just for these sorts of individuals, either UK nationals or former UK residents, who intend to work with children abroad. Developed collaboratively by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and ACRO, the ICPC is a vital tool to stop known offenders from travelling overseas to exploit vulnerable children. Applying for an ICPC through ACRO is straightforward, and there is plenty of guidance online.


What Is the ICPC?

The ICPC is a comprehensive record of someone’s personal details and criminal record and will always include the following information:

  • Personal details – the ICPC will show the basic personal details of the holder such as name, address, nationality, along with a photograph.
  • Criminal records – the ICPC will show applicable convictions, cautions, warnings, or official reprimands. Not all criminal records may be disclosed, as the very oldest or least relevant matters will be disregarded by the police. If police authorities overseas have shared information with the UK, this may be included too.
  • Intelligence – the ICPC may also contain other information held about an individual by the police.


Getting an ICPC

Applying for an ICPC isn’t difficult and starts by filling in the form online. Applicants will need to provide a recent digital photograph with a neutral background, like a passport photograph. This can be a selfie taken on your mobile phone. You will also need to upload a copy of your passport in colour, and have an email address so ACRO can send updates. ACRO will also ask for a full address history covering the previous 10 years, and for you to disclose any known criminal record.


Other Key Points about the ICPC

  • It is possible to apply for an ICPC on behalf of someone else, as long as you have their written permission to do so.
  • Processing time takes up to 30 days, and remember to factor in addition time for postage.
  • Although the application is all online, the delivery of the actual certificate is still in hard copy format through the post.
  • Many countries around the world recognise the ICPC but not all do, so check before applying.
  • Depending on the country you are dealing with, you might need to get the ICPC officially verified as authentic. This process is known as Apostille and will come with additional cost.


Validity of ICPC

Just as with other certificates such as DBS, there will be no expiry day on your ICPC. This means that if you want to apply for another similar position at a later date, you may have to go through the process again. Always check with the organisation you will be working with, as some countries have additional legal requirements beyond the ICPC.