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A police certificate confirms whether or not you have a criminal record in the United Kingdom and is required as part of the visa process by the respective high commission or embassy.
It could also include any foreign criminal history information if it has been made available to the UK.
A police certificate is not required when applying for work in the UK, or if you want to emigrate to the UK.
For more information and costs, and to apply for a police certificate, visit the official ACRO website.