Criminal Records Check‏‎ in TEFL

A bottle of INNOCENT drink.A Criminal Records Check (CRC) is sometimes carried out when applying for a visa to teach in a foreign country or when applying for a teaching job, notably in South Korea.

It is variously known as a CRC or Police Clearance or Certificate of Character depending on where it issued. In most cases this is by the national authorities of your home country (and not, for example, the local authorities).

Applying for a CRC

Although the process varies according to your nationality, in most cases it will begin by submitting your fingerprints on an official form along with various other documentation which will include your ID, contact details, current and former names, etc.

This is sent to the official authorities in your country (see below), often with a fee which varies depending on where you are. The checking process can take several months to complete so it is best to apply for a CRC as early as possible allowing at least 3 months for the whole process in case of delays.

Following receipt of the CRC it may need to have an apostille‏‎ depending on where you will be using it; this can include having it verified by the embassy of the country you're intending to work in.

In general, CRCs cannot be older than 3 months to be used. They are normally required from your home country however if you are currently living in another country and have been there longer than six months then you may be required to get a CRC from this country also.

Convictions & Countries

Although there are no hard and fast rules, in many cases, minor convictions (e.g. for traffic offences) can be overlooked. Those which are likely to cause problems are:

  • drug offences
  • sexual offences

In some cases you may need to write an official letter to the authorities of the country you are going to work in to explain any convictions.


  • Australia - click here for details. Checks supplied by the either the state police or the federal police depending on your locaion.
  • Canada - click here for details on the process from the RCMP website (cost: 25 CAD + 50 CAD)
  • Ireland - CRC checks can be obtained from your local Garda station and are known as a Certificate of Character.
  • New Zealand - The Ministry of Justice is frequently asked to provide a CRC for persons who wish to apply for residence in a foreign country. See here for more details.
  • South Africa - click here for details on obtaining your CRC, known as a Police Clearance Certificate.
  • UK - a Subject Access Check can be issued from the local police station in England, Wales or Northern Ireland; in Scotland you will find more information at the Disclosure Scotland website.
  • USA - click here for more information; the CRC must be made to the FBI and CRCs from the state authorities are no longer acceptable.
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