Certificates of Disregard

How to make an application for a disqualifying conviction to be disregarded

If a criminal record certificate has revealed an unspent disqualifying conviction(s), applicants who would like their case to be considered by the Secretary of State for Transport through CAA, can apply for a ‘Certificate of disregard’.

Supporting information must include:

  • the valid criminal record certificate
  • any documentation available from the criminal trial that led to the disqualifying conviction(s).

It may also include a note from the pass applicant’s solicitor, trade union or other representative.

Character references

This may be from a sponsoring employer or any person or body who the applicant considers is relevant and of suitable standing.

The character reference should state:

  • when the referee became aware of the pass applicant’s conviction(s),
    (if from an employer it should be from someone with direct management responsibility for the applicant and should state the date upon which the pass applicant commenced work for the employer or is due to commence work),
  • the referee’s experience of the applicant in terms of his overall integrity, and anything else which reflects upon the applicant’s suitability to hold a full pass.

The application may contain any other information that the applicant considers relevant in demonstrating his or her good character before or since the conviction(s).

Send the application, and supporting documentation detailed to:

Aviation Security Regulation Team
Civil Aviation Authority,
CAA House
45-59 Kingsway,
London, WC2B 6TE

Assessment of the application

The CAA will reach a view on whether the disqualifying conviction(s) may be disregarded for the purposes of a full pass being issued by the airport manager / pass issuer.

Unspent convictions for offences that involve violence, dishonesty or abuse of trust are disqualifying offences as they can indicate that the individual’s behaviour makes him or her vulnerable to pressure or improper influence or liable to commit a breach of security.

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 determines when a conviction becomes ‘spent’; for example, a sentence of a fine or compensation will normally become spent 1 year from the date of the conviction, so long as no other convictions have since been received. Only unspent convictions will be considered in determining the issue of a full pass or a ‘Certificate of disregard’. CAA will consider the information supplied by the pass applicant and the relevant circumstances of the case, including (but not limited to) the age of the conviction(s) and its seriousness. CAA may need to request additional information from the applicant, such as more details about the conviction. 

Notices of decisions

If the CAA does not require additional information from the pass applicant in order to determine an application, it will endeavor to issue a determination letter to the pass applicant within 28 days of receipt, or will contact the applicant within this 28 day period to inform the applicant when they can expect a reply. Notice of the decision will be given to the applicant.

Where a decision is made that the disqualifying conviction may be disregarded, a ‘Certificate of disregard’ will be issued to the pass applicant. The ‘Certificate of disregard’ will state that the disqualifying conviction(s) may be permanently disregarded for the purposes of issuing a full pass. 

If the CAA decides that the disqualifying convictions(s) should not be disregarded, reasons for refusing to issue a ‘Certificate of disregard’ will be given in the determination letter.


  • Applicants have a right to appeal to a higher authority within CAA if they dispute the reason for refusal.
  • Details of how to appeal will be sent to the applicant if their application is refused.
  • Any appeal shall be lodged within 28 days of notification of refusal.


  • where a valid criminal record certificate shows an unspent disqualifying conviction(s), a full pass may not be issued unless a ‘Certificate of disregard’ has been issued authorising that the conviction(s) may be disregarded. Neither shall a temporary pass be issued in the interim.

  • a criminal record certificate is valid for up to ten weeks from the date of issue, but the period during which CAA is determining an application for a ‘Certificate of disregard’ (and during any subsequent appeal) will not count towards the 10 weeks.