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UK Civil Aviation Regulations

These are published by the CAA on our UK Regulations pages. EU Regulations and EASA Access Guides published by EASA no longer apply in the UK. Our website and publications are being reviewed to update all references. Any references to EU law and EASA Access guides should be disregarded and where applicable the equivalent UK versions referred to instead.

If a check of criminal records has revealed any unspent disqualifying conviction(s), the person in question will not normally be able to successfully complete a background check, and so will not be able to work in any part of the aviation industry where a background check is required.

This is because unspent convictions for offences that involve violence, dishonesty or abuse of trust can indicate vulnerability to pressure or improper influence, or liability to committing a breach of security.

In these cases, the person may apply to the Secretary of State for Transport for a ‘Certificate of Disregard’.

Applicants should note that if a certificate of disregard is granted and a background check is successfully completed they will be eligible to be employed in the area concerned, but the employer will make the final employment decision. Similarly, the final decision on issuing an airside pass rests with the pass issuing authority, and this certificate does not mandate that a pass must be issued.

Applying for a Certificate of Disregard

Applications must be submitted to the CAA. We will check that all the necessary documents and information have been provided and pass this information to the Department for Transport (DfT). The DfT will then assess the application and make a decision based on the information provided.

The process is designed around two key questions:

  1. Does the conviction and the information provided suggest that the person is a threat to aviation security?
  2. Based on the information provided, does the applicant demonstrate honesty, reliability and trustworthiness sufficient to work in an aviation security role that requires a background check?

Please read all of the following information before submitting your application.

What we need

The applicant must provide:

  • A valid disclosure certificate (dated within 10 weeks of issue and, where possible, an original);
  • A clear explanation of why, in your opinion, the disqualifying conviction should be disregarded. This should include an information relating to the assessment criteria below;
  • At least one character reference, see below;
  • Any documentation available from the criminal trial(s) that resulted in the disqualifying conviction(s).

You may also want to consider including letters of support from:

  • A solicitor, trade union or other representative body,
  • Your employer / potential employer,
  • The airport pass issuing authority.

You may also include any other information that you consider relevant in demonstrating your good character before or since the conviction(s).

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Assessment criteria

  1. Age of the conviction: recent convictions 'score' higher than older convictions. If the applicant has more than one disqualifying conviction on record, this will be based on the most recent conviction.
  2. Seriousness of the offence: this is based on the sentence handed down for each conviction. Custodial sentences, including suspended sentences, score higher than small fines or short community service orders.
  3. Nature of the conviction: This is based on what the conviction is and who the victim was, and takes into account the defendant's plea in court. E.g. a conviction for grievous bodily harm on an innocent victim will score higher than minor theft or criminal damage.
  4. Circumstances surrounding the conviction: Any mitigating factors that the applicant puts forward (e.g. provocation, misunderstanding, or immaturity) will be considered. Whether or not the applicant has a pattern of offending or multiple convictions will also be considered.
  5. Character references: These will be assessed based on who they are from and the weight and depth of what is written. For more information, see the section below.
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Character references

Any application for a Certificate of Disregard must have at least one character reference, but ideally you will provide two or more.

Character references will be assessed on two factors, the repute of the person who has written the reference and what they say.

The person will ideally be someone who:

  • Holds a position of suitable standing like a probation officer, police officer, lawyer, doctor, MP or councillor; and
  • You have known for several years.

If the reference comes from an employer, it should be from someone with direct management responsibility, and include how long they've known you and when you started work there.

The reference should state:

  • When they became aware of your convictions;
  • Their experiences of your overall integrity, honesty and trustworthiness; and
  • Anything else that reflects upon your suitability to complete a background check and work in an aviation security role.
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How to apply

Please complete the application form and send it, along with originals of all supporting documentation (above), to:

Certificate of Disregard Team
Aviation Security
5th Floor
11 Westferry Circus
E14 4HD

Please submit all certificate of disregard applications and queries to: Avsec.COD@caa.co.uk

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What happens next

As long as no additional information is required, we will aim to notify you of the decision within 28 days. If additional information is required or if the decision might for any other reason come after this period we will contact you as soon as possible explaining the delay.

Where a decision is made to grant the certificate of disregard it will be issued by post. The certificate will list all of the disqualifying convictions it relates to and state that they can be permanently disregarded from aviation security background checks.

Where a decision is made not to grant a certificate the reasons for refusal will be provided in a determination letter. If you want to dispute the reason for your refusal you have the right to appeal to the DfT within 28 days of notification of refusal, details of how to appeal will be sent at the same time as your determination letter.

Original copies of your basic disclosure certificate and any court papers will be returned after a decision has been made. Other information provided, such as references and application forms, will not be returned.

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