How to Apply for DBS Check

Previously referred to as a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check, a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, is a service designed to promote a safe working environment across the UK.


Commonly called a “disclosure”, employers use a DBS check to make sure that the person they’re hiring doesn’t have outstanding criminal records, convictions, reprimands, and warnings. In short, it’s the industry’s way of telling whether or not an individual is a trustworthy person.


The Three Types of DBS Checks


There are three types of DBS checks. The first one is the basic DBS check which suits any purpose and is readily accessible online.


The second one is called the standard DBS check which is made for specific professions such as:


  • A contractor on regulated sites such as schools and hospitals
  • Social Care
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Childcare
  • Dental Care
  • Legal

The third type of DBS check is the enhanced DBS check which is usually reserved for those who are working with children or vulnerable groups.


Applying for a DBS Check as an Individual


Individuals can only apply for a basic DBS check. Employers can also request for a basic DBS check on behalf of their staff. Standard and enhanced DBS check are available only to organisations.


Below is a quick guide on how to apply for a basic DBS check:


  1. Verify your identity through the government’s secure portal, GOV.UK Verify. What you will need:

  • Addresses for the past 5 years, including the dates you lived there.
  • National Insurance Number
  • Credit or debit card
  • Valid, government-issued proof of identity

  1. Once the verification process is complete, fill out the DBS online application form. This step will take about 15 minutes to complete. Remember that the DBS online application form will NEVER ask for your criminal record.

  1. After completing the form, you will be asked where you would like to send your disclosure certificate. You can choose to send it to your address or to your employer.

It’s best to have the certificate sent to you first so that you can be confident that you don’t have unspent criminal records when presenting it to your employer.


  1. A confirmation email containing your application reference number will be sent to your email after the application process.

  1. You can track the status of your application using your reference number, surname, or birthday.

  1. Once your disclosure certificate is ready, DBS will send you a letter saying that the paper version of your disclosure will be posted to you. The letter will also include an authorization code which you can use to access your certificate online. The online version of your DBS certificate will be available for 28 days.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of applying for a basic DBS check yourself, you can seek the help of these accredited organisations.


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