Criminal record checks when you apply for a role

Checking process

You need to fill in an online or paper form, depending on the type of check you need.

You’ll get the form from your employer or a ‘responsible organisation’ - these are organisations registered with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to process checks.

You’ll need to provide documents to prove your identity.

If you need a basic check

Your employer may ask you to request your own check instead.

If you need a standard or enhanced check

You can download a continuation sheet if you need more space to write.

How long it takes

Basic checks take up to 14 days. Enhanced and standard checks usually take around 8 weeks.

It may take shorter or longer, depending on:

  • the type of check
  • if the details given for the check are correct
  • what police forces need to be involved in the check

You can track your DBS check application online.

Receiving your certificate

Certificates have security features to prove they’re genuine, including:

  • a ‘crown seal’ watermark repeated down the right side, visible both on the surface and when held up to the light
  • a background design featuring the word ‘Disclosure’, which appears in a wave-like pattern across both sides of a certificate - the pattern’s colour alternates between blue and green on the reverse
  • ink and paper that change colour when wet

Once your check is complete

A DBS check only shows your convictions on the date you get the check.

You can join the update service to make sure your check stays up-to-date if you have a standard or enhanced check.

If you have a basic check, register an online services account to update your certificate or allow an employer to view it.

Lost certificates

DBS cannot provide replacements for lost or damaged certificates so your employer will have to start the process again.

Contact DBS

Contact the DBS helpline with any questions.

If you send an email include your full name, address, telephone number and any DBS reference numbers.

DBS customer services
Telephone: 0300 0200 190
Welsh: 0300 0200 191
Minicom: 0300 0200 192
International: +44 151 676 9390
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (9am to 5pm for appeals and disputes)
Saturday, 10am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

DBS customer services
PO Box 3961
Royal Wootton Bassett

Transgender applications

Contact the DBS sensitive applications team if you’re a transgender applicant and you do not want to reveal details of your previous identity to a potential employer.

DBS sensitive applications team
0151 676 1452
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Find out about call charges