DBS eligibility guidance

A collection of documents that you can use to decide whether a role is eligible for a basic, standard or enhanced DBS check.

Employers must be based in England or Wales to apply for a standard or enhanced DBS check, regardless of where the work will take place. This is because the legislation that governs eligibility of checks applies only in England and Wales.

You can use our eligibility tool to find out which roles or activities could be eligible for a basic, standard or enhanced DBS check. It’s in beta phase, which means you’re looking at the first version. It will be continually tested and improved.

The eligibility tool is not intended to act as legal advice and doesn’t cover every role. Before you submit an application for a DBS check you should also read the guidance on this page.

If you need more eligibility advice after using the tool and reading the guidance you can contact DBS.

Eligibility guide

There is no eligibility requirement for a basic DBS check. However if you are considering asking a person to apply for a standard or enhanced DBS check, as an employer, you are legally responsible for making sure the job role is eligible.

This should be done before you countersign each DBS application form.

To determine which level of check a role is eligible for, please refer to the following guidance.

Recruitment of ex-offenders

All employers must treat DBS check applicants who have a criminal record fairly and should not discriminate because of a conviction or other information revealed.

For applicants

If you have been asked to apply for a standard or enhanced DBS check but believe the check is the wrong level, or should not be applied for at all, you can do one of the following.

If the application has already been submitted to us, send an email to and enter ‘IAP’ in the subject line. Include the following details in the email:

  • DBS application reference number, if you have it
  • your name, date of birth and address so we can locate/confirm the relevant record
  • details of what level of DBS check/application you have been asked to apply for
  • the job description and employer’s details

If the application has not already completed, we will halt its progress and provide you with eligibility advice. We may need to contact your employer for further information.

In many cases we may not be able to advise whether the role is eligible for that level of check and you may need to discuss this with your employer or seek your own legal advice.

At any point before the certificate is issued, you can ask us to withdraw the application (fees will not be refunded). If you decide to continue with your application we may not meet our published service standards for issuing the certificate. More information regarding the withdrawal of an application can be found at the link below.

If the application has not yet been submitted to DBS, you should discuss your concerns with your employer and if necessary, seek legal advice.

Published 18 April 2016
Last updated 17 September 2018 + show all updates
  1. Link to DBS Guidance Leaflets added.

  2. Information updated in line with the DBS' new online application for basic checks.

  3. Added a link to the new DBS check eligibility tool.

  4. Updated the page format of eligibility guidance.

  5. First published.