Basic DBS checks: guidance

Guidance on basic DBS checks including how to apply, the cost and what information is disclosed on a basic certificate.

A basic DBS check is a criminal record check that you can request for yourself. You may also be asked to request a basic check by your employer.

Is a basic DBS check for me?

A basic DBS check can be used for any position or purpose, however for certain roles, you may need a higher level of criminal record check.

Find out if you need a basic DBS check or ask your employer if you’re not sure.

How do I apply for a basic DBS check?

You can apply directly to DBS for a basic check using our online application route.

There are other ways to apply.

How much is a basic DBS check and how do I pay?

All basic checks, including volunteer applications, are £18. Payment can be made with a debit or credit card. Google Pay or Apple Pay can also be used.

Who is paying for your DBS check?

If you are paying for your own basic check, payment can be made during the application process.

If someone else, for example an employer is paying for your basic check, you will be given the option to pay later.

Payment must be completed within 10 days of your application. You will receive a payment link via email, which can then be forwarded to someone else to complete payment. For example, you may want an employer or relative to do this. You can also use this option to pay later.

Your application will not be processed until payment is made.

How long will my basic DBS check take?

Most basic checks will be processed within 14 days.

What information is disclosed on a basic DBS certificate?

A basic check will contain details of convictions and conditional cautions considered to be ‘unspent’ under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 aims to give those with convictions or cautions the chance - in certain circumstances - to wipe the slate clean and start afresh.

Under the Act, eligible convictions or cautions become ‘spent’ after a specified period of time known as the ‘rehabilitation period’, the length of which varies depending on how the individual was dealt with.

A table of rehabilitation periods for the most common sentences and disposals can be found here, along with some example scenarios.

DBS basic check results

If you apply directly to DBS for your basic check, using our online application route, and provide us with your mobile number, we can use this to text you a security code that will allow you to view and share the result of your check online if it does not feature conviction information.

DBS online account

After applying for a basic check, you will be invited to create a DBS online account if you don’t already have one.

You can use your online account to apply for and manage products and services available to you as an individual. This includes:

  • viewing your own basic certificate online
  • giving consent to third parties to view it
  • getting in touch via webchat
  • sending an enquiry
  • withdrawing your basic check application

To access these services, create a DBS online account or if you already have an account, log in here.

How do I withdraw my basic DBS check application?

You can ask to withdraw your application online if you are logged in to your DBS online account. Alternatively, if you do not have a DBS online account, you can contact us on 03000 200 190.

DBS is unable to withdraw a basic DBS check once the certificate is ready for issue.

Can I dispute the information on my basic DBS certificate?

You can raise a dispute about the content of your basic certificate if any of the following apply:

  • personal information is incorrect, such as a name or place of birth
  • incorrect information regarding conviction details
  • the conviction details do not belong to you

To raise a dispute, use your DBS online account.

DBS Update Service

The Update Service is not available for basic DBS checks.

Other ways to apply

You can also apply for your basic DBS check through a Responsible Organisation – these are organisations registered with DBS to submit basic checks on your behalf.

Your employer can also request a basic DBS check on your behalf, if they have your consent, via a Responsible Organisation.

Published 4 July 2019
Last updated 6 April 2022 + show all updates
  1. Fee updated from £23 to £18.

  2. Payment information updated to reflect that someone else is now able to pay for an individual's basic check.

  3. Fee information updated.

  4. First published.