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Can You Use DBS Checks Overseas? Our Guide

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One of the more common queries surrounding DBS checks is, in fact, can you use DBS checks overseas?

This question mainly applies to those wishing to obtain a DBS check for work overseas, but this blog will also touch on applying for a DBS check when you’re abroad.

So, what is the guidance surrounding DBS checks and their use overseas? This blog aims to provide you with the latest information, so you can be more informed about the process.

DBS Checks are a UK check

Before considering whether a DBS check can be used abroad, it is important to note that a DBS check is a check of a UK criminal record history.

This is not to say that information from other countries will never be included. However, only relevant information held on the UK Police National Computer (PNC), and potentially other information held by the UK police authorities, will be included on the certificate.

This means that if an individual has lived abroad at some point during their life, any criminal record from that period will not necessarily be disclosed on the certificate if the UK police authorities don’t hold any record of it.

Is the organization UK-based?

One of the key questions when determining if a DBS check can be used overseas is to establish whether a check can be requested.

A higher level of DBS check, such as a standard or enhanced check, can only be requested by a company/organization and not an individual. As such, this check can only be requested by UK-based companies and not companies abroad.

But if a company is based in the UK, and they are recruiting in the UK, they would still typically be eligible to apply for a check on behalf of an individual even if the individual’s activities were carried out overseas. An example would be a UK-based organization recruiting those currently based in the UK to work in an international school as a teacher.

The crucial point is that the recruitment decision is made by a UK-based company and applied for from the UK. In this sense, the DBS check is being used abroad, but has been requested in the UK.

Is the applicant UK-based?

One of the trickier aspects of determining whether you can use DBS checks overseas is when the applicant is not based in the UK.

When applying for DBS checks, applicant should usually be based in the UK. If an employer is recruiting an applicant from overseas, they should try to wait until they have arrived in the UK before submitting an application.

If the check needs to be requested whilst the applicant is still living abroad, this can be done by completing the applicants address history accurately. A care of address should also be included, which means a UK address that the certificate can be sent to upon the applicant’s arrival.

It is important to note, that this process will only apply if the employer will be based in the UK. Otherwise, it is unlikely a DBS check can be requested.

Can you use DBS checks overseas? A summary

As we have explored, assessing whether a DBS check can be used overseas is something which can be difficult to confirm.

So, what are the key points to remember?

  • A DBS check is a check of UK data, so it is likely to only hold information on crimes which have been committed whilst the individual has been living in the UK.
  • For a higher level of DBS check, the organization needs to be based in the UK in order to apply for the check on behalf of an individual. The DBS check can then apply to work they are doing overseas, so long as the recruitment decision was made in the UK by a UK-based organization.
  • To confirm any queries about applying for a DBS check when the applicant is overseas, or any other questions, contact the DBS directly.

Be sure to get in touch with us if you have any further questions. You can apply for a number of DBS Checks through our simple online platform – most checks are completed within 48 hours. Get started now.

Our blogs are advisory in nature and reflect uCheck Limited’s current thinking about best and common practice in the subjects discussed.

The information contained in our blogs have been provided for information purposes only. This information does not constitute legal, professional, or commercial advice. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the content is up to date, useful and accurate, uCheck gives no guarantees, undertakings, or warranties in this regard, or, for any loss or damage caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with reliance on the use of such information.

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