DBS checks are a vital tool for employers, helping to ensure they’re making safe recruitment decisions. But what about DBS checks overseas?

If your organisation carries out DBS checks on its employees, then you may occasionally need to check the criminal record of somebody who is or has been living overseas. However, the process may differ from that of a UK-based applicant.

In this blog, we’ll explain how to obtain a criminal record check for an overseas applicant.

 

When should I carry out DBS checks overseas?

You should apply the same eligibility criteria to overseas applicants as you do to UK applicants.

Check out the government’s eligibility guidelines to see if a prospective employee requires a check. If an overseas applicant meets the criteria, you should obtain a criminal record check before they begin work.

 

How should I carry out a criminal record check for an applicant based overseas?

If the applicant has spent a significant amount of time living outside the UK, then it’s likely that a DBS check will not yield a full picture of their criminal history.

This is because any convictions that happen outside the UK are unlikely to be recorded on the UK Police National Computer, and the DBS is unable to access criminal records held overseas.

As such, if an applicant has spent a significant amount of time living overseas, or has only recently moved to the UK, then you should try to obtain a criminal record check from the country they’ve been living in.

The process for obtaining a check varies from country to country. The DBS provides a list of countries from A to Z, detailing how to obtain a criminal record check from each one, so refer to this list and follow the guidelines for the relevant country.

If the applicant has also lived in the UK, then you should carry out a DBS check in addition to a criminal record check from any other country they’ve lived in.

 

What about UK applicants who are currently overseas?

If you need to obtain a check for someone who has been living in the UK but is currently overseas, it is possible to carry out a DBS check.

However, the process would be more difficult than usual due to the fact that, as the employer, you would still need to see the applicant’s identification documents in person.

The DBS ID checking guidance does allow you to verify the ID documents via a live video link, but you would still need the applicant to send you the physical documents so that you can inspect them in person.

It’s important to bear in mind that if your applicant is based overseas and they require a criminal record check through the DBS, the recruitment decision needs to be made in the UK.

 

DBS Checks Overseas: A Summary

We hope our guide to DBS checks overseas has made the process clearer. Here’s a round up of the key points:

  • If the applicant has been living overseas, you should obtain a criminal record check from the country they’ve been living in, as per the DBS guidance for the relevant country.
  • It’s possible to carry out a DBS check for a UK applicant who is currently overseas, but you must be in physical possession of the correct ID documents to carry out the ID check.
  • If an applicant has lived both in the UK and overseas, you should obtain a DBS check and potentially a criminal record check from any other country they’ve lived in.

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – we’re always happy to help.

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