Are DBS Checks Internationally Recognised?

If candidates apply for jobs where safeguarding is a consideration, they must apply for a DBS check online.

DBS checks are conducted to verify a person’s suitability for the role, ensuring they are safe to work with children and vulnerable adults.

The scope of the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly known as the Criminal Records Bureau) does not extend beyond the UK’s shores. That said, what if a candidate arriving into the UK for work already has evidence of a clean criminal history from their country of origin? That’s what this guide will explore.

Should You Complete a DBS Check for an Applicant Living Abroad?

Tracking and checking applicants' criminal records for jobs working with children and vulnerable adults is a common practice worldwide. DBS checks are vital for ensuring that vulnerable people coming into contact with others are kept safe and protected. .

There is the PVG system (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) in Scotland, and in Northern Ireland, AccessNI checks. These criminal record checking services are all put in place to ensure the people employed by companies and organisations trusted to protect vulnerable people are safe to do so.

What Are the International Alternatives to a DBS Check?

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) primarily has access to UK police records. Therefore, if someone is arriving in the UK to perform a role considered a regulated activity (i.e. if their job requires a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check), it’s essential to obtain an equivalent international criminal record check on any prospective employee living abroad.

When employing an applicant based outside of the UK or who has lived abroad for an extended period, it’s crucial to obtain criminal record checks from the relevant countries. Not doing so can have serious implications.

In this blog, Online DBS Checks will discuss which organisations are equivalent worldwide, their fees and for how long the certificates are valid after their issuance.

1) France - Casier Judiciaire

In France, the organisation responsible for logging criminal records is the Casier Judiciare. The applicant can contact them for an “extract from the criminal records” (translated to “Extrait du Casier Judiciaire”). This extract can only be obtained by the applicant; it will show an employer their eligibility based on their criminal record and is valid for 12 months after being released to the applicant.

2) Germany - Führungszeugnis

The relevant organisation in Germany is the Führungszeugnis, which translates to “criminal record” but is known colloquially as the “police certificate of good conduct”. If this certificate is to show to an employer, it is known as a “private certificate of good conduct” and will cost the applicant €13 to obtain.

3) Italy - Procura della Repubblica

In Italy, the Procura della Repubblica holds criminal records, which translates to “Prosecutor’s Office”. Their pricing for records can seem quite confusing as records are available to the applicant for €3.92 which covers certificate rights, with an extra €16 of stamp duty per two pages. Certificates from the Procura della Repubblica are valid for 6 months from their date of issue.

4) Spain - Certificado de Antecedentes Penales

The organisation responsible in Spain is the Ministerio de Justicia. They will provide you with a Certificado de Antecedentes Penales ("criminal record certificate") for €3.86. However, according to the Ministerio de Justicia, this does not qualify you to work regularly with minors; for that, you require the Certificado de Delitos de Naturaleza Sexual. So if the role you’re hiring for requires this, it would be a good idea to ask applicants who have lived in Spain for long periods also to obtain this.

5) Portugal - Certificado do Registo Criminal

The Portuguese equivalent of a Standard DBS Check is a Certificado do Registo Criminal, which translates to “criminal record certificate”. An applicant can obtain this certificate for €5, plus €3.25 for it to be mailed abroad, such as to the UK. This certificate is valid for only 3 months after the date of issuance.

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