DBS Checks When You Have Lived Abroad

Thousands of employees from across the world come to the UK to work every year, and many of them are recruited for roles that require them to pass a criminal record check. These reviews are regularly carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service, whose DBS and Barred List checks are routinely used by individuals and businesses across England and Wales.

However, it’s common to have concerns about whether these checks become more complicated and time-consuming when the application is for someone who’s lived overseas instead of someone who has always lived in the UK.

As experts in this field, Online DBS Checks want to explain the differences in this circumstance so that if you need to apply for a DBS check for non-UK citizens, the process can run as smoothly as possible.

When to Undertake DBS Checks

Anyone who needs to complete a DBS online application and is worried about whether having previously lived outside the UK will be an issue will be glad to hear that this isn’t the case. DBS eligibility criteria are only based on the relevant job role, so no matter whether you have always lived in the UK or have spent time living abroad, your travel history won’t affect your eligibility for a DBS check.

If you’re instead applying for a DBS check on someone else’s behalf, the same facts still apply. If hiring for roles that involve regulated activity with vulnerable adults and children, companies should always carry out a criminal record check on prospective employees to ensure that they’re not barred from working with vulnerable groups, no matter where they have previously lived.

The DBS Check Process When You’ve Lived Abroad

As you’d probably expect, with the Disclosure and Barring Service being a non-departmental public body, the DBS system only reviews UK police records when a check has been requested. Therefore, if an applicant has previously lived overseas, their entire criminal record may not be accessible.

If international police records need to be reviewed, you need to take steps to contact those forces separately to organise the relevant criminal record checks. If the applicant has lived in several different countries, a separate police record check is required for every location.

If an Enhanced DBS check is required (which requires additional police checks) and a candidate has lived in several countries, this will apply to every country they've lived in and their respective police service.

The Cost of DBS Checks for Overseas Applicants

The vast majority of overseas dbs checks are requested and paid for by companies on their prospective employee's behalf. The cost these checks incur depends on the following:

  • the specific countries involved;
  • and whether relevant certificates need to be translated to be used correctly.

In many cases, the future employer will meet the cost of having these foreign police checks completed. However, this is not always the case, so individuals should always ensure they have brought this up with the hiring business to clarify these details before providing their approvals to move forward with requesting the DBS checks.

Don’t Forget About Identity Checks

Just as with an applicant based in the UK, anyone currently living abroad and looking to work in the UK needs to undergo identity checks during the hiring process. As always, the candidates should provide valid, current and original documents. This can either be done in person or via post when required. Employers should always use video calls to verify these documents with the relevant applicant.

Please note that if you’re applying for an Enhanced or Standard DBS check on a prospective candidate’s behalf, the identity documents they need to provide may change depending on the overseas locations they’ve previously resided.

Starting Work While Checks Pending

Depending on the job specifications of their role, successful candidates could start work while still waiting for their checks to be processed and for a DBS certificate to be delivered.

Due to the more complicated nature of organising the beginning of employment, most applicants from outside the UK will typically need to wait for their DBS and criminal record reviews to be completed. Still, some employers might have alternative duties or training that can be undertaken whilst the parties wait for confirmation.

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