This section of our guide is intended for those individuals at each company or organisation who will be responsible for checking the ID of applicants. If you are an applicant who has been asked to complete a form and want guidance on what you need to fill in, please go here.

Too much information? If your problems are straightforward and you don't need much help, try our more concise guide, which is available here.

You may also find the DBS's own guidelines useful.

Who can check ID?

When a company or organisation registers with us, we ask for a list of the people they wish to authorise to check ID. This will normally be the person or people responsible for arranging the DBS checks. Anyone employed at one of our client organisations can be nominated to check ID: the only requirement is that you let us know whenever you wish to add or remove a name from the list.
Additionally, please be aware that it is against DBS rules for an individual to check their own ID. That means that if the person who will be your primary ID checker will need to be DBS checked themselves, you will have to nominate at least one other person to check ID.

What ID Is Acceptable?

When applying for a Disclosure, every applicant must prove that they are who they say they are by presenting a range of documents that prove their identity. The documents that the DBS consider acceptable for this purpose are divided into three groups, based on how reliable and trustworthy they are. The groups are as follows:

Group 1 includes the most trustworthy documents, such as passports and UK birth certificates.
Group 2a includes documents issued by the government, such as marriage/civil partnership certificates.
Group 2b includes documents that show the applicant’s financial and social history, such as bank statements, utility bills, or benefit statements.

You can find a complete list of what ID falls into each of these three categories here.

You should ask to see the applicant's original documents so that you can be sure they have not been tampered with. When you have examined them, please photocopy all the ID and send the photocopies to us with the form so that we can check the details. Please don't send us original ID, as it can be very expensive to send it back securely!

With every application, you should try to ensure that the ID you have seen confirms, at a minimum, the applicant's full name, date of birth, and current address.

How Many Items of ID?

The DBS has laid out three different methods or “routes” for validating an applicant’s identity, each with different requirements. All applicants should try to follow Route One wherever possible.

Please note there are are specific requirements for applicants who are not UK citizens, which are explained further below.

Route One

For Route One, the applicant must produce three documents as follows:

  • One document from Group 1.
  • Two further documents from any group. One of these documents must show the applicant’s current address.

Most applicants should be able to satisfy these requirements. Those who can't should use either Route Two or Route Three.

Route Two

This route should only be used if an applicant cannot use Route One. For Route Two, an applicant must produce three documents as follows:

  • One document from Group 2a.
  • Two further documents from Group 2a or 2b. One of these documents must show the applicant’s current address.

The applicant will also need to go through an external ID check, which we can provide for you for an additional cost of £10. If you are using Route Two and need an external check, please include a note on your compliments slip or covering letter requesting one. We do not need any additional information other than that on the DBS form.

Route Three

This route should only be used if an applicant cannot use Route One or Route Two. Before using this route, you shold talk to the applicant and ensure they have valid reasons for not being able to produce sufficient ID, and ensure that they cannot obtain any additional ID that would allow them to use a different Route (e.g. applying for a passport, or requesting copies of a birth certificate from the GRO).You should keep a record of this discussion for future reference. For Route Three, an applicant must produce five documents as follows:

  • A UK birth certificate.
  • One further document from Group 2a.
  • Three further documents from Group 2a or 2b. One of these documents must show the applicant’s current address.

If the applicant cannot provide these documents, they will need to go for fingerprinting.

Checking non-UK nationals

The DBS have created additional restrictions for applicants who are not citizens of the UK, to ensure that their identity can be properly confirmed. These restrictions differ depending on whether an applicant is from a country in the European Economic Area or not.

Applicants who are not EEA Nationals must be validated via Route One only; they cannot use Route Two or Three. They must show their current passport, their Biometric Residence Permit OR their UK Work Permit/Visa, and one further item from any Group.

Applicants who are EEA Nationals, and who have lived in the UK for five years or less, should be validated via Route One. They must show a valid passport OR a current UK photocard driving licence, plus two other items from any Group. They may be validated by Route Two or Three if they cannot provide enough ID, but you must ensure that there is a valid reason why they cannot produce enough documentation for Route One.

Applicants who are EEA Nationals and have lived in the UK for more than five years can be treated as though they were UK Nationals.

The countries of the EEA are as follows: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

Completing the Form

First of all, you should check that the applicant has completed the form correctly, using the applicant's guide as a reference. Check that the identity documents given are valid. You should see the originals of all documents, so that you can ensure they have not been falsified or tampered with. Also make sure that the documents are all in date. A lot of items such as bills need to have been issued within the past few months, or the DBS will not regard them as acceptable. We also see a lot of passports that have expired being presented as proof of identity.
Check that the details given on the form match those on the identity documents.
Once this is done, you must complete sections w and x. These are both on the back page of the form.

Write in black ink only. At the DBS, the forms will be read by a computer that can only accurately read black ink.
Write in capital letters. We have had numerous errors caused by an applicant writing letters in lower case which were then incorrectly read at the DBS.
Leave a blank box between words. For example, enter "ASSISTANT TEACHER" not "ASSISTANTTEACHER",
Do not use correction fluid. If you make a mistake, put a line through the error and write the correct information in the remaining boxes, if there is space. If there isn't space, you can write it as neatly as possible beside or underneath the boxes, or complete a continuation sheet with the correct information. If you make a mistake when crossing a box, then put a cross in the correct box and circle it to indicate that it is the correct one.

Section w - Evidence of Identity

w58 - Name of evidence checker Enter your name, or the name of the person who checked the applicant's ID. This must be one of the people who we have on record as being authorised to check ID.
w59 - Have you established the true identity of the applicant? Crossing the "yes" box confirms that you have seen and checked the applicant's ID. If you were unable to validate the applicant's identity using any of the three Routes, you will have to cross the "no" box. The DBS will then automatically arrange for the applicant to have their fingerprints taken at their local police station.

Section x - Apply for a CRB/DBS Check

x60 Do Not Use(The question that was previously here was removed after the government changed their plans regarding the vetting and barring service.)
x61 Position applied for On the first line, you should state whether your applicant is working with children, vulnerable adults, both or neither. If your applicant is working with children, you should write "Child Workforce". If your applicant is working with vulnerable adults, you should write, "Adult Workforce". If your applicant is working with both children and vulnerable adults, you should write "Child and Adult Workforce. If your applicant isn't working with children or vulnerable adults, write "Other Workforce".

On the second line, give the applicant's job title. Some job titles will be self explanatory e.g. "teacher" or "care worker". If the meaning of your applicant's job isn't clear from the job title, consider giving a more straightforward description, either instead of or along with the job title. If your applicant is working in a job that wouldn't normally need a DBS check, but which requires one because of where they are working, you should indicate this in the job title field - for example, instead of "cleaner" or "electrician", write "cleaner in care homes" or "electrician in schools".
x62 Organisation name Write the name of your organisation.
x63 Level of DBS check Cross the relevant box to indicate whether you require a Standard or Enhanced check. If you are not sure which level you need or are entitled to, please get in touch and we will be happy to help. If you require a Standard check, you do not need to complete the next three questions, and can proceed to questions x67 and x68.
x64 Are you entitled to know whether the applicant is barred from working with children? If your applicant's job role requires them to work with children, cross the "yes" box. If not, cross the "no" box.
x65 Are you entitled to know whether the applicant is barred from working with vulnerable adults? If your applicant's job role requires them to work with vulnerable adults, cross the "yes" box. If not, cross the "no" box.
x66 Does this position involve working with children or adults at the applicant's home address? Please note that this question relates to the applicant's home address - i.e. the address entered in section b. An example of a job that involves this would be a private music teacher whose pupils go to said teacher's home for tuition. This information is necessary because where this is the case it may be necessary to carry out additional checks on the property and on other individuals living there.
x67 Application Type Cross one of the three boxes.
If the applicant is a new recruit who has only just started working for you, or who has just taken up a new job role with your organisation, cross the "new post holder" box.
If the applicant has been working for you in the position listed in x61 for some time, but has not yet had a DBS check, cross the "existing post holder" box.
If the applicant has been working for you in the position listed in x61 for some time, has previously had a DBS check for that position, and now needs another check, cross the "existing post holder who is being re-checked" box.
x68 Is this application for a free of charge volunteer? If your applicant is a volunteer, cross the "yes" box: if not, cross the "no" box. You can find information on the DBS's definition of a Volunteer on our
FAQ page.

Sending the form in

If you are confident that the form has been completed correctly, send it in to us at the address on our contact page. Remember to include photocopies of all the ID that you have seen so that we can cross-check. Please do not send us any original ID, especially valuable documents like passports and birth certificates - we do not need to see them and it is expensive for us to return them securely. If you normally pay by cheque, remember to include it with the form as well.

You may wish to keep a record of the applicant's date of birth and the Form Reference number. You can find the reference number in the upper right hand corner of the cover sheet of the form: it consists of the letter F followed by 10 numbers. Once the form has been sent to the DBS, you can use this information to track the progress of your form with the DBS's online tracking system. If you want to track an application you have already sent in but don't know these details, we can provide them for you.

Once you have sent in a form, we will take care of the rest of the accuracy checks and corrections, and then send the form to the DBS. If there are any problems with the form, we will try to contact you as soon as possible to correct them. Please remember to check your email and listen to any messages on your phone in the days after sending in a form, and try to respond as promptly as possible, as we cannot send a form on to the DBS until these problems are corrected.

If you have any problems or queries, or if there's anything this guide didn't answer satisfactorily, please get in touch!


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