Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) applications

Some programmes at UCL require the satisfactory completion of a DBS check - formerly known as a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.

This is a UK legal requirement for those in roles which involve regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults.

The DBS check will state any criminal convictions you hold and, if appropriate, whether you are barred from working with children or vulnerable adults. We will then consider whether these are compatible with registration on a particular programme, research or voluntary work. Most offences that appear on a DBS disclosure will not prevent you from taking up, or remaining, on your programme, nor from undertaking voluntary or other work.

Read more about the DBS and requirements on GOV.UK

This policy covers the following areas:

Who needs to apply for a DBS check

If you are enrolled on one of the programmes listed below you may need to apply for a DBS check.

  • MBBS Medicine
  • MSc Audiological Science
  • MSc Audiovestibular Medicine
  • MSc Voice Pathology
  • DEdPsy Educational and Child Psychology
  • MSc Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology
  • MSc Developmental Psychology and Clinical Practice
  • MSc Applied Paediatric Neuropsychology
  • MSc Clinical Paediatric Neuropsychology
  • MSc Speech and Language Sciences
  • BSc Speech Sciences
  • BSc Psychology & Language Studies

The Medical School will advise MBBS students on their DBS checks.

A DBS disclosure will be required if your research has been considered by the UCL Ethics Committee and you will be working with a vulnerable group.

In addition, students whose research or placements involve certain positions or regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults need to hold current DBS checks. You and your tutor/supervisor must make clear when you apply for DBS clearance which level of check you need as appropriate to your role.

Read more about DBS eligibility on GOV.UK

UCLU's Voluntary Services Unit will give you details about completing the DBS check if you intend to undertake voluntary work involving children or vulnerable adults as arranged through them. Student Ambassadors and Mentors may also need a DBS check - this will be arranged by the Widening Participation & UK Undergraduate Recruitment Office.

If you already have a disclosure from another institution your tutor or supervisor will advise you if you need to apply for a new disclosure or provide UCL with details of your current disclosure and give permission for us to check your status with the DBS update service.

You must inform your programme tutor or administrator of any offence committed during your course that requires a DBS disclosure.

DBS checks for international students

If you have been accepted for a programme at UCL which needs confirmation of your clearance to work with a vulnerable group and are resident outside the UK, you may be required to provide evidence of your criminal record status from your home country. 

Read further guidance for overseas applicants on GOV.UK

If this is the case, you will be sent information about the requirement by your programme administrator as part of your joining instructions. You will then be required to show this evidence to your programme administrator before undertaking any placements. You will also be required to apply for a DBS disclosure once you have been resident in the UK for a certain period of time. It is essential that you have a passport when you come to the UK as you will need this to provide evidence of your identity. An EU identity card is not sufficient to prove identity for this purpose. This applies whether your research is conducted inside, or outside, the UK.

How to apply for a DBS disclosure

If your programme or research requires a DBS check, your tutor or programme administrator will give you details of the application procedure. You will need to complete a form which must be checked with the documents required to verify your identity. This will either be done by your department or by the Student Centre.

If you require a DBS check you should obtain a DBS form from the Student Centre. You should ask your tutor or supervisor to complete a confirmation of level of disclosure form using the application guidance provided. Once both forms are complete you should bring them to the Student Centre where we will check the documents and verify your identity. 



Read more about the documentation required for your DBS check on GOV.UK 

A disclosure normally takes 4-6 weeks to be processed once it is received by the DBS. If you have lived in a number of places the process could take longer. If you submitted your DBS application via the Student Centre we will email you to confirm once we have checked and dispatched the form to the DBS. Please allow processing time for this.

DBS update service

With effect from June 2013, the DBS no longer provides UCL with a copy of your disclosure. The DBS now offers an online update service which allows you to check your application online and to give permission to future employers or institutions to view your certificate. We strongly advise you to subscribe to this service. If you do so, you may then confirm your DBS certificate number by email to studentstatus@ucl.ac.uk, the Widening Participation & UK Undergraduate Recruitment Office or the Voluntary Services Unit, depending on which department processed your application. With this permission we will check your certificate online.

Find out more about the DBS update service on GOV.UK

In order to join the Update Service you will need to enter your application form reference number so please remember to keep a note of this. You may apply once you have your application form reference number or you can wait and register with your certificate number as soon as you receive your DBS certificate. You must do this within 14 days of the certificate being issued (not within 14 days of receiving it).

If you do not subscribe to the update service you will need to bring your disclosure certificate to the Student Centre, the Widening Participation & UK Undergraduate Recruitment Office or the Voluntary Services Unit as soon as you receive it so we can note the details on your record. We will only note the date, certificate number, the type of disclosure requested and the position for which the disclosure was requested on your record.

Research Passports

If you are a student whose research requires completion of an NHS research passport, you should bring this, with your student ID card and DBS certificate, to the Student Centre for completion.

Staff who need a research passport should refer to UCL Human Resources.