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. Please find more information in chapter one of the UCL Academic Manual in particular Annex 1.3 and Annex 1.4.

Read more about the DBS and requirements on GOV.UK

This page covers the following areas:

Who needs to apply for a DBS check

A number of programmes at UCL require a DBS check as part of the admissions process, for example the MBBS and Teacher Training programmes. For all such programmes, applicants will be contacted by the admissions team with further information. 

Students whose research or placements involve certain positions or regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults may need to hold current DBS checks.Your supervisor must make clear when you apply for DBS clearance which level of check you need as appropriate to your role. This should be done by completing the level of check form

Read more about DBS eligibility on GOV.UK

Please note that if a student is only eligible for a basic check, these will need to be arranged by the student  on an individual basis. These are not facilitated by the Student Enquiries Centre. For more information on how to request a basic dbs check, please visit Basic DBS checks: guidance on gov.uk . These checks are not provided by UCL as if a student is only eligible for a Basic DBS check, it means that the activity they are undertaking does not legally require us to request a DBS check. If you have any questions, please contact srs-compliance@ucl.ac.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 and have signed up to the DBS update service, you may need to 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

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

 Please note that the Student Enquiries Centre no longer offers an in person DBS check.  The process is now online. 

If you are an enrolling student requiring a DBS check for your programme, the admissions team should send you the information on how to apply. If you have any questions regarding the process, please contact the relevant admissions team for your programme or you can use askUCL.

If you are a current student and your programme or research requires a DBS check, you should ask your supervisor or a departmental staff member to complete the Current Student DBS : Level of check required Form. We cannot accept this form if it is completed by a student as we need confirmation from your department of the level of check required. 

If you are a UCL staff member and have more than one student on your programme requiringa DBS check for the same activity, please contact srs-compliance@ucl.ac.uk and we can advise how to submit all of their details at once rather than completing separate forms for each student. 

Once the form has been completed by your supervisor, the SEC team will then be able to initiate an online application for you. You will be emailed instructions on how to log in to the online service and complete the application. For more information, please see our

Please note that if you are not currently in the UK, you may not be able to use this route to apply for a DBS check. If you are a current student not currently in the UK, please contact srs-compliance@ucl.ac.uk for further advice. 

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

Read more about the DBS Privacy Policy on GOV.UK

On average certificates are issued by the DBS within one working week and dispatched using Royal Mail’s second-class service. Please bear in mind these timeframes can vary depending on factors such as the number of historical addresses being checked and the speed that a particular police force are processing their checks.



Original Documents for your DBS check 

As all DBS checks are now able to be processed online and the DBS has allowed virtual ID checks to take place until further notice, this does mean that UCL will need to see your original three ID documents that you use as part of your application when you are on campus in person and before you start your regulated activity (e.g. placement or research). This is a requirement set by the DBS . Your department should complete the DBS Original documents form when you show them the documents. Any questions should be sent to srs-compliance@ucl.ac.uk . 

DBS update service

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 askUCL for the Student Enquires centre to record, 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 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).


Research Passports

A research passport may be necessary if your research is to be conducted in an NHS organisation that you are not employed by. Please check with your principal investigator or supervisor whether a research passport is required for your work. 

For queries in relation to the categorisation of a research project and the need for a research passport/letter of access, please contact the Research and Development office of the lead Trust for your research. For queries in relation to research at UCLH, please contact the Administration Team at the UCLH/UCL Joint Research Office. You can visit their website at Joint Research Office, email uclh.jro-communications@nhs.net or call +44(0) 20 3447 5557. 

If you do require a research passport, you will need to download  the form. 

You will need to complete the Job Hazard Form including a signature from your supervisor/manager. The completed form should be sent to the Occupational Health team who will then email you to arrange an appointment. Once you have completed your appointment, you should have the necessary health screening/clearance documents for your research passport. 


If your work will require a DBS check, you can either use a DBS check you already have which is dated in the last 6 months, provide evidence that you are signed up to the update service for DBS checks, or you will need to complete a new DBS check. You can complete a DBS by following the instructions in the section How to apply for a DBS Disclosure .

Please note that if you are using a previous certificate or the update service, the type of check must be relevant to the research that you will be doing. This should be checked with your supervisor or department.

Once you have a DBS certificate or a DBS certificate number (if you are signed up to the update service), you can show this to your supervisor or a departmental staff member and this can be added onto the Research Passport form in section 5. 

Section 5 of the form can be signed off by your supervisor or a departmental staff member who has seen the relevant documents. The form stipulates that the registry should complete this section,  this is not the case. 

For more guidance on how to complete the form, please see the NIHR guidance document

 The completed research passport form with relevant attachments should be taken to the Research & Development office of the NHS organisation where you will conduct most of your research.

This guidance is for students of UCL only. UCL staff who need a research passport should refer to UCL Human Resources.