The DBS check process

How to complete a DBS check

The University’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) team helps manage the online DBS check application process for you. It will probably happen during the summer before you start your course. It’s a straightforward process which guides you step-by-step – but remember, providing accurate information from the start will help your check run smoothly.

The DBS check process:

  • is free of charge
  • requires face-to-face ID verification, which is currently being carried out by a video calling app - Zoom
  • takes a few weeks to a few months to complete.

Tips for completing your DBS check

  • Read our guidance on DBS checks
  • Provide accurate, up-to-date and precise information to make your application go smoothly
  • Check your email as the ‘disclosures manager’ process gets underway
  • If you’re from the EEA or outside the EEA, see below for identification documents
  • If you’ve lived overseas in the past five years, you’ll need additional checks
  • Pay particular attention to previous addresses and any previous names
  • Look after your DBS check certificate when it arrives, it’s your only copy
  • If you need a reprint of your DBS check certificate you only have three months to get one
  • If you get stuck or need to talk about anything, please contact our DBS team

Activation and getting started

Once you have received a conditional or unconditional offer to study at the University, which you have accepted and confirmed, your DBS check can get underway. You will then receive an email with a username. You’ll need to use this to log onto the ‘disclosures manager’ online process. Atlantic Data (the company that handles the process) will then email you providing instructions on what to do next. So, keep an eye on your email, including your junk email folder, and remember it’s really important to check that your personal details are accurate at this stage.

Your identification documents

The first part of your application involves selecting identification from the list provided. Please read the acceptable forms of ID for EEA students (.pdf) and acceptable forms of ID for non-EEA students (.pdf) to help you select which is the best form of personal identification to put forward as part of your DBS check.

All students should try to provide documents from ‘Route 1’ before taking any other option. If you can’t provide the documents listed in ‘Route 1’ then one of the other routes may be possible.

Route 1

UK and EEA nationals undertaking study/voluntary activity and
Non-EEA nationals undertaking unpaid work/voluntary activity

You must be able to show:

  • one document from Group 1 and
  • two further documents from either Group 1 or Group 2a or 2b

At least one of the documents must show your current address.

If you are unable to present the documents above it may be possible to follow Route 2.

Non-EEA applicants undertaking paid work/study

If you are undertaking paid work/study and are not a national of the UK or European Economic Area (EEA) must be able to show:

  • one Non-EEA primary document; and
  • two further supporting documents from Group 1, 2a or 2b

At least one of the documents must show your current address.

If you are unable to provide these documents your right to study in the UK cannot be established and you will not be able to submit a DBS check. You cannot use any other ID route.

Route 2

UK and EEA nationals undertaking study/voluntary activity

Route 2 can only be used if it’s impossible to process the application through Route 1. Non-EEA applicants undertaking work/study cannot use Route 2.

To complete Route 2 you must complete an external ID validation check through the University and provide:

  • one document from Group 2a; and
  • two further documents from either Group 2a or 2b

At least one of the documents must show your current address.

If you are unable to complete the external ID validation or is unable present the documents above it may be possible to follow Route 3.

Route 3

UK and EEA nationals undertaking study/voluntary activity

Route 3 can only be used if it’s impossible to process the application through Routes 1 or 2.

For Route 3, you must be able to show:

  • a birth certificate issued 12 months after the time of birth (UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands); and
  • one further document from Group 2a; and
  • three documents from Group 2a or 2b.

At least one of the documents must show your current address.

If you are unable to present the documents above it may be possible to follow Route 4.

Route 4

Route 4 is only for applicants that cannot provide any primary ID documents and all other available routes have been explored. A manual application must be completed and you will be invited to make an appointment with your local police station and consent to your fingerprints being taken. You must be residing in the UK to complete a Route 4.

Face-to-face ID verification

After you’ve selected your documents you’ll need to have your identification verified. We are carrying out ID checks virtually by Zoom at the moment, which is a video calling app that is free to download. Please read the University advice for setting this up.

In advance of the Zoom meeting, we will need to receive copies of your ID documents to make sure they meet the Government’s guidelines. You will need to email copies of these to us by emailing dbs@essex.ac.uk. Please make sure you provide a copy of both sides of the document, where relevant. When emailing your documents, can you please combine them into one file and give them a file name that includes your full name. 

What will happen next

We’ll check the documents you send through and providing they’re ok, we will contact you to arrange the Zoom meeting with a date and time that is convenient. For this meeting, please have to hand your ID documents, as you will be asked to show these on screen.  Once the ID check has been completed, you’ll be able to submit your application and then you’ll just need to wait for your certificate to be sent to you in the post.

Important Info

Please keep the original, paper ID documents; we will need to see these before you start your Placement. These must be the exact documents we used for the ID check. Once the Lockdown has been lifted and our Student Service Hub is open again, you’ll need to bring these in for us to verify. If you are not able to present the originals before starting your Placement, you may need to complete a new check. This could delay you starting your Placement and you may be charged the cost of the additional DBS application.  

Once your application is complete

Once your application has been completed online, it’s sent to the Disclosure and Barring Service. They check your details against police records and barred list information where applicable. If you’ve applied for an enhanced DBS check your details will also be checked with local police forces.

How long the process takes 

It’s difficult to say exactly how long your check will take, as every person has different circumstances. Most DBS checks are completed within six weeks, but the process can take up to eight weeks and sometimes it takes longer.

Receiving your DBS certificate

Once all the checks have been done, you’ll receive your DBS certificate by post to the address that you provided.

If you haven’t received your DBS certificate within 14 days of it being dispatched, you can request a free reprint by calling 0300 020 0190. Note that the DBS centre can only reissue certificates up to 93 days after the original date of issue.

Incorrect name on the DBS application

If the name on your DBS application is incorrect, it means it has been added incorrectly to the disclosure manager system. You’ll need to email the DBS team to tell us, as your application may need to be cancelled and started again.

Copies of your certificate

You won’t be able to get one – you’re only given one copy, so make sure you look after it as it can’t be replaced if it gets lost or destroyed. The University is not sent a copy.

Contact us
Contact us
Student Progress Team
Telephone: 01206 872284