The DBS check process

How to complete a DBS check

The University’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) team help 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 that guides you step-by-step – but remember, providing accurate information from the start will help your check run smoothly.

The DBS check process:

  • is completed via an online application form 
  • requires an identity check
  • 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 DBS 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 need to talk about your application for a DBS check please contact the University’s’ DBS Supplier, Complete Background Screening – please call on 01443 799900 or email

Activation and getting started

Once you have received an unconditional offer to study at the University, which you have accepted and confirmed, your DBS check can get underway. You will receive an email with information about how to log onto the online application. 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. The online application will guide you through the process and will prompt you to input some further details, including your name and address history for the last 5 years. 

Identity check

As part of the DBS application process you will need to get your identity verified. The online system will prompt you to select the identification needed to complete your DBS application and will provide you with a list of documents that you can choose from. Please read the guidance that is available on the Government DBS webpages for further information about what documents are acceptable.

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.

Please make sure you read all the relevant guidance as this differs between applicants who are a national of the UK and applicants who are not a national of the UK. There is also specific guidance for students who have an unusual address, for example if you are living abroad or in student accommodation. 

ID pathways

There are several different ID pathways available including Digital ID checks, Post Office ID Checks, Remote ID checks and face-to-face internal ID checks. The ID pathway will be selected for you by the DBS Team at the point your DBS application is created. This will depend on where you are living and whether you have started your course. 

Pre-admission – completion of the DBS process prior to registering for the course

Digital ID check

  • Students who reside in the UK will be invited to complete a Digital ID check.
  • You will need either a UK passport, driving licence or British Residency Permit to follow the Digital ID pathway.
  • The digital process will only take a few minutes and will require a scan of your documents, your current address, and a scan of your face. The cost of the Digital ID check is covered by the University.

Post office ID check

If you do not have the required documentation for a Digital ID check you are given the option to change this to a post office ID check.

  • If you need to complete a Post Office ID check, the online system will generate a barcode, which you need to take to the Post Office along with your selected ID within 28 days.
  • Please make sure you take these to a Post Office that offers a DBS ID Verification Service.
  • The Post Office will charge a fee for this process, which you will need to pay for.

Remote ID check

  • Students who reside overseas will be invited to complete a remote ID check from your home country, which will be carried out by our online provider, Complete Background Screening. 
  • After you have completed your online application, you will be sent an email asking you to send a copy of your selected ID documents to our online provider, Complete Background Screening, which will allow you to complete your DBS check process before you arrive in the UK.
  • The cost of the remote ID check is covered by the University.

Post-admission – completion of the DBS process after registering for the course 

  • You will be invited to complete a face-to-face internal ID check on campus, which can be completed at either the Colchester or Southend campus.
  • You are required to book an appointment with the Student Services Hub prior to coming onto campus to complete the ID check.
  • An internal ID check is free of charge to students.

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 online system. You can amend this easily yourself by updating your name as it appears on your online application form. 

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.

Get in touch
Student Progress Team
Complete Background Screening For queries about your online DBS application
Telephone: 01443 799900