ID Checking for DBS Applications: the Basics

ID checking for DBS applications is a crucial step in the process. There are several different routes applicants can take to prove their identity.

If you’re responsible for arranging DBS applications for your organisation, you’ll need to be familiar with these different routes and the rules surrounding them.

The Government provides guidelines on ID checking for DBS applications. They may look complicated at first glance, but we’ve summarised the basics to make things a bit simpler for you!

ID checking for DBS applications


The ID checking process

The aim of ID checking is to establish the true identity of the applicant.

To do this, an employer must examine a range of documents provided by the applicant – we’ll go into more detail about this later.

The employer must also make sure the applicant has completed the application form fully and accurately.

Applicants must provide details of all names they’ve been known by in their lifetime and all addresses they’ve lived at in the last five years.

How to check the applicant’s ID

As an employer, you must only accept current, valid and original documents. Photocopies and documents printed from the internet cannot be accepted.

Check the applicant’s name, date of birth and address, as recorded on the application form, against the details on the applicant’s identity documents.

Check the applicant’s likeness against a photographic identity document – for example, a passport or driving licence.

If the applicant has ever changed their name, ensure they’ve provided documentary evidence to support the name change.

Cross-check the applicant’s address history against other information they’ve provided, such as their CV. This can highlight discrepancies in the address details given – for example, if an applicant’s CV shows they’ve recently worked in Birmingham but the DBS application form only states Manchester addresses, you may want to question them further.

What documents should the applicant provide?

The Government divides acceptable identity documents into three groups: group 1, group 2a and group 2b.

Group 1 includes primary identity documents like passports, UK and EU driving licences and UK birth certificates.

Group 2a includes trusted government documents like driving licences from outside the EU and birth certificates issued after the time of birth.

Group 2b includes financial and social history documents like mortgage statements, bank statements and utility bills.

The full list of acceptable documents can be found here.

The four routes for ID checking

There are four routes applicants can take to prove their identity.

Route one: all applicants must be considered for route one initially. This involves providing one document from group 1 and two further documents from group 1, 2a or 2b.

At least one of the documents must prove the applicant’s current address.

Route two: if an applicant cannot provide a group 1 document, try route two. In this route applicants must provide three documents from group 2, comprising one document from group 2a and two further documents from group 2a or 2b.

One of the documents must prove the applicant’s current address. You will then need to verify the applicant’s name and living history footprint using an appropriate external ID validation service.

Route three: route three should only be used if it’s impossible to prove the applicant’s identity using route one or two. Before embarking on route three you should have a probing discussion with the applicant to establish why they couldn’t meet the requirements for routes one and two.

For route three, the applicant must provide a UK birth certificate (issued after the time of birth), one document from group 2a and three further documents from group 2a or 2b, one of which must prove their current address.

Route four: route four should only be used if you’ve been unsuccessful in proving the applicant’s identity using the three previous routes. In this case, please contact us to obtain a paper application form and to discuss the process further.

ID checking for DBS applications: a summary

There are four routes an applicant can take to prove their identity for a DBS application, each involving different identity documents.

ID checking for DBS applications is a critical part of the process, and our guide only covers the basics. Make sure you’re familiar with the full guidelines if you carry out ID checks for your organisation.

At CRB Check Online we specialise in processing DBS applications in the fastest time possible. If you’d like to take the hassle out of the DBS checking process, get in touch with us today.