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By thecheckpeople_admin
Published 3:34 pm

How Long Does a DBS Check Take?

A DBS check is something that’s required in many industries across the country. If you want to work or volunteer in a school, be a social worker, or a medical professional, you’ll need a DBS check before you can even think about starting.

Waiting for this check to be completed is always stressful. You want to get started as soon as you can, and even if you know for a fact your record is clear, the longer it takes, the more ill-at-ease you feel. The fact is, though, there are thousands of DBS checks done every year, so there’s bound to be backlog.

DBS Check

So How Long Will It Take?

The simple answer is that it varies. Those doing the test aim for it to be completed within four weeks. Some tests are returned sooner. The base case scenario is that it goes through the necessary channels within two hours, and most DBS checks are received within a week. However, depending on other applications, there is the chance it will take longer.

What Can Cause a Delay?

There are several factors that could contribute to a delayed check. Besides a backlog of applications, these can include:

  • Incorrect details on the application
  • Multiple entries under the same name
  • Application is forwarded to more than one police force
  • There is a need for additional information

With these possible causes in mind, it’s crucial that you make sure you do everything properly the first time around to prevent your check taking too long.

Delays are most common when the application needs to be passed on to other police forces. This is because the five-year period needs to cover every area where you have lived in that time. If you have lived in different areas with different police forces in five years, each force will need to check your application.

There are other potential delays you might experience, too. The employer submitting the DBS check can also apply for an Adult First check. This is usually the case when working with vulnerable people, such as at a nursing home.

Unlike the DBS check, these are processed within two days. There are two possible outcomes of an Adult First Check. Either the registered body (you) needs to wait for the DBS certificate, or there is no match.

If you need to wait for the DBS certificate, it means that the details provided might have matched someone named on the DBS barred list, and it requires investigation further into the case. If you know your record is clean, then don’t worry. It might be that there are people with the same or similar sounding names in your area(s), and this should be cleared up quickly.

dbs check

How Can You Speed Up The Process?

It’s advised that you do not take steps to speed up your process until after the four-week period passes. After this, though, you can get in touch with companies that can help speed up the process. These services contact the police force automatically and file for an escalation, which may take as long as fourteen days.

If there is no response following this, then the service will contact the police to determine the cause of the delay.

Ready to Work

Waiting for your DBS check to come through can be stressful, and there may be times where you worry something has happened, and that you did not pass the check, or it has been lost in the mail. However, as long as you follow the application procedure correctly, you have a better chance of receiving your DBS quickly so you can start work as soon as possible with no delays in between.


  1. Jobs That Require DBS Checks – Mind
  2. How Long Does a DBS Check Take? – Aaron’s Department
  3. We all know what DBS checks are, but what is the process? – Care Check