How Long Does a DBS Check Take?


How Long Does a DBS Check Take?

How long does a DBS Check take? It depends on a number of factors, such as:

  • The level of DBS Check applied for – is it Basic, Standard, or Enhanced?
  • Is a search of the Barred Lists is required?
  • How many different areas an applicant has lived in?
  • Was the application submitted online, or using a paper form?
  • Are the police or DBS particularly busy at the moment?

The vast majority of applicants will receive their DBS certificate within 10 days of applying. Our fastest DBS Check in 2023 was completed and sent for printing and posting in just 49 minutes.

At Aaron’s Department, our system allows for a DBS application to be filled out by you and sent to us in a matter of minutes. If we receive it before 4:00pm on a weekday, we’ll check the application for mistakes and send it on to the DBS. Often, the DBS has the results ready within hours of us hitting send!

How long does a DBS check take? A guide by Aaron's Department


How Long Does A DBS Check Take – Basic

In May 2024, the DBS sent us their official processing time data. For 2024 so far, the average Basic DBS check was completed in 0.8 days, before being posted.


How Long Does A DBS Check Take – Standard

In May 2024, the average Standard DBS check was completed in 1.5 days, before being posted.


How Long Does A DBS Check Take – Enhanced

In May 2024, the average Enhanced DBS check was completed in 12.8 days, before being posted.

How Long does a DBS check take


Common Reasons For DBS Stage 4 Delays

Typically, the longest delays for a DBS check occur at Stage 4, during which the local police forces check their individual records. This stage is notorious for causing delays – here’s why:


Slow Police Forces

At Stage 4, some police forces are much slower than others. As of May 2024, the following forces are experiencing delays:

  • Derbyshire,
  • Dyfed-Powys,
  • Hampshire,
  • Kent,
  • Sussex
  • Northumbria – removed as of May 2024
  • North Yorkshire – removed as of May 2024

So unfortunately, if you have an address from within the past 5 years in one of these forces’ jurisdictions, delays are more likely.


Paper Applications Take Longer

Paper applications usually take longer than online applications because:

  • They have to be posted to the applicant, then back to Umbrella Body. This can easily add an extra 4–7 days to the application time.
  • If the applicant has made any mistakes on the form, it will have to be sent back and forth, again!
  • We all know that post can get lost in the mail – how long do you wait until you decide to fill out another form?


Application Form Errors

It’s always important for both the applicant and the employer to carefully check the details submitted on the form. If any errors are discovered by the Umbrella Body, the form will have to be amended, which is a bit of easily avoidable back-and-forth.

At Aaron’s Department, if we spot an application mistake, or something we need to double-check, we’ll have return the application to you with our enquiry. This takes time, but could save you the cost of a rejected application!


Names and Name History

If the applicant has a particularly common name (David Smith, for example), the application is more likely to experience slight delays, as DBS and local police must take extra precautions to avoid disclosing the wrong person’s criminal history.

Also, if the applicant has an extensive name history, this can also cause delays, since each name must be checked individually on the police databases. A complicated name history also increases the chances of the applicant making a mistake on the form.


How Long Does A DBS Check Take: Getting Faster Results

Below are the best ways to ensure faster DBS results:

Apply Online

When you do a DBS application online, it can be filled out and sent off instantly in just a few clicks – much faster than sending it in the post. On top of this, potential mistakes are spotted by our automated checking system, and can easily be changed without any scribbling out.


Same-Day Processing

Many DBS Umbrella Bodies take their time processing DBS applications once they reach their in-box. Some will even charge a premium for fast-tracking the check!

Not at Aaron’s Department. Every application we receive before 4:00pm on a weekday, we check for mistakes, and send to the DBS for processing the very same day. It’s our free fast-track guarantee!


Check Your Emails!

We can’t speak for other Umbrella Bodies, but at Aaron’s Department, we’ll get in touch via email if we spot anything that could potentially be an application mistake. If the DBS detects any application errors (and they’re usually pretty good at it), they’ll reject it without refund – so it’s always worth us asking!

We won’t process any applications until we’ve had clarification, so keep an eye on your inbox for communication from your DBS provider, whoever that may be (hopefully it’s us).


Can you guarantee checks within a specific timeframe?

When considering how long DBS checks take, it’s important to remember that no DBS Umbrella Body can guarantee that your DBS check will be returned in a specific period of time. If an Umbrella Body is making these guarantees, that should be a red flag!


How long does a DBS Check Take: The DBS Update Service

The DBS Update Service is a government subscription service that allows users to keep their DBS certificate valid for as long as their criminal record remains unchanged.

This means that workers who legally require regular checks no longer do (saving money), and they can take their DBS certificates from role to role – as long as the same level of check is required for both roles.

Using the Update Service will greatly accelerate the process of getting DBS results because all you have to do is log onto the DBS portal and make sure there have been no changes to the user’s certificate.

However, regularly logging into the Update Service accounts for all your staff, one-by-one, can be a real chore. That’s why Aaron’s Department has developed a system that automatically logs in and checks your staff’s Update Service accounts for changes, every 24-hours! Click the link to read more about our Automatic Update Service Checker.

Is the update service economical? A chart showing savings.


Summary: How Long Does a DBS Check Take?

The vast majority of DBS checks will be processed in a matter of days, usually no longer than a week – sometimes as quickly as a few hours, depending on the level of DBS check applied for. In some cases, however, applications can take significantly longer (up to 2 months!) due to mistakes on the form, or a delay at the Police/DBS’s end.

Speeding up a check once it’s with the DBS is sadly impossible (they’ll just say ‘no’ if you try to ask them), which means the best way to speed up your staff DBS checks is by using the services of a DBS Umbrella Body that offers fast-track processing.

At Aaron’s Department, we process every application we receive before 4:00pm on a weekday, the same day – with no extra charge. The faster your application is sent to the DBS, the sooner it gets done! If that sounds good to you, you can use the buttons below to sign up (for free), have a browse of our site for more information, or get in touch at contact@aaronsdepartment.com if you’ve got any questions – we’re always happy to help.

How long does a DBS check take? A guide by Aaron's Department

About The Author

FAQ: Which DBS Is The Best?

John Schofield-Antoncich

John has processed more applications than days he has been alive, and has become the DBS expert. Got a question? He knows the answer!