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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Applying for a criminal record check

If you have been asked to apply for a criminal record check in England or Wales, you will need to apply through the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). Find out how to apply, how much it costs and how long it takes.

How much does a criminal record check cost?

A check costs:

  • £26 - standard CRB check
  • £44 - enhanced CRB check

Some organisations may pay for the check for you, or you may have to pay a processing charge for your application. Check with your employer.

If you are a volunteer there is no charge from the CRB, although you may have to pay a processing charge for your application to the organisation that submits your form.

Check with your recruiting organisation whether you qualify as a volunteer.

How long does a criminal record check take?

The CRB tries to complete:

  • 95 per cent of standard checks within two weeks of receiving your application form
  • 90 per cent of enhanced checks within four weeks of receiving your application form
  • 100 per cent of all checks within eight weeks of receiving your application form

Some applications may be delayed if you make a mistake on the application form, or if you don't provide all your name and address details.

Enhanced checks also rely on getting information from the relevant police forces and this can sometimes delay your application.

Who can ask for a criminal record check?

If the job needs a criminal record check, any employer can ask for one. However only organisations registered with the CRB can submit applications for criminal record checks.

There are two types of registered organisation:

  • a registered body - the employer
  • an umbrella body - a registered body that processes criminal record check applications for non-registered organisations

How to apply for a criminal record check

Contact the CRB

Call the CRB helpline on
0870 9090 811 or use the online enquiry form:

The person who asked you to apply for a check will either:

  • give you a paper application form to complete
  • ask you to telephone the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) application line on 0870 90 90 811

If you call the CRB, you’ll need to give the name and number of the organisation asking you for a CRB check, and the level of check you’ll need. The organisation asking for the check will tell you what level you’ll need. A paper application form will then be sent to you.

It is not possible to download a CRB application form or apply online through this website.

Can you apply for your own criminal record check?

The self-employed or individuals can't legally apply for a criminal record check on themselves. This is because they are unable to assess their own suitability for a job.

Instead you may wish to:

  • register with an agency that can ask for a CRB check to assess your suitability to work for them
  • apply for a basic check from Disclosure Scotland which will provide details of any unspent convictions
  • make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act to your local police force to find details of any criminal record

Can you start work before your criminal record check is completed?

Whether you can start work will depend on the employer and the role you have applied for. For example, sometimes for care worker jobs, a check of the ISA Adults Barred Lists can be made.

You would still have to be supervised until your criminal record check is processed and completed.

Check with the person who is recruiting you.

What to do if your personal details have changed

Unless you require a new check, there's no need to tell the CRB that any of your details have changed.

If you need a new check you must make sure that you provide all of the names you have been known by and your full five year address history on the application form.

Refusing to apply for a criminal record check

You can refuse to have a criminal record check carried out. If you have been asked to apply for a CRB check, and do not think this type of check is appropriate, contact one of the following before applying:

  • Ministry of Justice (email address below)
  • Nacro
  • Apex
  • Unlock

However, there are some jobs for which a CRB check is required by law. In that instance, if you refuse the check your employer won’t be able to take your job application any further.

If you have already completed a CRB application form at the request of your employer, and you don’t think this type of check is appropriate, you can contact the CRB on 0870 90 90 811 or by using the enquiry form.

How to contact the Criminal Records Bureau

CRB helpline for all general enquiries: 0870 9090 811
8.00 am to 6.00 pm on weekdays
10.00 am to 5.00 pm on Saturday (closed Sunday and public holidays)

There is a separate number for transgender applicants only. Any general enquiries received on this number cannot be dealt with or transferred. There is an answerphone service available for this number where you can leave your name and contact number and a member of the team will call you back.

Transgender applicants tel: 0151 676 1452 or email:

All calls to the CRB are recorded for training and security purposes. Security questions will be asked to verify your identity.

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