Need a Basic DBS Check for overseas use? This guide walks you through getting a Basic DBS from the UK government’s website, have it certified and apostilled, so you’re ready for your move.

Step one:

Getting your DBS

What you’ll need:

  • Proof of identity and address (past 5 years)
  • Internet access (recommended)
  • Payment for the DBS check and apostille service (fees vary)


  1. Apply online : This is the quickest way. You can also apply by mail, but it takes longer.
  2. Optional: During your online application, select the option to have your DBS certificate sent directly to our office. We can handle the apostille process for you!

Important points:

  • Processing times: Allow 14 working days for the DBS check and an additional 10-15 working days for the apostille (standard postal service). Expedited options might be available for an additional fee.
  • Basic DBS cost:£18 – check the official DBS website for current fees.

Additional tips:

  • Ensure your passport details match the information used in your DBS check application.
  • Double-check the apostille requirements for the specific country you’re moving to. Some countries might have additional steps.

Step two:

Getting your DBS certified

Once you have your Basic DBS certificate, it must be certified by a UK solicitor or notary public. This is a crucial step before you can get an apostille.

Why? Because the apostille is issued based on the signature of a registered public official, a DBS certificate alone doesn’t have this.

Ensure the solicitor or notary signing your DBS is registered with the FCDO! If they are not registered, the FCDO can’t issue the apostille.

Using a solicitor or notary who isn’t FCDO-registered is a common mistake that often leads to DBS apostille rejection.

Example of a solicitor's certification (please note, specific formats may vary)
Example of a solicitor's certification (please note, specific formats may vary)

Important Note: The appearance of a solicitor’s stamp and signature can vary. If you’re unsure whether your DBS is correctly certified, the FCDO can verify this before you proceed with the apostille process. Contact them through their website:

Certify a copy or original?

Original ONLY!

The UK FCDO will not issue an apostille certificate for photocopies – even if those photocopies have been certified or notarised.

Solicitor or notary public?

A DBS check typically doesn’t require notarisation but requires solicitor certification before an apostille can be obtained. Here’s a breakdown of the two:

Notarisation for DBS checks:

  • Uncommon: A DBS check does not usually require notarisation by a notary public. The DBS itself is an official government-issued document.
  • Possible scenario: There are rare situations where a foreign authority specifically requests the notarisation of a DBS check on top of an apostille. However, this is not a standard requirement.

Solicitor certification for DBS checks:

  • Purpose: A solicitor’s certification is required before obtaining an apostille for a DBS check intended for use abroad.
  • Process: A solicitor verifies the authenticity of the DBS certificate and the issuing body (DBS). The solicitor adds their signature and stamp confirming this.

Solicitor vs notary costs:

  • A solicitor’s charges range from £5, £10 to £25+ per certification.
  • A notary’s charges can range from £55 to more than £150+

Step three:

Getting your certified DBS apostilled

Once the DBS certificate has been certified, you can post it to the FCDO to get the apostille.

You cannot submit the DBS in person to the FCDO; you can only submit it by post.

Only registered apostille agents can submit documents in person.

A registered apostille agent can submit documents in person, and the fast turnaround time they can offer for a DBS is the ‘next business day.’ (Submit by 11 am and collect the next day around 1.30 pm)

The FCDO’s role:

In the UK, apostilles are issued by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). This stamp authenticates official documents like the DBS check for use in other countries.

Placing an apostille order (the DIY approach)

1) Visit the FCDO website to start the application process:

2) Choose a service

  • Select: Standard paper-based service
  • £45, plus optional courier or postage costs

3) Check if documents can be legalised

  • Select: Check your documents
  • In the search bar, type: DBS
  • Click: Continue
  • Select Original DBS
  • Answer YES to the next question (assuming you have followed the above instructions)

4) Create an account and pay

5) Print the order sheet

6) Send it by post

Post your original, certified DBS with the printed cover sheet and order number (the payment) to the FCDO office in Milton Keynes.

If you have not paid for return shipping, you must include a pre-paid, self-addressed envelope!

The government website states that the process takes about 5 working days to complete, not including receiving mail and returning apostilled documents.

Realistically, turnaround time is about 10 to 15 days + shipping.

The FCDO will not keep you updated while they are processing your application.

If you have chosen their courier service for return delivery, you will receive an email notification once the processed DBS is returned.

About Us:

London Apostille Service Ltd specialises in assisting individuals and businesses with navigating legalisation processes for international use. Our team has in-depth knowledge of DBS checks, apostilles, and embassy attestations needed for various countries.

Step four:

Embassy attestation (if needed)

Not all countries recognise apostilles. If the country you’re going to isn’t part of the Hague Convention, you’ll likely need additional legalisation from their embassy or consulate in London.

Finding requirements:

  • Each embassy has its own specific requirements and fees for legalising documents. For the latest information, it’s best to check the embassy’s website directly.

Embassies we assist with (frequently):

Your checklist to get a basic DBS certified and apostilled:

  • Original Basic DBS certificate
  • Proof of identity documents
  • Proof of address documents
  • Solicitor certification + fee
  • FCDO apostille fee
  • Pre-paid, self-addressed envelope (for postal service)

If the process of getting your DBS check apostilled seems overwhelming, don’t worry!

We are here to simplify it.

Contact us for a free consultation and let us handle the process on your behalf.

You may also be interested in reading:

What is a DBS certificate? [Introduction to DBS and what it means]