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Overseas Criminal Records Checks


As DBS checks can only cover time spent in the UK, applicants who have spent time outside the UK may need to obtain an overseas police check of some kind from the country/countries in which you are now living or have lived. This means a police or criminal records background check from outside the UK; these will be called something different according to the country.

If you have lived or are living outside the UK, this condition applies regardless of your nationality or fee status. Broadly speaking, applicants included are:

  • Non-UK applicants (including residents of Republic of Ireland and other EU countries, as well as overseas applicants). This applies even if you are not currently resident in your country of origin but have lived there recently.
  • UK applicants living abroad now or who have lived abroad recently. Depending on your circumstances, this requirement may be negotiable for those in this category. Please contact the DBS Team if you feel that your circumstances may not require this.
    This requirement is in addition to your UK DBS check, not an alternative to it.

Important points to note

  • It is your responsibility to obtain the relevant overseas documentation and send it in to us.
  • Date of issue of document: we need an overseas police check dated no more than 3 months beofre your course start date (For example if you are a September starter your Overseas Police Check should not be dated any earlier than June). If you already have one but it is older than this, you will need to re-apply in due course for an up-to-date version. If you have left or will be leaving the country concerned before then, the document needs to be dated as close as possible to your leaving date.
  • Translation: if the document is issued in a language other than English, French, Spanish, Italian or German, you will need to arrange to get this translated into English by an official translation service. This is done at your expense.

How do I obtain this document?

  • Republic of Ireland applicants

You need to submit a ‘Data Access Request’ on the Garda's specified form (F20): please note that you must submit this form to the Data Protection Unit of the Garda in Dublin and not your local Garda. The request has to be in the specific format explained on the Garda Data Protection Unit's Data Access Request form.

Please do not confuse this with a Garda ‘Police Certificate’, which they will not issue to a UK university, or Garda Vetting, which the University of Cumbria is not registered to request and which you as an individual can not obtain. For an overview please refer to the Garda's Data Protection webpage, where you can also find a link to the Data Access Request form that you need.

To assist you with completing the form in the 'Part 2 - Details of Request' section, please note the following: -

  • In the section asking ‘Please outline details of the data sought’, please state: “Any information held in the Garda Criminal Records Database. This is requested in relation to a course of study in the UK involving contact with children or adults in vulnerable groups”.
  • In the section asking ‘If making a request for specific data, and in order to assist us in locating this data, please indicate the location within An Garda Síochána, where you believe your personal data may be held’, please state: “Garda Criminal Records Database”.
  • In the section asking ‘Please indicate the date/time period to which the requested data relates', please state the month and year of your birth until the current month and year.

The completed form must be returned to the Garda Data Protection Unit at the Dublin address given here or at the end of the form, or via email to the address given. Please do not return the form to the University. 

  • Applicants from other countries, and UK applicants living or who have lived abroad

Information for many other countries is listed on the Home Office’s website. Please look for the country concerned in the relevant document of the three shown (arranged alphabetically). There is also a list of FAQs.

If you cannot find the information you need on the page above, please see the CPNI’s website and scroll to page 4 for an alphabetical list of countries covered by this guidance: please click on the blue button for the country concerned (if it is in the list).

If the country you require is not included on either website, please contact the local police in your home country (or the embassy if you are now living in the UK), who should be able to advise further.

Once you have the document

Please check that:

  • Your name is spelt correctly.
  • Your address is correct.
  • Your date of birth (if shown) is correct.

Then upload a clear scan/image of the document via your University of Cumbria applicant portal. We will contact you at that point if there are any issues with the document. We do not need to see the original document, and please do not post this to us.

Any questions? Please email

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