Many UK residents regularly work or live outside of the UK. This may be on a short term or more permanent basis. The levels and requirements of the checks may vary dependent on what and where the check is required for.


The levels of check will often depend on the specific countries requirements and which visa is being applied for. Some visa applications will ask for a basic disclosure or standard level of DBS check, whereas a working visa may require an enhanced check, you can contact the countries Embassy in question for this information. Either way these checks will generally have to be completed and received before the visa can be issued. Some visa changes or extensions can be completed whilst still resident outside of the UK, however they may require an updated or more detailed check.

Basic Disclosure and DBS checks can be applied for whilst resident outside of the UK, but would require a paper form to be requested and sent, prolonging the process by possibly weeks.


As in the UK, Criminal and character checks for working will vary dependent on the countries governments requirements. Some governments may require varying levels, similar to the UK, whereas others will be more relaxed. On application for a role, it will be stated which check will be required for overseas applicants, although you may need to find out what the equivalent check would be. In some UK roles it is possible to start employment (with restrictions) prior to the official documentation being received, this is not likely to be possible if relocating overseas.

It is impossible to guarantee a timescale for any applications to be returned as this would depend on the varying degrees of applications received by Disclosure Scotland and other agencies. Therefore, it is not advisable to accept a new position and provide a date for documentation until it is all in place and received.


As most initial working visas and offers of employment carry a fixed term many of those wishing to work abroad will opt to rent a residential property. Most landlords require some form of reference or character check prior to letting a property to an individual. It is much more difficult to verify a normal written character reference from abroad and so for those travelling from overseas, landlords may insist on a form of Police check. They are unlikely to want to let a property to an individual who has been convicted of criminal damage or domestic assault, both of which could be seen as a major risk factor to their property.