Criminal Record Checks are essential for businesses to ensure that the person being hired for a role is being honest about their history. For example, if you are hiring a new car salesman for your dealership, it would be essential to know if they have a history of car theft.

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  1. When Criminal Record Checks Should be Notarised and Apostilled
  2. How Was The Criminal Record Check Issued?
  3. Check your document
  4. What is a Criminal Record Check?
  5. Where Can You Get Your Criminal Record Check
  6. Process to Notarise and Apostille a Criminal Record Check
  7. Frequently Asked Questions

When Criminal Record Checks Should be Notarised and Apostilled

In cases where the company insists on attaining the Criminal Record Check themselves, it is unlikely that they will require you to have it notarised or apostilled. However, this could be useful to have in cases where you may be using this document when applying for multiple positions at different companies.

When applying for a job overseas, it is advised that you have your Criminal Record Check Apostilled. This is also the case when undergoing an adoption in a different country or when attending an institute overseas like a school or university.

Learn more about adoption document requirements on our Adoption Document page.

So, what is an apostilled criminal record check or police clearance certificate? In the simplest terms, it is verification that the document is valid and has gone through all of the necessary steps to be considered accurate in its country of origin and apostilled for the same status overseas.

How Was The Criminal Record Check Issued?

You should begin by ensuring you get all the necessary information in the Criminal Record Check. The required information will determine who you can go about getting it from. It will usually be one of the following:

  • ACPO – Association of Chief Police Officers
  • ACRO – Criminal Records Office
  • NPCC – The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s
  • DBS – The Disclosure and Barring Service
  • Directly from a Police Department

Many businesses insist on requesting a Criminal Record Check when they have received the necessary identification verification documents from the potential candidate. Other times the company may request that the individual goes about requesting a Criminal Record Check on their own. 

It is fair to assume that in the majority of cases where it is the individual’s responsibility to procure a Criminal Record Check, it should be notarised and/or apostilled for verified validity.

Check your document

We notarise many types of documents and can provide different types of certification to meet your needs.

The most popular documents we see are powers of attorney, passports, educational certificates and Companies House documentation. However, there are many other types we see regularly and are familiar with.

If your document is not listed and you are unsure if we can help, email us at and we will be happy to confirm.

What is a Criminal Record Check?

In this context, a Criminal Record Check is a way for employers to ensure the candidate being considered for a role in their business does not have a criminal history. It is a standard part of the vetting process. This is essential for businesses to protect their reputation, assets and profits.

Individuals can also have their Criminal Record Checks notarised when they are in the job market and looking for permanent job placement, to speed up the employment process. 

Criminal Record Checks are often also referred to as background checks, certificates of good conduct or obtaining a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) as they all essentially serve the same purpose.

Where Can You Get Your Criminal Record Check

Obtaining a criminal record check in the UK depends on a few things:

  • Who you are: There are different processes for individuals and organisations.
  • The type of check you need: Basic, Standard, or Enhanced disclosures

Here’s a breakdown of the options:

For Individuals:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS): This is the most common route for individuals. DBS offers Basic, Standard, and Enhanced checks depending on your needs. You can apply online through a DBS registered body or by post.
  • Subject Access Request (SAR): You can submit a SAR to your local police force to see the information they hold on you. This might include some criminal record details, but it’s not a formal disclosure document.

For Organisations:

  • DBS Checks for roles: Organisations can request DBS checks for roles that require them. The eligibility for the type of check (Basic/Standard/Enhanced) depends on the role.

Additional points to consider:

  • Overseas Applicants: If you’re applying from overseas, the process might differ. You might need a “Certificate of Good Character” from your home country. Check with the UK government for details 
  • Cost: The cost of a criminal record check varies depending on the type and application method.

Process to Notarise and Apostille a Criminal Record Check

Our professional notaries will advise on what exactly will be necessary for each undertaking, whether you need notary or apostille services.

Once you have your Criminal Record Check, you’ll need a completed apostille application form. We can provide guidance on completing this form. We can also submit the application to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) on your behalf. 

Often documents and copies thereof will need to be notarised and apostilled. We provide both at through our same-day service. We know it may be confusing, or even overwhelming, but get in touch and we will answer any questions you may have concerning official criminal record check notarisations.


  • Do I need both an Apostille and a Notary for my Criminal Record Check?

    No, not necessarily. You will only need notarisation if the criminal record check does not have a signature from the issuing authority. You will always need an apostille, whether it needs notarising or not.  Depending on which country you will use it in, you may also need legalisation by that country’s consulate in London after it has been apostilled.

  • How do I get an Apostille for my Criminal Record Check?

    The apostille process is handled by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in the UK. However, several services (like ours) can help you apply for an apostille for a fee.  An important point to note is that some Criminal Record Checks, particularly Basic Disclosures, may require notary certification before they can be apostilled by the FCDO.

  • Is there an expiry date on a Criminal Record Check Apostille?

    The apostille itself doesn’t expire, but the criminal record check itself might.  It’s generally recommended that you get a new Criminal Record Check every 3 years, as some employers or institutions may require an up-to-date record.

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