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April 7 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) background screening updates

This 'live' blog will be updated daily with the latest news about the background screening sector, our data sources and our own systems that may be impacted by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Please check back daily for updates.

If you have any firther questions, please contact us.

Please note: We have published and sent to all clients our current plans to mitigate any impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. This document is designed to reassure clients that we are working hard to continue providing the services they need, while maintaining our robust security and data protection measures and ensuring the safety of our colleagues and their families.

Clients with access to our portal can see a copy of the plan here.

19 May 2020, 10:17

France Criminal Record Extract

We are pleased to announce that this check became available again on 11 May 2020.  We have cleared all pending orders and are not expecting any delays to receipt of results.  Should you have placed a previous order where the check was closed without results, please contact us and we will be happy to re-open the order and place this check for you.
Switzerland Extract from the Criminal Record

We are pleased to announce that this check became available again on 13 May 2020.  The Authorities have advised the service is limited to a certain number of requests each day.  We are currently clearing all pending orders in line with the limited service.
Please note that this is a 2 stage process whereby candidates are required to print, sign and post a form (‘Stage 2 form’) back to Verifile.  We appreciate that this process may be difficult for some candidates residing in countries with strict lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19.
Disclosure Scotland
Disclosure Scotland has advised that the suspension of disclosure fees for key workers and volunteers is being extended until June 12 2020.  Please note that this is a temporary measure and is solely for those who are being drafted in to help Scotland fight against coronavirus. 
Disclosure Scotland will only process applications for workers deemed critical at this moment in time, the list of prioritised roles is now:

  • healthcare
  • pharmaceutical
  • childcare
  • social work
  • social care
  • prisons and justice
  • early years, primary and secondary education

 Following Scottish Government guidance, roles supporting the sectors mentioned above are also considered a priority. For example, cleaners and catering staff in schools and hospitals as well as those providing transport etc.
Applications can only be made on line and there has been a revision to application forms to make applying easier.  Please ensure you download the latest version:
 Driving Licence (DVLA UK)
The DVLA are still refusing paper applications.  We have been successful in clearing all pending checks using the Verifile Driving Vetting system, with the exception of check requests where the candidate has a non-UK driving licence.
Under normal circumstances, we are able to submit applications to the DVLA who will advise of any driving offences committed in the UK on a non-UK driving licence.  However, this service is based on paper applications submitted via post and this service remains unavailable at this time.  Where we are unable to fulfil a check, we will close it but are happy to re-open at a later date with no additional charge when normal service resumes

29 April 2020, 13:21

Russian Federation

We are pleased to advise that the following checks remain available with no expected delays - Credit, Criminal records Search, Directorships, ID Verification, and Passport Verification.

For the Criminal Records Search, a Power of Attorney document that has been stamped and signed by a Notary Public is one of requirements. Within Russia, most services are available (we recommend boking an appointment in advance. As each country has their own COVID-19 restrictions, some candidates may experience difficulty in obtaining a notarized document.


Please note that due to essential maintenance the AccessNI application will be unavailable on the NIDirect portal from 1pm on 1st May until 9am on 4th May 2020. During this period it will not be possible to submit any applications to AccessNI, nor will it be possible for AccessNI to process any work.

The service for submission of fast-track barred list checks remains available, processing of any received application these will be completed on 4th May 2020.

24 April 2020, 14:08

Italy National Criminal, Civil and Bankruptcy Search

We have run a successful trial with the Italian Authorities and are able to submit applications and receive results via email.  This means that candidates are no longer required to post hand signed documents to us – Modello no 3 Application form, Verifile Authority form and/or Special letter of Authority – as we can accept copies provide to us via upload or email.

Please note, we are yet to run a trial using electronically completed and signed forms.  Where a candidate is unable to print and send forms back to us, we can attempt to run the check via using electronically completed and signed forms.  We would keep you informed with regular updates as this would effectively be a live trial.

India Criminal Record Check

As India remains on lock down, we are unable to do the criminal check verification via our usual channels.  We have therefore developed a new product – a Criminality search – to provide an alternative service.

The Criminality search will provide details on both criminal and civil proceedings from the following courts: District courts, Lower courts, Magistrate courts, Metropolitan Magistrate courts, Sessions courts, High courts and the Indian Supreme court.

We will offer this product as replacement product at the time of receiving the order, the cost is the same.  We are confident of providing our clients with appropriate information to assist them make a hiring decision within the standard turnaround time of 5-10 working days

21 April 2020, 13:00  

South Africa Criminal record check

We are advised that, due to a strictly enforced lockdown, delivery of documents to South Africa faces severe delays.
Therefore, the check can currently proceed only if the following criteria are met: 

  1. An individual has their fingerprints stored on the centralised database.  It is commonplace for various organisations within South Africa to request fingerprints and we estimate that up to 80% of candidate data may be available from this source. 

  2. A scanned or electronically completed/signed Personal Credential form will be accepted by the Authorities

  3. A copy of either a South Africa ID book/ID card or passport

Candidates can send their Personal Credential form and ID document to Verifile via email and we will advise if their fingerprints are held on the database.

We continue to monitor the developments within the USA.  When an order is placed confirming different checks , criminal and bankruptcy for example, the results are not released until both checks have completed.  However, where one check is delayed, we will endeavour to provide the results for the completed check in order to asst with a hiring decision. Via this means, we hope to adhere to expected turnaround times
France Criminal Record Extract

This check remains unavailable. The French Government has extended the lockdown until 11 May 2020 and we continue to monitor the situation. We will continue to request the required information from candidates so that we are in position to run the check once the restrictions are lifted.
Driving Licence (DVLA UK)

Verifile have a Driving Vetting system to support clients with their driver and fleet management requirements. Using the Driving Vetting system, we are able to continue to offer DVLA licence checks more efficiently and provide a faster results service. Using our Driving Vetting system, which has many useful and bespoke functions, we can place checks electronically with the DVLA and have results returned in seconds.
How does it work?
•             Please place the order as normal
•             We will send the candidate an email with log in details for our Driver Vetting system
•             The candidate logs in and provides some personal information and their consent
•             The check completes automatically
•             We upload the results to the order and highlight any issues
Our Candidate Support team are available (+44 (0) 1234 339 300) to assist candidates with the log in process and our Sales team (+44 (0) 1234 60 80 90) would be delighted to talk to you in greater detail about your driver vetting or fleet management requirements.

15 April 2020, 15:42  

Driving Licence (DVLA UK)

We have an alternative means of submitting driver information requests. As the DVLA are not accepting postal applications, candidates will now be sent an email with log in details for our Driver Management system, where they will need to provide some personal information and provide their consent.

The good news is that this process will return results more quickly although the results will be in a slightly different format than before.

India Credit Check

The technical issue has been resolved and this product is now available  

Right to Work verification – Right to Work Audit (UK)

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has published the latest guidance on GOV.UK for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus (COVID-19). These changes are now live. Full details are available at:

Tier 2, 4 and 5 sponsors should visit: Coronavirus (COVID-19):

UKVI has a dedicated team for customers with immigration queries related to coronavirus. This includes questions about urgent, compelling and compassionate cases. For further help and support customers should visit:

Mauritius Criminal Record Check

We have received notification that the Authorities have ceased to process all applications for criminal checks until mid-May. The restrictions extend to delivery of documents to the islands so we are not able to submit any applications until further notice.

15 April 2020, 13:12

South Africa Criminal record check

We are experiencing some delays at present, some are due to the local situation and others are due to logistics.  To support this product, the Authorities will now accept scanned or electronically completed/signed Personal Credential forms sent via email.

France Criminal Record Extract

This product remains unavailable. We continue to monitor the situation 

India Credit Check

This product is unavailable at present.  Whilst the Authorities assure us they are working to resolve the technical issue, strict travel restrictions within India have prevented a resolution. We continue to monitor the situation


The situation in the USA has worsened with further county court closures being announced today. The following services remain available:

  • Bankruptcy 

  • National criminal database 

  • Civil Courts search 

  • Nationwide wants and warrants

Some delays should be expected.  However, we will endeavour to fulfil all orders using information gathered from statewide sources wherever possible.

Driving Licence (DVLA UK)

Detail on a replacement service to be announced shortly

08 April 2020, 16:55


The Disclosure & Barring Service have issued the following statement:
“After receiving feedback from employers and Registered Bodies regarding Covid-19 checks we have reviewed the legislation and have identified some changes to the guidance. 

  • Standard and Enhanced applications without barred lists are eligible for a free of charge check if they are within the roles outlined within the coronavirus legislation. For these checks Covid-19 must be included in the position applied for and the volunteer box must be selected. The rest of the application is completed as normal.  This is not a fast track service. The fast track service is for barred list checks only.

  •  Previously we advised that any applications using the fast track service were required to have both barred lists selected, regardless of the role.  It has now been decided that only the relevant barred list(s) for that role needs to be selected. 

We will be issuing the updated guidance on our website later this week and plan for the changes to be effective from Tuesday 14th April”.
So, what does this announcement mean?

  1. There is no change to the existing fast track Enhanced with Barred List DBS check, this remains free of charge with the Barred List check results returned as fast-tracked;

  2. Introduction of a free of charge Standard and/or Enhanced without Barred List DBS check.  However, Standard and/or Enhanced without Barred List DBS checks are not fast tracked so normal turnaround times will apply;

  3. Applications made using the fast tracked service previously required to have both barred lists selected, regardless of the role.  Now, just the relevant barred list(s) for the particular role that needs to be selected. 

We appreciate that these changes may cause confusion so please contact our Client team who will be happy to answer any questions you may have

07 April 2020, 16:23

Italy National Criminal, Civil and Bankruptcy Search

Whilst the official means of placing this check with the Italian Authorities remains to post original hand signed documents to them, we are to commence a trial of sending documents via email.  If this trial is successful, this will allow candidates to email the required documents – application form Authority form or Special letter of Authority and copy of an ID document – to Verifile rather than using the postal service.

We hope the trial is successful as this will simplify the process for candidates and significantly improve time scales to obtain results.

Brazil Criminal record check & Credit Check

We are pleased to advise that these checks remain available with no expected delays at this time.

Access NI

As already announced by Disclosure Scotland and the Disclosure and Barring Service, AccessNI has also advised that Registered Bodies can request an urgent check of the Barred Lists to enable individuals to begin work in advance of completing a full AccessNI check.

As with the other service providers,  this service is only available for positions where the applicant is urgently required to undertake work in response to the current COVID-19 crisis and must be followed up with a full Enhanced Disclosure Application in the normal way.

CIFAS Search

Following yesterdays; update to the Verifile system, clients will now start to see changes to the way results are displayed for CIFAS searches.  This check is now fully automated so results will be issued within minutes and is the latest addition to our range of instant checks.

India Credit Check

Please be advised that we continue to experience delays to completion of these checks.  We remain in contract with the Authorities who are working to resolve the technical issue but strict travel restrictions within India are delaying the resolution

COVID-19 DBS checks

Clients will be required to sign a declaration document prior to using the fast-track service. This is to ensure that clients understand that only certain role are eligible for the free and fast-track DBS checks and that clients will only utilise this temporary service for its purpose in response to the nation’s efforts against COVID-19.

Driving Licence (DVLA UK)

We continue in our efforts to speak with the DVLA to establish an alternative means of submitting driver information requests.  

India Criminal Record Check

As India remains on lock down we are unable to do the criminal check verification via our usual channels, this is resulting in significant delays.  We are investigating an alternative product which may provide appropriate information within a shorter timescale and will provide further updates on this subject.

Malaysia Certificate of Good Conduct

We have received confirmation for the Authorities that this check remains available at this time

06 April 2020, 16:00

Verifile pledges £3 million to support coronavirus recruitment

Verifile has pledged £3 million to support the emergency recruitment of health and social care employees and volunteers dealing with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. You could help us achieve that by sharing this news with everyone you know who you think would benefit.
By waiving our admin fees for a possible 500,000 DBS checks, we hope to save the NHS and other organisations up to £3 million in administration fees.

Read more about this comitment to the UK's fight against coronavirus at our official announcement.


02 April 2020, 12:52

South Africa Criminal record check

This check has the requirement for a candidate to submit two copies of their fingerprints along with an application form and ID document. Within South Africa, the police force are unable to provide a fingerprint service at present.

However, we use a centralised data source which  stores fingerprint data, and we are expecting that in 80% of requests to be able to complete this check for South African citizens.

Candidates residing outside of South Africa may also experience difficulty in obtaining fingerprints.  Candidates should check with their local police force to determine availability of this service.

Nigeria Criminal record check (Police Clearance certificate)

This check normally has a requirement for a candidate to submit 1 set of their fingerprints along with an application form and ID document.

However, we are able to offer criminal records report instead of the police clearance certificate which will allow the check to complete if a candidate is unable to obtain their fingerprints

02 April 2020, 10:50

Driving Licence (DVA Northern Ireland)

We have spoken with the DVA. They have advised that all requests will be processed but that some delays are inevitable as they are working with skeleton staffing.  All the pending checks have been processed and results are expected to be received later today

Driving Licence (DVLA UK)

Please be advised that some delays should be expected. The DVLA have now issued the following statement: 

"In line with the government’s advice we have a very limited number of staff on-site who are only dealing with applications from those who are directly involved in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In particular, we are prioritising applications relating to HGV drivers and critical workers to make sure they get any documentation they need as quickly as possible.

"We are unable to deal with any other paper applications until further notice.

"So we can help those in most need, please do not call unless you are directly involved in the nation’s response to COVID-19. Unfortunately, we will not be able to respond to any other calls or general queries until further notice."

The DVLA have previously refused to accept requests for driver information via email and have insisted that we send requests by post. 

We have as yet been unable to speak with them to seek an alternative means of submitting driver information requests but will continue to pursue a new working arrangement.


We are pleased to advise that we are able to offer criminal check, directorship and credit checks and that no delays are expected at this current time.  Please be advised that academic references may be delayed due to quarantine restrictions within Russia

India Credit Check

Please be advised that we are experiencing delays to completion of these checks.  The Authorities are working to resolve the technical issue and we will continue to monitor the situation

01 April 2020, 14:10

Italy National Criminal, Civil and Bankruptcy Search

We had contact back from the Authorities today advising as follows: “seppur con qualche ritardo a causa dell'emergenza covid-19  questo Ufficio continuerà ad evadere le richieste da Voi inviate.”

Translation: "Albeit with some delay due to the covid-19 emergency, this Office will continue to process the requests sent by you."

Portugal Criminal Registry Certificate

The Authorities have confirmed that they will now accept application forms that have an electronic signature (previously required a wet signature). This removes the need to need to print and sign the application form by hand.

The requirement remains that candidates need to supply us with an application form, an Authority form and a copy of an ID document and that the signature on all three documents must match

31 March 2020, 14:10

Right to Work verification – Right to Work Audit (UK) 

The Home Office announced yesterday that:

  • checks can now be carried out over video calls

  • job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals

  • employers should use the Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents

This does not remove the requirement for  RTW check but it will make it easier for employers. It is important to note that it remains an offence to knowingly employ anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK.

It does make an allowance if an individual is unable, due to COVID-19, is unable to evidence their right to work.

Employers must take extra care to ensure no-one is discriminated against as a job applicant or employee because they are unable to show their documents.

More information is available at: code of practice for employers: avoiding unlawful discrimination while preventing illegal working.

Conducting a right to work check during the temporary COVID-19 measures:

  • Ask the worker to submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents via email or using a mobile app

  • Arrange a video call with the worker – ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents

  • Record the date you made the check and mark it as “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”

Disclosure Scotland

Disclosure Scotland announced that online applications can be made for Basic, Standard Enhanced Disclosure and also for PVG applications for new and existing members.  They will prioritise roles in the following sectors:

  • Healthcare

  • Pharmaceutical

  • Childcare

  • Social work

  • Social care

  • Prisons and justice

Previously, clients had to provide candidates with a paper form, the candidate completed this and posted to Verifile where trained staff (“Contersignatorie”) viewed the information and submitted the paper form via post to Disclosure Scotland. 

Although the term ‘online’ is a little misleading, as it’s not a form that you complete online, the process is simplified and quicker:

  • forms can be downloaded from the website

  • the candidate needs to fil in the details (electronic signature from the applicant and countersignatory are now acceptable and there is no need to print and sign a form by hand);

  • the candidate returns the form to Verifile via email

  • we review and counter sign

  • we send to Disclosure Scotland via email

The different types of forms and how to download are clearly shown on their website.

​30 March 2020, 14:15

DBS Standard & Enhanced Criminal Checks

These checks are now FREE OF CHARGE. Please see our update about this here.

Right to Work verification - Right to work (UK) aka as Conditional Right to Work check

Now operating as normal

China Criminal Record Check

We have been informed that normal service has resumed

26 March 2020, 17:25

Multiple updates related to various checks

As various countries and data sources decide on how best to enact contigency plans to lesen the impact of coronavirus, we're starting to understand more how this may impact the background screening sector. Here are the latest updates that we have for you today:

Please note: some of these updates may be repeated from earlier updates and act as a reminder.

Right to Work verification – right to Work Audit (UK)

The Home Office are not aware of any immediate decisions to relaxing the rule around face to face meetings and the need for original documents. Any updates will be announced on their website. Therefore, existing requirements remain in force:


There has been some relaxation around visa regulations. You can read more about these at the Home office website.

Right to Work verification - Right to work (UK) aka as Conditional Right to Work check

There is significant disruption at present.  We are hopeful that the current backlog will be resolved over the weekend.

Criminal Records Checks - Northern Ireland

AccessNI has partially activated the Priority Plan their coronavirus Contingency Plan. As of today, Registered Bodies can request an urgent check of the Barred Lists to enable individuals to begin work in advance of completing a full AccessNI check.

This service is only available for positions where the applicant is urgently required to undertake work in response to the current COVID-19 crisis and must be followed up with a full Enhanced Disclosure Application in the normal way.

Driving Licence -  Northern Ireland

We have been unable to speak directly with the DVA but were reassured last week that it was business as usual.  They have an automated message advising that all first time licence applications and some other applications are suspended until 22 June 2020 and that no calls will be answered.

We will continue to seek confirmation of the disruption but at this time it is expected that delays are inevitable.


No disruption to service at this time

Criminal records assistance and validation (SAR) 

The Spanish Parliament extended emergency measures until 12 April 2020. Whilst the document required to process the check can be posted to the Ministry of Justice, each candidate is required to submit an ID document that has been stamped by a Notary Public. Given the current lock down restrictions, we expect significant delays

Italy National Criminal, Civil and Bankruptcy Search

Whilst we are able to place these checks, we expect significant delays in receiving results

India Criminal Record Check

Whilst we are able to place these checks, we expect significant delays in receiving results

Lithuania Police Criminal Record Check

Not available at this time

France Criminal Record Extract

This remains unavailable. From 16 March the National Criminal Records has participated in the effort essential to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Consequently, no request for a criminal record extract (Bulletin 3) can be processed, whether it is sent by digital or postal mail, and telephone reception is no longer guaranteed.

Senegal Criminal record check

Senegal has joined the list of countries on lockdown. We are able to place orders but expect delays to receiving results

Poland Criminal record check

Polish Mail have resumed distribution of Registered mail, we are able to place checks but expect delays to receiving results

Cyprus Certificate of Character

The Authorities have confirmed they will accept digitally signed applications and authority forms meaning candidates are no longer expected to post documents to Verifile.  

Switzerland Extract from the Criminal Record

Whilst we are able to place these checks, we expect significant delays in receiving results.

25 March 2020, 09:10

DBS allows temporary video I.D. verification for all checks

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), has allowed a temporary relaxing of their identity verification requirements in response to the coronavirus lock down.

They are now allowing candidates’ identity to be verified via video link or by sending a scanned electronic copy to employers or their agents for Basic, Standard and Enhanced checks.

Previously they had only relaxed these rules for Standard and Enhanced checks.

In an advisory sent to Verifile, they said:

"Due to current measures that have been put in place as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, we’re aware that organisations are having difficulty following the DBS ID checking guidance.

"Currently, when validating ID documents, it is best practice to carry the examination out face-to-face with a live video link as an alternative method. Under the current guidance, the ID checker must be in physical possession of the original documents so they can be checked for indicators of fraud.

"As the public is being advised to work from home where possible, this is causing difficulties in receiving the physical documents and is delaying applications, and in some cases, preventing applications from being submitted.

"To ensure that the necessary DBS checks can still be carried out, the DBS ID checking guidance will be changed for a temporary period. The change will come into effect immediately."

The changes allow:

  • ID documents to be viewed over video link 

Or, if it is not possible to verify documents via video link:

  • Scanned images can be viewed in advance of the DBS check being submitted

  • The DBS also advised that this change should only be implemented for urgent cases where it is not possible to follow the normal identity checking guidelines

Under the relaxed guidelines, the applicant must also present the original versions of these documents when they first attend their employment or volunteering role.
In addition: 

  • Similar relaxations were announced by Disclosure Scotland and AccessNI

  • Turnaround Times for DBS checks are being treated as a priority with the government committed. PM Boris Johnson said: "We are speeding up the DBS checks so they can be done in 24 hours and I want to thank and congratulate all the boroughs throughout this country for the way they are harnessing those volunteers.”

  • You can follow live updates on how Verifile is adapting to mitigate the affects of coronavirus here.

For more information on these changes and how they will help you to continue running background checks during this unprecedented time, please contact your account manager or the Client Services Team on +44 (0) 1234 339 350 or via email

20 March 2020, 15:10

Disclosure Scotland to prioritise key checks

Disclosure Scotland is working closely with the Scottish Government and key stakeholders on their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also invoked their Business Continuity plans to prevent any disruption to safeguarding services at this time of crisis.

The organistaion says they will also prioritise checks for those who have the most sensitive roles in supporting this crisis. The criteria for prioritisation is based upon the roles: 

  • Healthcare

  • Pharmaceutical

  • Childcare

  • Social work

  • Social care

  • Prisons and justice

They add that the list of key roles may change as the situation develops and evolves.

If you have any questions, please contact your Account Manager or Client Services on +44 (0) 1234 339 350 or

20 March 2020, 15:10

Swiss Criminal Records Checks

The Swiss Register of Criminal records has warned of being "severely restricted". 

In a satement they said: "It is our prime objective to continue to provide our services to the people of Switzerland even in these exceptional times. Because of the coronavirus crisis, the capacities of the Swiss Register of Criminal Records have been severely restricted.

"As a result, until further notice we can only guarantee orders of criminal records excerpts if the order is made over the counter at a post office in Switzerland. Please do not order any excerpts unless it is absolutely necessary. Thank you for your understanding and take care."

19 March 2020, 15:10

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and AccessNI allows temporary video verification

The DBS and AccessNI has said they will temporarily allow ID verification via video for standard and enhanced checks. Basic checks will still have to be carried out face to face. Read their official statement here.

This means that for the checks mentioned, remote video session is now allowed. Employers must ask the individual to present the documents in the video, they must be able to see it clearly and look for signs of tampering and make sure they can match the photos in the documents to the individual.

Our recommendation to all clients using this method is to add a passport verification check as it will help reduce the chance of fraud further. Adding further identity verification to your screening programme adds real value especially at times when recruitment is being carried out remotely.
Employers will still need to see the original documents on the first day the new employee attends their place of work.
19 March 2020, 15:10

IR 35 postponed

The government has announced they will postpone the IR35 reforms due to be launched in April. They will now be implemented in April 2021.

The changes will see every medium and large private sector business in the UK become responsible for setting the tax status of any contract worker they use from April 2020.

The postponement has been made to prevent any delay in hiring contractors, should you need them to support peaks in demand or urgent work within your business due to impact from the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more