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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-unusual-addresses-guidance/dbs-unusual-addresses-guide
Sections b and c of the DBS check application form asks you for your 5 year address history.
If you don’t have a straightforward address history because you are, or have been in the last 5 years:
- a student
- working away from home
- a frequent traveller
- living on a canal boat, cruise ship or merchant vessel
- of no fixed abode
- a member of HM Armed Forces
- living in a refuge or sheltered accommodation
- in prison
Often, the standard address guidance still applies so we recommend that you do the following first:
Give the address where you are currently living in section b. This will be where we will write to you and send the results of your DBS check.
If the first part of your address is lengthy, you can split it across the two lines of boxes in section b32. Remember to leave an empty box between each word.
Make sure you provide a complete address. The only field that is not mandatory is the county (b34).
The country field is mandatory. If you are a resident of the United Kingdom you must write the words UNITED KINGDOM in b36 and provide your postcode in b35. If you do not live in the United Kingdom, you must still give the name of the country where you live, but leave the postcode field blank.
In b37 put the month and year that you moved into this address.
There is space on the application form to record up to 2 extra addresses. Extra addresses should be written on the DBS continuation sheet.
If you don’t fall into any of these categories, and having difficulty completing your address history, please call the DBS for advice. The most important points to remember in all cases are:
- we need a complete address history going back a full 5 years prior to the date you complete your application
- the address you provide in section b as your ‘current address’ should be where you want us to write to you, and where we will send your DBS certificate.
If you live on campus or other student accommodation during term time, but live with your parents (or a similar permanent home address) in the period between academic years, put the address where you want us to write to you in section b.
We will also send the DBS certificate to this address.
2.1 Using your parents’ address
If this is your parents’ address (or similar permanent home address), the date you have been ‘at the address since’ in b37 should be the month and full year you originally moved into that address.
Make sure you give a complete address. The only field that is not mandatory in section b is the ‘county’ field.
If you live in the United Kingdom, you must write the words ‘UNITED KINGDOM’ in b36 and your postcode at b35. If this address is not in the United Kingdom, you must still give the name of the relevant country but leave the postcode field blank.
If you have lived at this address for at least 5 years, you must still give details of all the student addresses you lived at during the last 5 years in section c so we have your full address history for that period.
Its likely there will be gaps between your student addresses, as you leave one student address in the summer and do not move into the next address until the autumn. We will use your parents’ address (or the similar permanent address you have supplied) to fill in the gaps.
Because of this, if you moved into your parents’ address less than 5 years ago, you must include in section c any previous family homes that you have lived at outside term-time.
We won’t assume the address you provide in section b is your parents’ address.
We won’t make assumptions about whether or not the addresses you provide in section c refer to your parents’ address.
You must tell us on a DBS continuation sheet or separate sheet of paper, which of the addresses are these more permanent residences.
Don’t write this information on the application form itself.
2.2 Using your student address
If you prefer that we write to you and send your certificate to your student address, please provide this at section b and your parents’ address (or similar permanent address) in section c.
Give the full address details of the halls of residence or other student accommodation you have lived at in the last 5 years in section c.
These details are requested in blocks of six fields, c38 to c43 and c44 to c49, which are similar to those in section b. The only field that is not mandatory is the ‘county’ field.
If you are still living at your most recent student address, you must complete the ‘dates from and to’ fields but the ‘date to’ will be the month and year in which you complete and sign your application form. Don’t leave this field blank or your application will be delayed.
If you have given your parents’ address (or similar permanent address) where you live outside term times in section c, the ‘date to’ will be the month and year that you were last living at this address.
2.3 General rules
Don’t write ‘current’, ‘still there’, present’ or any similar phrases in any of the fields on the application form.
There is space on the application form to record up to 2 additional addresses. Further addresses should be written on a DBS continuation sheet.
3. Working away from home
If at any time in the last 5 years you have been required to spend a day or two away from your permanent address due to your work, we do not require details of the hotels or similar types of residency that you stay in for those short periods.
If you are a travelling salesman, a pastor, a speaker, a locum, a supply teacher, or similar and the nature of your work means that you are frequently spending 1 or 2 days in different places away from your permanent address, we don’t need details of each of the places that you visit.
Simply provide the details of your permanent address in full in section b and the date that you first started living there.
However, if you spend months at a time living at an alternative address that is not your permanent home address we do require the details of this residence and the dates between which you were at the alternative address. Put this information in section c.
Provide details of your permanent home address in section b. In both cases, the only field that is not mandatory is the ‘county’ field.
Similarly, if your work requires you to reside somewhere other than your home address during the week but you return home to your permanent residence at weekends, you must provide the address details of both residences.
Use section b to provide the details of your permanent home address – it is this address that we will use to write to you and send your certificate or registration details to.
Use section c to tell us about the other address. We require the month and year at which you first started to stay at that address and the month and year in which you last stayed at that address. These ‘dates from and to’ must be completed, so if that you continue to use this alternative address at the time of your application, please provide the current month and full year as your ‘date to’.
3.1 General rules
Don’t write ‘current’, ‘still there’, present’, ‘not applicable’, or any similar phrases in any of the fields.
4. Frequent or long-term travellers
We don’t need details of your 1 or 2 week annual holidays.
However, if you’ve spent long periods of time travelling around the UK or abroad in the last 5 years, we do need some details from you.
In all cases we need a full address in section b at which we can write to you and send your certificate. The only field that is not mandatory in section b is b34, the ‘county’ field.
4.1 If you were travelling abroad
In section c you must write the word ‘TRAVELLING’ in the address field, supply the name of the country in which you were travelling in the ‘country’ field and the dates between which you were in that country in the ‘dates from and to’ fields. These should be provided using the month and year (MM/YYYY) format. Leave all other fields blank.
4.2 If you were travelling around the United Kingdom
In section c you must write the word ‘TRAVELLING’ in the address field, provide the name of the county and write ‘UNITED KINGDOM’ in the country field.
You must also provide the dates between which you were travelling in that area using the month and year (MM/YYYY) format.
4.3 General rules
There is space on the application form to record up to 2 additional addresses. Further addresses should be given on a DBS continuation sheet.
5. Employees or residents of cruise ships, canal boats or merchant vessels
If, during the last 5 years, you have lived or worked on a cruise ship, canal boat, or merchant vessel which, essentially, became your permanent place of residence for that period of time, then you must provide the registered port address or the permanent mooring address for that ship, boat or barge in section c.
We don’t want to know about each of the places that you passed through or temporarily stopped off at, only the registered port or permanent mooring address.
You must also provide the dates between which you lived on the vessel.
We don’t need to know about standard holidays on boats or ships unless they have lasted for months at a time and have, essentially, become your permanent residence and are within your 5 year address history – in which case you must provide details as above.
6. No fixed abode
If, during the last 5 years, there has been a period of time during which you had no fixed abode, you must supply some details about this in section c.
Write ‘NO FIXED ABODE’ in the address field and provide the town or city, the county and the country where you were during this period, along with the dates between which you were of no fixed abode. These dates should be provided using the month and year (MM/YYYY) format.
If you were of no fixed abode in more than one county, you must supply each one as a separate address using this same format.
We cannot accept ‘NO FIXED ABODE’ as your current address in section b. This is because we need a full address to write to you and send out your certificate.
In these circumstances you must provide a ‘care of’ address in section b and explain this on a separate sheet or on a DBS continuation sheet.
7. HM Armed Forces
If you are a member of HM Armed Forces and you have a British Forces Post Office (BFPO) number, you may use this as your current address in section b of the form or, if relevant, as part of your 5 year address history in section c.
Due to a specific arrangement with HM Forces, the fields that are mandatory for all other forms of address are not required for BFPO addresses.
Simply write your BFPO number in the ‘address’ field and leave the town/city, county, UK postcode and country fields blank. Do not write ‘not applicable’ or ‘N/A’ or any other information in these boxes.
If you are supplying the BFPO number as your current address, we still require the month and full year at which you began using this address in b37.
If you are supplying the BFPO number as part of your ‘other addresses’ history in section c, we still require the ‘dates from and to’ that you used this address.
8.1 A previous overseas address
If you have lived at an address anywhere other than the United Kingdom in the 5 years prior to the date you are filling out the form, you must supply some information in relation to this.
Write the word ‘OVERSEAS’ in the ‘address’ field, the name of the country in which you were living in the ‘country’ field and the dates between which you lived there in the ‘dates from and to’ field – these should be provided using the month and full year (MM/YYYY) format.
Please leave all other fields relating to this address blank. Don’t write ‘not applicable’ or ‘N/A’ or any other information in these boxes.
8.2 A current overseas address
If you are currently living abroad and are applying for a DBS check, with the organisation’s agreement, you can use the correspondence address of your employer or the Registered Body processing the check as your main address on the application form at section b.
It is this address that we will use to write to you and send your certificate.
You must also enter the address where you currently live in section c on the application form, with the current month as the closing date.
9. Women’s refuge/ sheltered accommodation
If you have lived at a women’s refuge or other type of sheltered accommodation in the last 5 years we require details of this address. However, you should not make any reference to the nature of the address when providing details about it.
If it is your current address, simply provide the number of the residence and the name of the road in b32, followed by the remainder of the information required in that section. All fields marked in yellow are mandatory.
If the address is in the United Kingdom, please write UNITED KINGDOM in b36 and supply the postcode in b35.
The date at which you began living at the address should be provided using the month and full year format (MM/YYYY).
If it is a previous address, please provide the information in the same way in section c and tell us the dates between which you lived at the address.
10. Prison addresses
If you have spent time in prison in the past 5 years, you need to supply the name of the prison and either the town/city or the county the prison is located in.
You should provide the dates you were there in the ’dates from and to’ fields.