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A basic disclosure is a criminal record check. You get a certificate showing any 'unspent' criminal convictions you may have. Unspent means you need to declare them. You can use this certificate to show to prospective employers or other people that need to know this information.

Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, some criminal convictions can be treated as 'spent' – meaning they're not relevant to basic disclosure – after a certain length of time. This is because a basic disclosure only shows any unspent convictions you may have.

Applications for basic disclosure will be processed according to the Scottish rules under the Rehabilitation periods for particular sentences section of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

You can apply online for a basic disclosure yourself for any reason, for example:

  • a job application
  • voluntary work
  • an airport security pass

Apply for yourself

Most people apply online for a basic disclosure for themselves.

If you’re carrying out work in England or Wales, you should apply through Disclosure and Barring Service. Your employer may not accept a basic disclosure check if it's from the wrong service.

Organisations applying for workers

Some organisations can apply for a basic disclosure for their workers. 

Organisations that submit 25 or more basic disclosure applications each month can bulk apply through the Disclosure Scotland application service.

Email to find out more about this service.

Organisations with less than 25 basic disclosure applications should ask their workers or volunteers to apply online.

Information displayed on the paper certificate

Your basic disclosure certificate will show:

  • the date it was issued
  • your name
  • your address
  • your date of birth
  • any unspent convictions

You should enter your name on the form exactly as you want it to appear on the certificate, including any middle names. Disclosure Scotland can't change this later as part of the application.

Basic disclosure time period

Your basic disclosure shows your record of unspent convictions at a point in time (the date your certificate was issued), so there is no set time that it lasts for. If you already have one and apply for a new role, it is up to the new person or organisation whether they'll accept your existing basic disclosure certificate or ask you to get a new one.


A basic disclosure costs £25. You'll need to pay when you apply using a credit or debit card.

How long does it take to get my certificate?

You're likely to receive your basic disclosure certificate within 14 calendar days, although it might take longer if there are any mistakes or if Disclosure Scotland need to contact you for more information.

You can track the progress of your online application. You will need the reference number given after you've applied.

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