How Long does an International Background Check Take? Everything You Need to Know

International Background Check Turnaround Time

One of the most common questions we are asked is ‘how long an international criminal background check takes to be completed?’

The truth is, there is no easy answer to that question. The average turnaround time for international background checks is dependent on numerous external factors, many of which fall beyond your control.

What’s Involved in an International Background Check?

An international background check delves into the history of someone from another country coming to work for a UK-based organisation. While domestic background checks determine a person’s suitability for the role, international checks are also an increasingly important component of overseas companies’ hiring strategies. Sometimes a domestic background criminal record check isn’t enough, particularly when globalisation is a growing trend in almost every industry and sector.

The information disclosed in this type of background check will depend on the organisation that requires it. For example, a financial institution would prefer someone’s credit history and professional experience, while an education recruiter would be more interested in their education history and criminal record.

International checks may include the following:

  • Education background checks

Educational verification checks confirm that an applicant has completed a relevant course, degree or certification at various institutions. These are done to ensure that a person has been honest on their CV and not fabricating their experience in any way. Read more about education verification here.

  • Criminal record checks

DBS checks are conducted in the UK, at various levels (Basic, Standard and Enhanced DBS checks) to confirm a person’s suitability for working with children and vulnerable adults. Every country has its laws governing individual criminal records access, so background check companies have to follow strict procedures on occasion.

  • Credit checks

Credit reports help to establish an individual as reputable and trustworthy with their money. Financial companies often require credit checks, as per standards set out by SMCR and the FCA. As such, international credit checks can be complicated due to complex privacy laws.

  • Employment History

Reference verification involves calling past employers or personal references. A language barrier can prove problematic in many cases, not to mention time zone differences. Still, a background check agency like Eurocom CI will be well-equipped to handle this if needed.

Background Checks Turnaround Times

Domestic background checks usually take between 3-5 working days on average. That being said, several factors can affect the turnaround time of an international equivalent.

If you’re working with cooperative countries to verify a person’s background, it should only take a little bit longer. But countries with extensive protective laws can mean that the screening process takes longer to complete. Of course, if the background check has revealed incriminating information about the applicant, that in itself will add even more time to the proceedings.

With the post-Brexit regulations stipulating that individual workers will need certain forms of right to work, this means that UK firms hiring candidates from overseas should prepare for longer waiting times. That being said, every candidate recruitment process is different and will vary drastically from country to country.

Limiting your candidate search to countries with fewer requirements and less red tape to manoeuvre around will speed up the process. But you should always ensure you have plenty of time to allow for any unexpected delays in the co-operating country.

Advice for Employers Recruiting Workers Overseas

Here are some essential tips to remember when hiring international candidates.

  • Standard or Enhanced DBS checks can’t be run on people who currently live and work overseas. 
  • A certain amount of criminal record offences may be held on the Police National Computer which could flag up any crimes committed abroad.
  • Therefore, it’s essential to call the relevant embassy or High Commission of their home country if you spot anything suspicious.

Background Check Agency

At Eurocom CI, we help organisations hire candidates from all over the world. All of the checks we carry out are done online, making the entire process much more efficient and straightforward. We aim to capture all the relevant information in one single form. While we might require additional information on occasion, we always strive to provide results promptly via email, so you are not waiting for a long time. Turnaround times are often beyond our control, but we always try to deliver results as quickly as possible.

We offer organisations a wide range of background check packages and provide bespoke services to companies depending on their hiring needs. Please refer to our page here or give us a call to see how we can help you.