Garda vetting

What is Garda vetting?

If you are working or volunteering with children or vulnerable adults in Ireland, you must go through Garda vetting. This process checks if you have a criminal record, or any history that might pose a threat to vulnerable people.

The Garda Siochána National Vetting Bureau handles the process and sends a vetting disclosure to the organisation you are involved with.

Currently, you won’t need to be re-vetted unless you change jobs or roles within a sports or community group.

The rules for Garda vetting are set out in the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012-2016.

You can read frequently asked questions about Garda vetting on the National Vetting Bureau website.

Changes to Garda vetting process

The Government is currently reviewing the Garda vetting system to strengthen the process around re-vetting requirements. We will update this page as more information becomes available.

Police Certificate

Garda vetting is different to getting a Police Certificate. Police Certificates are issued by the Gardaí for various reasons, such as starting a business abroad or applying for a visa in another country.

Garda vetting for hosting Ukrainian refugees

Special procedures have been set up by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), the Garda National Vetting Bureau (GNVB) and the Irish Red Cross for vetting host families accommodating Ukrainian refugees.

Garda vetting applies to host families, including hosts and family members over 16 who are sharing their homes with Ukrainian families, especially those with children or vulnerable people.

Who handles Garda vetting?

The National Vetting Bureau, part of the Garda Síochána, handles requests from employers needing information on prospective (soon-to-be) employees, volunteers, and other workers.

Vetting is only carried out for organisations registered with the Bureau. Relevant organisations include those working with children and vulnerable adults or providing services involving access to them.

Read more details about the vetting procedure on the Garda vetting website.

Other types of vetting

Besides standard vetting, the National Vetting Bureau also manages vetting related to Non-Act applications required by other legislation.

For example, certain bodies, such as An Garda Síochána, the Courts Service and some government departments require applicants to disclose any spent convictions.

Who needs Garda vetting?

If your role at a relevant organization involves working with children or vulnerable adults, you must undergo Garda vetting.

This includes staff, contractors, agency workers, volunteers, students or apprentices in:

  • Childcare services
  • Schools
  • Hospitals and health services
  • Residential services or accommodation for children or vulnerable people
  • Treatment, therapy or counselling services for children or vulnerable people
  • Services providing leisure, sporting, or physical activities to children or vulnerable people
  • Services promoting religious beliefs

Self-employed people

Garda vetting is not done on a personal basis. If you are self-employed, you can only apply for vetting through a relevant organisation, as defined in Section 2 of the Act.

Private security employees

Under the Private Security Services Act 2004 private security employees like bouncers and nightclub security staff must be Garda vetted.

Information in your vetting disclosure

When vetted by the National Vetting Bureau, your criminal record is disclosed (revealed) to the authorised liaison person in the registered organisation (the company, body, or club you want to work for).

The liaison person will get a vetting disclosure about you. This disclosure will include:

  • Details of any convictions
  • Details of pending prosecutions
  • A statement of specified information or a statement that there is no criminal record or specified information relating to you

A statement of specified information is any information that leads to a genuine belief you pose a threat to children or vulnerable people.

Minor offences

Certain minor offences in the District Court over 7 years old are not included in the vetting disclosure.

However, there are exceptions for offences specified in Schedule 3 of the Acts and in Schedule 1 of the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016.

Read more about spent convictions.

Retention of vetting information

Organisations should delete Garda vetting disclosures a year after receiving them, except in exceptional circumstances. The reference number and date of a disclosure can be kept for future reference.

Read the guidance note (pdf) on data protection considerations on the Data Protection Commission’s website.

How to apply for Garda vetting

If you apply for a position requiring Garda vetting, you will be sent a Garda vetting application form. You can apply online using e-Vetting or you can use a paper form.

If you are under 18, you must submit a consent form signed by a parent or guardian.

e-Vetting process

To use e-Vetting you must be over 16 and have a valid email address. You must complete the “proof of identity” process.

The steps involved are:

  1. Fill out the vetting information form sent by the registered organisation.
  2. After validating your proof of identity, you will get an email with a link to the online vetting application form.
  3. Complete the form online and submit it to the organisation.
  4. The organisation reviews your form and sends it to the National Vetting Bureau.
  5. The Bureau processes the application and sends a vetting disclosure to the organisation.
  6. The organisation sends you a copy of the disclosure.

You can track your e-Vetting application status and find the registration details for organisations on the National Vetting Bureau website.

Disputes and appeals

If you disagree with the details in the vetting disclosure, you can dispute this with the organisation conducting the vetting. Provide a summary of your reasons to the liaison person. The liaison person will send the application to the National Vetting Bureau for re-checking.

There is an independent appeals process for disclosure of specified information. You must make your appeal within 14 days of the decision.

Registering your organisation

Any organisation requiring Garda vetting must register with the National Vetting Bureau. This includes appointing a liaison person to handle vetting disclosures.

Read the procedure for registering an organisation on the National Vetting Bureau website.

How long does Garda vetting last?

Typically, you won’t have to be re-vetted unless you change jobs or roles within a sports or community organisation.

The Government is considering introducing mandatory re-vetting every 3 years.

Requesting personal data

Garda vetting is not done for individuals on a personal basis. However, you have the right to access your personal data held by the Garda Siochána.

Read more about how to access your personal data.

A response to your data protection access request is not the same as Garda vetting, a Police Certificate, a Garda Reference, or proof of no convictions.

Contact information

National Vetting Bureau

Racecourse Road
E41 RD60

Tel: +353 504 27300
Locall: 0818 488 488
Page edited: 27 February 2024