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What documents do I need to send for my Background Check > Activity History?
What documents do I need to send for my Background Check > Activity History?

Some great advice on what to provide for your Activity History

Written by Karan
Updated over a week ago

We know it can seem difficult trying to provide evidence for the things you've been doing over the last five years - especially if you've done a lot of different things and if you have not been working. Remember, the five year activity history is not limited to work alone!

This article should give you much more of an idea about what to include.

Remember these simple rules for success first:

  • We need supporting evidence in the form of documentation for each activity.

  • You cannot have gaps in your activity history of more than 31 days.

  • If you are submitting an activity without documentation, know that it will delay the application process as we will need to come back and ask for evidence.

Below you will find five headings that cover the major activity types for the five-year work history check.

Based on your own history and activity, please refer to the relevant sections and use the information to guide what documents you provide.

You only need to provide supporting evidence for the dates that you undertook each activity - i.e. if you were self-employed between March and December 2019, you would provide documents supporting self-employment, just for that time period.


Generally, the quickest way to prove your employment history is by providing your HMRC records with clear dates.

Please find step by step instructions below and kindly follow each step carefully, please do not actually print this document, this button is used to save it in a usable format.

We require this as a one document PDF:

  • Click on the following link and start now:

  • If you don't already have a login then click Create sign in details and follow the steps

  • If you already have a login then you can Sign in

  • Click Pay as you earn

  • Click PAYE Income Tax History

  • At the the top of the page, click "Print this page"

  • Be sure to set this to save as .pdf, do not actually print this off as then your end date will still be required.

You can see the video attached to the original message to see how this is performed on a desktop or laptop computer.

Please note that the HMRC 5 year can only be used for jobs that appear on the form and show payment from the employer. Without it appearing or showing you having received a wage from them - it would not count as acceptable evidence for that activity.

If you choose to provide other documents. this will require you to provide multiple pieces of supporting evidence for each activity.

For example:

  • Two Bank Statements and a P60

  • P60s and P45s

  • Payslips and Contract of Employment

This documentation should be dated within 31 days of the date you are trying to evidence.


To confirm any periods of self-employment, you will need to provide proof of start and end dates, using a combination of the following:

  • If you were Self Employed in the UK, you can call HMRC on 0300 200 3300 and ask them to send you a letter by post to confirm your dates of self employment.

  • HMRC Tax Returns for the past five years.

  • A mixture of bank statements and invoices to support the time periods stated in your application.

  • A letter from an Accountant confirming that you're self-employed with full dates.

You can access your Personal Tax records using your government gateway ID here.


To confirm your time spent travelling, you can provide the following documents:

  • Passport Stamps

  • Travel Itinerary

  • Visa Application Letters

  • Travel Tickets (plane, train, coach, etc.)

  • Bank Statements (showing payments to travel agencies/companies)

Studying and education

To confirm any period of education, we can accept the following documentation:

  • Certificates and Module Breakdowns

  • Proof of Start Date: Enrolment letters

  • Leaving: Certificates

  • Acceptance Letters can be provided but only when provided with other evidences.

If you are still studying, confirmation from your place of study (for example, a university or college) can be accepted as long as it contains the following:

  • Letter - this must be on letterheaded paper and contain an official stamp from the place of study.

  • Email - this must have their email visible and it must be addressed to you directly.

  • Please make sure either of the above are not older than 31 days and that they contain the full date of sending, including year.

If you have been in education, then please send letters from the university/college/school with your name and course start/end dates on!

Job seeking

Often while people are job seeking, they receive some type of Government Payment (Job Seekers Allowance etc.) that we can use as evidence of supporting documentation for those periods of time.

Please provide proof of Government payments by providing either all your Bank Statements for the relevant time periods stated or by showing payment confirmation from Department of Work and Pension (DWP) through the DWP website.

If you weren't receiving Government payments during that time, you can instead provide:

  • Screenshots of emails showing applications to work or responses from employers declining/arranging interviews etc.

  • We can also consider supporting evidence from companies confirming they were helping you to find employment. In order for these emails to be considered, we need them to show the full date, including the year and the full email addresses of who it was sent to and from.

Activity Gap

There might have been periods in the past five years where you've had time away from work or school, or don't have proof that this happened.

If this is the case, let us know:

  • if you were doing anything that you might be able to prove. Whether this is looking for jobs, seeking asylum, volunteering etc.

  • If there's any documents or people that might be able to verify that. (Be aware, this cannot be a friend or family member).

  • How you supported yourself at this time.

Parental Cover

We understand there are many reasons that parents need time off from working to look after their children.

In order to prove a period of time spent looking after your children, we would need evidence of the following:

  • Bank statements clearly showing that Child Benefit is in payment

  • Working Tax Credit letter confirming the 'child element' is payable

  • Child Tax Credit letter (provisional version is acceptable)

If you have been in receipt of child benefit for less than a year - we will need you to prove each month.

If you have been in receipt of child benefit for more than a year - we will need evidence of the start, middle and most recent within 30 days in order for this to be accepted.


If you have spent time volunteering at an organisation or charity then we can accept the following documentary evidence to support this time:

  • We can accept references from emails addresses that are in the public domain (this means that we can accept emails from emails from the organisation as long as they have an email that isn't hotmail, gmail etc).

  • We can accept documentation that shows both their start date and end date from the organisation or charity.

  • We can accept any contractual agreements that you have signed at the start of your volunteering.

  • We need to see evidence of both the start and the end dates so if you only provide one - we will ask you to provide the other.

Activities outside of the UK

The BS7858 vetting process requires us to provide evidence of the last 5 years of your activity history regardless of the country that you were living in.

This means that we accept documentation from all countries in all languages as long as we can successfully translate it. If we cannot successfully translate it - we may need your guidance to help us clarify where the information is and what it is saying.

Please follow the guidance in the rest of this article as the same applies to any country.

Refugee/Visa/Asylum/Student applications

This is a tricky situation for us to clear as the documentation that you can provide may be very limited.

However, we can accept the following:

  • University applications showing full details and full date including your full name. For student applications we will need evidence for every month from when you started the application if it is possible We can accept evidence of you completing the IELTS test, a TB test or any other relevant entry requirement.

  • Email confirmations from the appropriate authority showing full details and full date including your full name

  • Documents from the application process that shows evidence of your application with your name on it and the date showing

  • We will likely need multiple documents to prove the duration so consider providing a combination but ensuring that we have evidence for each year of the application process

Covid-19 Lockdowns

We understand that from the start of 2020, the global pandemic had a massive effect on the world and lockdowns were in place in many countries.

However, the NSI do not consider Covid-19 lockdowns as an activity and therefore, neither can we.

The lockdowns did not prevent people from completing some activities such as job applications etc and therefore we would require evidence of activity for this time outside of lockdown alone.

Many companies offered remote working during this time and the internet was running throughout.

Financially supported by your family

If you were in receipt of financial support from your family, be that your parents or another family member or friend - we cannot accept this as an activity.

If the time period is less than 6 months, then we may be able to accept a Statutory Declaration but please speak with us prior to purchasing this document to ensure that this would be acceptable.

Gym and other activities

If you were attending a regular subscription, e.g. going to the gym then you can provide us with documentary evidence in the form of bank statements or invoices/receipts.

This can also include religious practices such as attending educational activities at mosque but we would need a letter confirming it from the mosque email address.

You can also provide evidence of leisure activities such as regular payments for piano lessons as long as you have receipts or other documentation that shows you have paid or attended that can demonstrate this.

Please note - photographs of you at an event cannot be accepted and should not be sent to us.

Self Study

If you have been studying an online course and can prove your modules etc then you can provide this documentary evidence to us to support your online study. Please also include proof of enrolment and any certificates.

If you have been self studying through reading with no affiliation to any organisation then this cannot be accepted and we would advise that you consider putting one of the other activities listed as long as you can prove it.

HM Armed Forces

Time spent serving in the Armed Forces may not be visible on your HMRC 5 year history or in your personal tax account sometimes. For time spent in service that you wish to prove this should be proven in the way other employment would be expected to be proven.

Different types of documents required:
One from within 31 days of your start of service, one from within 31 days of the end of service (or today's date if current) and then a document from the middle of this time to confirm continuous service.

For example:
For service between 24/10/2017 - 24/10/2022 we could accept a payslip from up to 24/11/2017 and from 24/09/2022 onwards, then a p60 from 2020.
These documents can be mixed and matched. However, please note that proving an end date with a p60 has more constraints than with a payslip, bank statement or written reference/official acceptance of your notice etc.

Statutory Declaration

If your gap is 6 months or less (this can be in one go, or spread out over the course of the five years), we can use a statutory declaration to clear you.

This is a legal document signed by a notary public or solicitor, that says "this is what I was doing at this time". It generally costs between £5-£15 pounds, although some banks will do it for free.

If you have a gap you cannot prove, or weren't doing anything to prove- we will recommend you get a declaration signed.

We cannot clear you with any non-verified gaps of more than 31 days, so anything you can do to ensure all activities are verified will help ensure you pass your check.

We understand every situation is different, and gathering this information isn't always straightforward. If you're having issues or experiencing difficulty proving your five-year history, our team may be able to help you.

Contact us by emailing to get in touch.

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