The NHS Research Passport system establishes a common system of pre-engagement checks for University employees undertaking research in the NHS. The checks conform to the standards required of all NHS bodies, and are therefore transferable across NHS Trusts.

A Research Passport may be valid for the duration of a research project or for a maximum of three years, dependent on the details submitted in the Research Passport application. It consists of a number of academic, research, health, employment, qualification and personal checks to ensure that the researchers employed on Research Contracts are professionally and personally checked for the level of work which they will undertake within the NHS.

Getting occupational health clearance

Staff or students requiring occupational health screening as part of obtaining an NHS research passport should begin by downloading and completing the two forms below:

  1. Occupational health questionnaire [pdf] This should be completed in full. A research protocol, if available, or details of the proposed research should be included. If you have any documentary evidence of vaccination history, eg from GP or previous Occupational Health records, then it is useful if you can attach a copy of this.
  2. A clearance form [pdf] for the Occupational Health Adviser to complete. You should simply fill in your details and read and sign the end statement.

Send hard copies of the completed forms to Gary Malcolm, Occupational Health Advisor, University of York, Heslington Hall, York, YO10 5DD.

If you are an employee we will forward the completed clearance document to HR Services for inclusion with your research passport. If you are a student it will be forwarded to a named contact within your department.

Note to students

Students who need to apply for a research passport do not need to contact HR for pre engagement checks. These can usually be performed within their host department who will arrange for DBS checks as necessary. Their Head of Department or University Registry Services will hold the records to enable countersignantory approval. Students can contact the University Occupational Health Service (see point 8 below) for the purpose of health screening for research passports if required.


The responsibility for obtaining an NHS Research Passport rests with the individual. However, the HR department at the University must also counter-sign a section of the passport application to certify that the employment aspects of the pre-engagement checks have been carried out. To complete an NHS Research Passport form and submit it to the relevant NHS Trust the following steps are required:

  1. Access the Integrated research application system for full details of the NHS Research Passport system.
  2. Finalise the terms of your research contract with the NHS Trust, before obtaining the Research Passport. This avoids undue effort and expense in completing the NHS Research Passport if the Research Contract is not approved.
  3. Download the Research Passport form from the IRAS website
  4. Complete sections 1 to 4 of the Research Passport form
  5. Section 5 requires a number of pre-engagement checks to be validated by the HR Compliance Team (HR Compliance, Keith Simpson, email: These checks relate to:
    1. Potential Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Vetting and Barring Scheme checks, if required (see point 6 below).
    2. Potential Occupational Health screening certification if required (see point 8 below).
    3. Employment screening, including: two verified references, verification of permission to work in the UK, exploration of gaps in employment, ID with photograph.
    4. Evidence of professional registration and qualifications.
  6. The requirements for Disclosure and Barring Service, Vetting and Barring Scheme and Health Screening checks vary according to the level of patient and staff contact required by the research. In instances where the research does not involve personal contact such checks are not required. Details of the level of certification in this area are contained in the document Instructions for completing the Research passport Form [pdf].
  7. Where a DBS check is required this should be carried out through the normal channels within the researcher’s Department. Researchers should commence obtaining a DBS check as soon as possible, as they may take a number of weeks to be processed.
  8. Occupational Health screening checks will be required where the researcher has direct contact with patients. As there is no standard set of health screening checks defined it is important for the researcher to establish with the NHS Trust the nature of the health screening checks required relevant to the area of research and the nature of patient involvement.
    To request Occupational Health Clearance for a Research passport, download a research passport health questionnaire and evidence of clearance document. Please read the instructions and complete the health questionnaire, and sign and date the evidence of clearance document. Post them internally marked 'confidential', to Occupational Health, Heslington Hall, University of York, YO10 5DD along with copies of any vaccination documentary evidence.
  9. The DBS certificate, Occupational Health screening certificate (both where relevant) and NHS Research Passport form should be submitted to HR. HR will certify that they have evidence of health screening certification, and have copies of documents for all other pre-engagement checks. It may be that you will be required to attend an interview to discuss aspects of pre-engagement certification, such as gaps in your employment record.
  10. When section 5 of the Passport form has been completed and signed by the HR Services Manager, the form will be returned to the originator to be completed, signed and forwarded to the relevant NHS Trust research co-ordinator, together with originals of the documents required. The NHS Trust will counter-sign the form and return document originals, confirming that the Research Passport is valid.

Please contact HR Services on extension 4835 if you have any queries about the Research Passport application process.

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  • Last reviewed: 31 May 2010