Find out when you must apply to register if you want to look after other people's children in your home or someone else's home.
Applies to England
You can only use this service if you will be a childminder in England. There is a different regulator if you want to become a childminder in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
When you must register
You will need to be registered as a childminder with Ofsted or a childminder agency if you want to look after other people’s children for 2 hours or more a day:
- who are any age up to their eighth birthday
- in your home or someone else’s home
Registering with a childminder agency instead
You can either use the service on this page to apply to register as a childminder with Ofsted, or you can register with a childminder agency.
You can find:
- information on childminder agencies’ contact information and Ofsted reports
- background information on childminder agencies on the Foundation Years site
Exemptions to registering as a childminder
There are exemptions to registering.
You must use a different application if you want to:
- look after children in someone’s home with 3 or more other adults at the same time such as childminders or assistants
- look after children in the home of those children’s family when you are only looking after 1 or 2 families’ children
If you want to work part of your time as a childminder, and part providing childcare with 3 or more other adults, you must register separately for each. You will need to pay 2 fees and have separate inspections.
Before you start
You will need details of the following to apply to register:
- a specific type of criminal record (DBS) check - you must read the guidance below on what DBS check you need, as having the wrong type will delay your registration
- first aid training
- childcare training
- a completed health declaration booklet
- contact details for 2 references
Which DBS check to apply for
You will need an enhanced criminal record (DBS) check with barred lists.
When you apply for this, you must make sure to select ‘yes’ on question x66 to say you are going to be working in a home-based role.
Other adults in the childcare home
Anyone aged 16 or over who lives or works in the home where childcare takes place will need a DBS. If they:
- live in the home where childcare takes place, such as your child who is aged 16 or over, they will need the same DBS as you
- only work in the home where childcare takes place, but do not live there, they will need a DBS check with barred lists, but should select ‘no’ when asked if they will be working in a home-based role
How to keep your DBS up to date
Ofsted also recommends joining the DBS Update Service to keep your details up to date.
New people in the home or children becoming 16
You must tell Ofsted about new people in the home where childcare takes place who:
- move in
- start working there
This includes a child of yours already living in the home who turns 16.
If you, or other adults in the home, have lived abroad in the last 5 years, you may need a certificate of good conduct or other evidence from the relevant embassy.
How much it costs
It usually costs £35 to apply to register with Ofsted. The registration fee is not refundable.
You will need to renew your registration each year.
Find out about other costs and renewal fees.
How long the application takes
It should take you 30 minutes to complete your application.
It usually takes up to 12 weeks to register with Ofsted.
Apply to register
Check whether you should be registering as one of the following instead of as a childminder:
- a nursery or other daycare
- a nanny
Registering as the wrong type of childcarer may delay when you can start work.
You can only have one childminder application or registration associated with an email address.Published 19 February 2020
Last updated 23 September 2021 + show all updates
Further information on childminder agencies added. This is not a change in law or practice.