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:

Exemptions to registering as a childminder

There are exemptions to registering.

You must use a different application if you want to:

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.

Lived abroad

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.

Apply to register

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

  1. Further information on childminder agencies added. This is not a change in law or practice.

  2. First published.