Blog

 
     

Does Border Patrol Do a Background Check When Crossing?

By Michael Klazema on 3/10/2020

When travelling, considering your criminal record is not usually on your pre-departure checklist. However, if you are crossing the border out of or back into the United States, Border Patrol and immigration agents have an interest in ensuring more than that you adequately completed your customs declarations. Are these agents looking into your criminal background when you hand over your passport?

The answer varies, but in most cases, a full-scale background check does not occur for every traveller crossing the border. Instead of conducting large-scale background checks at border control, agents will usually rely on a basic arrest warrant search. This process often involves consulting the National Crime Information Center, or NCIC. Border Patrol also has access to the counterpart system for Canadian nationals. 

When a border agent scans your passport, the computer system runs your information against the NCIC database and flags any active arrest warrants. The NCIC is not comprehensive, and not all active arrest warrants are present in its database. However, attempting a border crossing in either direction with an active warrant may still result in an arrest. 

United States citizens and some non-citizens, such as Canadian visitors, can expect to have their information run through a criminal history database for warrant detection. Deeper and more detailed background checks only take place if a border agent has cause for suspicion or is randomly selecting travellers for additional scrutiny. In these situations, CBP will direct you to a waiting area for other screenings. 

During secondary screenings, expert a more detailed look at your criminal history information from the NCIC. At this stage, agents may detect certain criminal records, which could result in a denial of entry for non-citizens. The US does not deny entry to its own citizens for having a criminal record. For individuals not selected for additional screenings, outstanding and active warrants are typically the only things that Border Patrol agents will find and consider. 

Background checks play a central role in legal immigration, a separate process from border crossings. Legal immigrants must complete a series of background checks before visa issuance and entrance, though the nature of this vetting process is in flux with the potential for additional procedural stages in the future. 

If you have concerns about what might appear on background checks at border control, check your own records through backgroundchecks.com. 


Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • May 26

    As businesses reopen across the country, courthouses are resuming in-person operations. Here’s what you need to know about how the reopening process will impact background checks, particularly county criminal history searches.

  • May 21

    A new congressional resolution could reallocate 40,000 visas to bring foreign healthcare workers to the United States. Here’s what healthcare organizations should know about recruiting and hiring these individuals.

  • May 19 Making contact tracing a key part of its reopening strategy, New York will begin a massive wave of temporary hiring to tackle this unique logistical challenge.
  • May 14 With a large percentage of the workforce carrying out work duties from home, employers require new oversight options that balance productivity with privacy.
  • May 14 When employers conduct employee background checks, which data sources do they rely on for accurate and up-to-date findings?
  • May 13 A new app called “Health Hero Match” could help short-staffed hospitals find qualified healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis. While the app guides the matchmaking process, hospital systems shouldn’t forget the importance of thorough healthcare background checks.
  • May 11

    From hiring freezes to virtual interviews to slowed-down employee background checks, recruiting has shifted in significant ways since COVID-19 emerged in the United States.

     

  • May 11

    From hiring freezes to virtual interviews to slowed-down employee background checks, recruiting has shifted in significant ways since COVID-19 emerged in the United States.

     

  • May 07 Hiring during a pandemic is a significant challenge for healthcare organizations for several reasons. We explain some of these hurdles and the importance of healthcare background checks.
  • May 05

    Individuals who have had multiple legal names pose a challenge for employers conducting background checks. Here’s what to know about the alias background check option.