Order comprehensive background checks in 4 simple steps.
If you’ve never ordered a background check from us, this page should help make your first time easy. You can do the whole thing in just 4 steps:
The following sections cover each step in detail
If you already know what searches you want to order, go on to step 2, below.
If you’d like help in deciding what kind of search to order, this section will help you decide.
You have 2 basic choices for ordering criminal background checks:
When you order one of these searches, you’ll have the option to add any number of specialized searches.
Here’s more information about each of the 2 types of criminal searches.
With one search, you can comb more than 650 million criminal records from counties, department of corrections (DOC), administrative office of courts (AOC), and offender registries from all 50 states, plus Washington DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
Also included are national and international terrorism sources and more than 10 million photos.
A US OneSEARCH check provides the data you want, the quality you demand, and updates that ensure you get the best possible information.
For instant criminal database searches, you usually receive results in less than 5 minutes.
Search times may sometimes be longer. The process may take from 1 to 5 days if our initial database search find criminal matches for a subject that works in California, Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota and Indiana, as these states required at-the-source verification of criminal records.
An instant search costs $29.95.
For the most thorough check of a subject’s criminal record, you will want to check county criminal court records.
County courts maintain records of most felony and misdemeanor cases.
These courts are sometimes slow to share updates of their criminal records. As a result, some county court records may be more up to date than our national criminal database.
If you like, you can specify that you want your search to include one county or all U.S. counties.
For a thorough criminal search, we suggest you to include one or multiple US counties where your subject has lived in the past 7 years.
For county-level information not stored in our electronic database, we can typically return reports in 1 to 3 business days.
The amount of time it takes will vary from state to state and from county to county.
County-level criminal searches cost $12 per county, plus applicable court fees. Court fees vary by jurisdiction and range from $0 to $90.
You can order a bundled county search at a big discount. An instant criminal database search and a search of all counties costs $64.95 if you order our Instant Criminal + All counties package.
You may not need to go through the standard process of registering for an account at backgroundchecks.com before you place your first order.
Here’s how to know if you can fast track an order without first setting up an account
You don't need to create an account if you fit both of these conditions:
In this case, you can immediately order one of our standard packages without first creating an account. We’ll automatically create an account for you when you place your order.
The authorization and release from your candidate is required by law. You’ll learn more about it in the section What approvals will I need to place an order?
When you must set up an account before placing your first order
You must create an account before you place your first order in these situations:
After you’ve set up your new account, you can use our applicant self-entry option.
With the candidate self-entry option, you can have us send an invitation for your job applicants to complete a background check for themselves. In that process, we collect the required authorization and release from your candidate.
If account registration is required for your first order, don't worry. The process is fast and easy. You can do it all online.
The registration process is required by law for all providers of background checks.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other laws, you must prove you have a “permissible purpose” to order a background check before you access the content of the reports.
As a Consumer Reporting Agency, backgroundchecks.com is responsible for properly screening, or “credentialing” new customers. We must do this to satisfy several Federal and State legislated responsibilities related to the acquisition, transfer, and retention of public and private consumer information.
Credentialing also helps to eliminate exposure of your company, your employees, and your prospective applicants.
Registration takes about 10 minutes.
To set up an account, you’ll need this information:
As a part of our business credentialing procedures, you’ll be asked to provide a blank copy of the disclosure and authorization form your company will use to collect a subject’s written consent to run a background check.
Yes. In most cases you will pay a one-time registration fee. If a fee applies, you will see it clearly in the shopping cart during check out.
Why the fee?
When you order reports, we must certify that you are a business with a permissible purpose to request such data. To check your credentials, we have to order verification information from sources that charge us a fee. Our registration fee pays for those charges.
You’ll need basic information about the subject of your search. Remember, the subject is the person on whom you want a search performed. For pre-employment checks, your subject is your job candidate.
You’ll need this information about the subject:
You’ll also need this information:
When you enter your order, you’ll be able to specify these alternatives:
Sometimes you may want to have job candidates run their own background checks. This may be a good choice if you have a large number of orders to process fast.
For some jobs, you may also want to have candidates pay for their own background checks.
Under U.S. federal privacy laws, anyone who requests a criminal background check must secure the written approval of the subject.
We help you secure the necessary approvals in the steps that follow.
The ordering process includes these steps:
Here’s what to expect when you place your order:
Use the Order Now button to start the process.
You enter the information about the person whose background you’re checking.
We run a fast check of the subject’s SSN and verify their prior addresses.
If you’re ordering the Instant Criminal+ Local County or Instant Criminal+ All Counties package, we’ll recommend county court criminal searches in and near the counties where the subject has lived.
We’ll recommend other optional searches and checks that may be of interest. Before you place your order, you can upgrade to these added searches.
We show you the total fee for running the check you’ve chosen.
Before you complete your order, we tell what the expected average turn around time is for each product in your order.
If you have all your information handy, you can typically enter your order in about 2 minutes.
The next steps vary somewhat, depending on whether you’ve ordered an instant criminal database search or a county criminal search
If the report shows the subject has a record of criminal activity (or what we call hits), the process may be a little more involved.
If the subject receives a hit in any of 5 states, we must perform further checks through local county court records to verify the information at the source.
Such county court checks are necessary in California, Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, and Indiana.
The amount of time needed for these checks varies from county to county. It typically ranges from 1 to 5 days.
As soon as we receive verification from the county courts, you receive an email with a report of the results.
If you ordered one or more county criminal searches, this happens:
If the subject places an order for the background check, these things happen next:
As you’ve seen here and on other pages of this website, U.S. federal law provides protections to the privacy rights of individuals.
Among those protections, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) shields job applicants against possible misinformation in databases used to generate background checks.
FCRA protections define a process called adjudication. FCRA adjudication protects the rights of job candidates through specific measures.
Specifically, job candidates are entitled to:
The FCRA defines the terms adverse decision or adverse action. The terms apply to an employer’s decision not to hire a candidate because of information in a background check.
Before an employer makes an adverse decision, the FCRA requires the employer to provide the candidate with a written pre-adverse notice.
The pre-adverse notice includes specific required elements. It must:
After following a process the FCRA defines in detail, the employer can send the candidate an adverse notice. The adverse notice informs the candidate of an employer’s decision not to hire.
Through backgroundchecks.com you can automate the steps in providing electronic copies of the pre-adverse and adverse notices. For more on this process, see the page on this website Electronic Adverse Action Notices.