Illinois State Background Check

During the hiring process, employers consider an applicant's criminal history because it may serve as a barrier to performing job duties in a safe and sufficient manner. A statewide background check in Illinois is a fast and easy way for businesses to check up on applicants by requesting information from a centralized repository that covers all counties within the state. provides state level background checks for Illinois and 29 other states to help employers complete their due diligence during the hiring process.

In Illinois, the Bureau of Identification within the State Police maintains the state's complete criminal record database. This database contains information on the most populous counties in Illinois, including Cook, DuPage, Will, Kane, and Lake counties among others. Illinois only makes information on convictions public, and background check reports from this state will not include information on arrests.

What may be reported on a state criminal history search?

  • Jurisdiction where record is recorded
  • Case number
  • Defendant
  • Charge
  • Filing date
  • Degree of offense, such as a misdemeanor
  • Disposition
  • Disposition date
  • Sentence

Criminal Record Restrictions

Emphasizing the need for fair employment practices, the Illinois government has instituted restrictions on the types of records employers may access and how they may use those records. In addition to statewide and local laws banning the box, there are other restrictions employers may find more stringent than in other states. To help understand your rights and responsibilities when requesting a background check in Illinois, please use the following overview.

Arrest Records

Employers in Illinois may not use arrest records as a basis for employment decisions. Circumstantial evidence or other indications that would imply prior arrests are acceptable.

Conviction Records

Public employers must comply with ban the box laws as described below and may only deny employment on the basis of convictions if the crime is reasonably related to the job at hand and in consideration of mitigating factors such as the length of time since the conviction. Private employers may consider conviction data but only in compliance with statewide law.

Ban the Box

The Illinois Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act is a statewide ban the box law that went into effect in 2015. All private businesses that employ more than 15 people must comply with this law. No inquiries into criminal histories are allowed until after an employer provides the applicant with an interview or a conditional job offer. Positions with background checks already mandated by law are excluded. Employers beware: violations of this act result in warnings and the potential for hefty fines. 

Chicago banned the box for public employers in 2006, and in 2014 the city expanded the ordinance to cover all employers within the city. Notably, Chicago's laws cover businesses with fewer than 15 employees as well, going further than the state statute.

Expunged Records

Employers cannot ask about any criminal records currently under seal or which have been expunged and must include a clear and visible statement on all job applications that individuals do not have to disclose such information.

Other Record Restrictions

Illinois generally precludes employers from using credit history information in making employment determinations, including data such as credit score and payment histories. Exceptions apply, including in cases where the job would involve public safety, the handling of cash, or banking.


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