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FBI Background Check: What is an FBI Background Check?

FBI Background Check: What is an FBI Background Check?
February 6, 2023

An FBI background check is a comprehensive review of an individual's criminal and financial history, performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

 

The background check typically includes a search of federal, state, and local criminal databases, as well as a review of relevant financial records. The purpose of the check is to provide employers, licensing agencies, and other organizations with information that can help them determine an individual's suitability for employment, licensing, or other activities. 

 

The results of the background check are used to help make informed decisions about an individual's eligibility for specific opportunities.


What is an FBI Background Check?


An FBI background check in the United States is a thorough examination of an individual's criminal and financial history. It is usually requested by employers, licensing agencies, and other organizations that need to verify an individual's background to make informed decisions about their eligibility for specific opportunities. 

 

The FBI background check process includes searching criminal records at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as financial records relevant to the individual being checked.


The FBI background check is conducted through the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division, which is responsible for maintaining and providing access to criminal history records. The FBI background check is conducted using the individual's name and fingerprints, which are submitted to the FBI's criminal history database. 

 

a piece of paper with a handprint and a magnifying glass

 

The FBI's criminal history database is a comprehensive collection of criminal records from across the United States, which helps to ensure that the background check is as comprehensive and accurate as possible.


The results of the FBI background check are confidential and are only released to authorized entities that have a valid reason for requesting the information. 

 

The information included in an FBI background check can have a significant impact on an individual's life, as it can affect their ability to obtain employment, a professional license, or to participate in other activities. It is important for individuals to understand the information that may be included in an FBI background check and to take steps to correct any inaccuracies in their records.


When is an FBI Background Check Performed?


An FBI background check is typically performed in the following cases:


Employment

 

Many employers in the United States require FBI background checks as a part of their hiring process, particularly for positions that involve working with vulnerable populations, such as children, elderly individuals, or those with disabilities.


Licensing

 

Some professions, such as healthcare providers, law enforcement officers, and educators, are required by law to undergo an FBI background check as a part of the licensing process.


Security clearance

 

Individuals who need access to sensitive information or secure facilities, such as government employees or contractors, may be required to undergo an FBI background check to obtain a security clearance.


Adoption and foster care

 

Adoptive and foster parents are often required to undergo an FBI background check to ensure the safety and well-being of the children in their care.

 

Immigration

 

Individuals who are applying for immigration benefits, such as citizenship or permanent residency, may be required to undergo an FBI background check as part of the process.


Gun ownership

 

Federal law requires individuals who purchase firearms from licensed dealers to undergo an FBI background check to ensure they are not prohibited from possessing firearms.


These are some of the common cases where an FBI background check is performed. The requirement for an FBI background check can vary based on the individual's circumstances and the laws of their state or jurisdiction.

 

an FBI agent typing on a laptop


FBI Background Check Process


The FBI background check process involves the following steps:


1. Obtain a request form: The individual or organization requesting the background check must fill out a request form, known as the Applicant Information Form (AIF).


2. Fingerprint collection: The individual must provide their fingerprints on a standard FBI fingerprint card, or have their fingerprints electronically captured.


3. Submit the request and payment: The completed request form, fingerprint card, and required fee must be submitted to the FBI or an approved channeler.


4. FBI review: The FBI reviews the submitted information and runs a background check to search for any criminal records in the FBI’s databases.


5. Results: The results of the background check will either be sent directly to the individual or to the organization that requested the check, depending on the request.


It is important to note that the FBI background check is only one part of the overall background check process, and it may also include checks at the state and local levels, as well as checks of other databases and records.

 

a man and a woman sitting in front of a laptop that reads criminal records


FBI Employment Background Check: What You Need to Know


Employers perform FBI background checks to verify the criminal history of job applicants and to make informed hiring decisions. These checks can help employers assess the suitability of a candidate for a particular job and protect the safety of their employees, customers, and clients. 

 

FBI background checks can reveal information about a candidate's prior arrests, convictions, and other criminal activities that may be relevant to the position being applied for. Employers in certain industries, such as healthcare, education, government, and law enforcement, may be required by law to conduct FBI background checks. 

 

Additionally, some employers may choose to perform FBI background checks as a best practice or as part of their overall risk management strategy.


FBI employment background checks are a type of background check conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the purpose of verifying the criminal history of job applicants. 

 

This type of background check is often required for individuals seeking employment in sensitive positions, such as those in law enforcement, government, healthcare, or education. The FBI background check process involves submitting fingerprints and a request form, as well as paying a fee. 

 

The FBI will then search its databases for any criminal records associated with the individual. The results of the background check are sent directly to the employer or organization that requested the check. 

 

The FBI employment background check is just one part of the overall background check process, which may also include checks at the state and local levels, as well as checks of other databases and records.

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