Complete Guide to Obtaining an FBI Background Check

An FBI Background Check is a highly comprehensive and reliable method to obtain an individual's criminal history. This article serves as a complete guide on how to conduct an FBI background check, including the process, required information, and the purposes it serves.

Process of Requesting an FBI Background Check:

To obtain an FBI background check, you can either search for criminal history information online or submit a request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The latter is considered the most comprehensive method and requires the submission of fingerprints and detailed personal information.

Comprehensive Criminal History:

An FBI background check includes a comprehensive listing of an individual's criminal history, court records, imprisonments, and other violations. It provides in-depth information on crimes committed, case details, verdicts, and dates related to criminal cases.

Additional Details in an FBI Background Check:

In addition to criminal records, an FBI background check may include current and past addresses, prison and jail inmate records, professional licenses, and other credentials. It offers a thorough overview of an individual's background, ensuring comprehensive information is provided.

Access to Government Background Checks:

Aside from the FBI, local law enforcement agencies and authorized channelling agencies have access to background check records. However, the FBI oversees the background check process due to the sensitive nature of the information. Private entities may obtain background checks only if required by state or federal law.

Common Uses of FBI Background Checks:

FBI background checks are commonly used for employment purposes to verify an individual's criminal history and suitability for a job. Adoption agencies require background checks to assess the stability and suitability of prospective parents. Licensing processes, such as gun ownership eligibility, also require FBI background checks. Additionally, background checks are necessary for international relocation to ensure the individual poses no threat to the new country and is not wanted by law enforcement in the United States.

Obtaining an FBI Background Check involves requesting criminal history information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It provides a comprehensive overview of an individual's criminal records, court cases, imprisonment history, and additional details such as addresses and professional licenses. The FBI background check is widely trusted and preferred by employers, adoption agencies, and licensing bodies due to its reliability and thoroughness.

FBI Background Check

FBI Background Check or Government Background Check

An FBI Background Check is a listing of an individual’s criminal history summary, federal employment, naturalisation (acquisition of citizenship) and/or military service. The records are collated through fingerprint submissions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI record check is considered the most extensive type of background check.

What details are in a background check?

An FBI Background Check consists of a comprehensive list of your criminal background, federal employment, naturalisation, military services, concealed weapons permits and anything else where fingerprinting is involved. It may also contain information on your education, possible relatives, assets and other civil records. Criminal files are kept separate from civil files; and along with criminal record, the FBI background check also shows information specific to substance abuse, sexual and property crimes.

Who has access to government background checks?

Other than the FBI, local law enforcements and authorised channelling agencies have access to background check records. However, all the background checks are still supervised by the FBI as the information is of a sensitive nature. A private entity may obtain background checks, only if required by state or federal law.

Who may request an FBI background check?

No one but you can request a copy of your own criminal history summary. You can, however, request record checks on your immediate family provided you have their written consent. Another exception is public disclosure that is authorised by law. In the case of deceased individuals, you must provide proof of death.

There are ways other than the FBI site you can obtain a background check, but nothing is as complete and accurate as those from the FBI itself. You can do a quick search on yourself (or anyone) using online public records. The collated results are often diverse and some even not available from the FBI, such as bankruptcies, email addresses and other interesting information.

Why would you need a government background check?

FBI Background Checks are ideal if you need to prove that you don’t have criminal history. The most common requests are used for employment purposes. The nature of a job may require employers to authenticate application responses by checking them against FBI Background Checks. As such, the job application may require you to submit a valid FBI Background Check.
Adoption agencies also require candidates to obtain a background check. Because information such as employment, arrests, naturalisation, substance abuse and mental illness, make up some of the information in a record check, it is used to determine the stability of individuals before entrusting the life of a child to them.

Licensing is another reason you will require a background check. For instance, it determines if you are eligible for gun ownership. A specific check called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is used to provide background checks for those interested in purchasing a weapon. The result of this check is only in the form of a denial or approval to purchase based on specific criteria, rather than a detailed criminal record.
For security purposes, an FBI Background Check is also required when moving to a different country. A background check can proof that you will not be a threat to the new country, nor wanted by local law enforcement entities within the United States.


Whatever reasons you may have to obtain an FBI Background Check, you can do so by filing a request to find any documentation on yourself, or others you may have a verifiable interest in (with their written consent), that is held by the FBI. The record check is the most extensive of all background checks and the most preferred by employers, adoption agencies, licensors and all else who necessitate one.