Background Check FBI Background Check Results

How to Understand Your FBI Background Check Results

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Individuals considering adoption, licensing, or immigration must familiarize themselves with one crucial process: FBI background checks. This legal requirement may seem daunting, but it does not have to be. Here’s a handy guide to understanding FBI background check results to aid you in this seemingly complicated task.

Understanding the FBI background check

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) performs background checks to provide a detailed report on individuals’ criminal histories or lack thereof. It is a personal identity verification tool used to prevent potential threats to national security, ensure public safety, and assess eligibility for certain activities or permissions, like job placements or licensing.

So, how does an FBI background check work? Firstly, fingerprints are collected and stored in the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). This national database holds over 70 million criminal fingerprints, alongside 34 million non-criminal prints. Once an individual submits fingerprints for a background check, the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division compares the prints to its database records.

Unlike state-level background checks, the FBI background report provides national coverage of criminal histories. It contains detailed information about each arrest, including its date, charge, and the case’s disposition (outcome). An individual’s report might contain no criminal history or several criminal history records, making it highly individualized.

The Importance of FBI background checks

In today’s world, safety is of utmost importance. Whether hiring an employee, acquiring a firearm or for immigration purposes, an FBI background check adds a layer of trust and helps make informed decisions.

Employers, for instance, often require FBI checks to verify an applicant’s criminal history or lack thereof. The results of these checks protect the employer from potential liability, maintain a safe work environment, and help select the most suitable candidate for the role.

On the other hand, for immigration or international adoption, FBI background checks help governments assess individuals’ suitability for immigration or adoption. They protect not just national security but the lives and well-being of countless children needing homes.

In summary, understanding your FBI background check results can be both an obligation and a critical tool that allows you to make informed decisions. It is an indispensable security measure that guarantees an added level of safety and protection for all concerned.

Obtaining Your FBI Background Check Results

If you’ve ever applied for a job, a professional license, or even immigration, chances are you have gone through the process of getting an FBI background check. You might be wondering what takes place during the process and how to understand the outcome of these checks. Don’t sweat it; this article will guide you through it all.

1. Fingerprinting at an approved USPS location

Fingerprinting has been an essential part of the FBI background check process for a long time. The procedure is simple yet crucial in making an individual’s identity verifiable.

The first step is scanning your fingerprints at a USPS location that offers the service. Not all locations do, so make sure to find one that does. A trained professional will capture your prints using high-tech scanners during the visit. No worries, it’s a relatively quick and painless process!

2. Using an FBI-approved channeler

The next step is to route your fingerprints to the FBI through an approved channeler. They act as a messaging service, sending your prints safely to the FBI – thereby speeding up the process.

The FBI then uses these fingerprints to compare and contrast them against a database containing the prints of millions of individuals. This is to help determine if there’s a possible match. In other words, they’re looking to see if you’ve got a criminal history or records that match your prints.

Remember, a match doesn’t necessarily denote major criminal activities. It could also include minor offenses, traffic violations, or even previously held professional licenses. Even slightly unusual details you consider insignificant could turn up in the results.

As well as fingerprinting, the background check covers other areas too. For example, it will cover your name, criminal history, and other potentially relevant criminal justice information.

Generally, the FBI background check results are legible and easy to understand. Still, if you require any clarity, an attorney can help interpret them. Likewise, the FBI-approved channeler that assisted with the background check can also provide helpful insights.

Added to these, you should know that your FBI background check result is a formal document, which means it contains formalities that may seem strange but are there for a reason.

Understanding your FBI background check result is more than satisfying your curiosity. It can provide further light on your records, putting you in a better position during job applications, licensing, or immigration processes.

Interpreting Your FBI Background Check Results

Obtaining a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) background check is a critical part of numerous procedures, such as employment in sensitive sectors, military service, adoptions, and applications for citizenship. Upon completing these checks, individuals often receive an “Identity History Summary” or, more colloquially, a “rap sheet.” While the document holds vital information about one’s background, interpreting the content can be daunting.

1. Understanding the Identity History Summary (rap sheet)

The Identity History Summary, a ‘rap sheet,’ documents an individual’s criminal history generated from fingerprint submissions. It is a comprehensive report that often includes personal identifiers such as name, birth date, social security number, fingerprints, and more intricate details of the person’s criminal history.

When examining a rap sheet, it’s essential to understand that findings are listed chronologically, starting from the latest event. Each entry may represent an arrest, court decision, or another milestone in an individual’s criminal history.

2. Key information on arrests, employment, naturalization, and military service

When examining an FBI background check, there are several key points to focus on:

Arrest Details: This includes the date, the location of the arrest, the arresting agency, and the offense charged during the arrest. Often, background checks contain details of all arrests, not just convictions, so it’s essential to understand that an arrest does not mean the accused was found guilty.

Employment and Education Records: Employers and academic institutions may use fingerprints for background checks. Hence, such events leading to these checks may also appear in your rap sheet.

Naturalization Or Immigration Information: The USCIS frequently uses fingerprinting services for individuals seeking naturalization. Records of these checks, naturalization, or other immigration-related fingerprint submissions may be found in your FBI background check.

Military Service: Military service records are often included in an FBI background check, especially if the individual can access sensitive information or areas.

Interpreting an FBI background check may initially seem complicated, but understanding the key components can break down the information into manageable sections. If in doubt, seeking assistance from professionals familiar with legal and criminal jargon is recommended. Happy decoding!

Commonly Asked Questions about FBI Background Check Results

In the world of job hunting, applications for housing, or even applying for a visa, an FBI background check may be a requirement. This process provides an indispensable source of information on an individual’s criminal history, including arrests, prosecutions, and even convictions. Let’s investigate the two most common questions concerning FBI background check results.

1. How long does it take to receive the results?

The turnaround time for receiving FBI background check results can vary significantly depending on several factors. The FBI processing time is typically 2-4 weeks from the day they receive the request. However, peak application periods can take up to six weeks or more. It’s also worth noting that the speed of the process can be affected by the completeness and accuracy of the submitted fingerprints and associated data.

2. What should I do if there are errors in my background check?

Mistakes can and do happen. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for there to be errors in an FBI background check. Should you find an error, you have the right to challenge the accuracy and completeness of any information in your report. To begin this process, you must formally request a written change or correction and provide proof of the error. It may involve submitting relevant certified documents, clarification letters, or court orders. Guidance for challenging the result can typically be found on the FBI’s website.

Keep in mind that rectifying mistakes can take time. The sophistication of the challenge process varies depending on the nature of the error. It’s always advisable to initiate this procedure as soon as you notice any inaccuracy.

To summarize, here’s a table detailing the critical points just covered:

How long does it take to receive the results?Typically, 2–4 weeks. However, the timeframe can extend to six weeks or more during peak periods.
What should I do if there are errors in my background check?If you find errors in your background check, formally request a correction in writing provided proof, and follow instructions on the FBI’s website for challenging results.

Importance of understanding and reviewing your FBI background check results:

Arming yourself with information is vital to maintaining control over your life and future decisions. Thoroughly reviewing and understanding your FBI background check results affords you that power.

An in-depth understanding of your report’s content lets you ascertain your standing, particularly if you’re job hunting or looking to secure a lease. A clean record often translates to better opportunities. Conversely, should your record possess any blemishes, prior knowledge allows you to prepare an explanation for interested parties, effectively managing their possible objections.

Furthermore, errors are not uncommon in background checks. By reviewing your results, you have the opportunity to spot any inaccuracies and get them rectified before they cost you an opportunity. Approximately 10% of applicants have lost a job offer due to errors in their background check. Checking your results allows you to address these potential problems proactively.

Knowledge is power, and understanding your FBI background check results gives you the knowledge to navigate employment, housing, adoption, and more issues.

Below is a breakdown of why it’s crucial to examine your FBI background check results thoroughly:

Maintaining controlIt helps you keep control over your life by understanding where you stand.
Preparation:Allows you to prepare explanations for any potential issues.
Spotting inaccuraciesGives you a chance to rectify any errors in your report.

It is advisable to consult with professionals or attorneys experienced in interpreting background checks if you find the results challenging to comprehend. They can help you understand the complex terminologies and guide you about what steps you should take next.

Remember, accurate and complete knowledge of your FBI background check results is essential in the modern world. Understanding your record can significantly impact your progress if you apply for a job or pursue other ventures.

Remember also to stay proactive in regularly checking your records and resolving issues as soon as they appear. The power to shape your future is in your hands!


If you’ve recently applied for a job, adopted a child, or sought a permit, you may have undergone an FBI background check. A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) background check is a detailed report with information on your previous addresses, work history, criminal records, and more. It’s a critical step in many processes, and understanding its results is crucial.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I obtain my FBI Background Check Results?

    You can obtain your FBI Background Check Results by requesting them through an FBI-Approved Channeler, a private business contracted with the FBI to submit your request on your behalf. They will securely capture and transmit your information to the FBI, and you will receive your results by mail.

  • Can I request my own background investigation results?

    Yes, you can request the results of your background investigation through the Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts. You can visit the FBI Records webpage to learn more about this process.

  • Can I use my FBI Background Check Results for employment or licensing purposes?

    No, the FBI Background Check Results obtained through the FBI-Approved Channeler are for personal use only and should not be used for employment or licensing submissions. They are meant to provide individuals with information about their own criminal history.

  • How will I receive my FBI Background Check Results?

    If you have an Identity History Summary on file, your results will be sent by first-class mail via the U.S. Postal Service. They will be provided on standard white paper.

  • Why does the FBI require positive identification before releasing information?

    The FBI requires Positive identification to ensure the privacy and security of individuals’ personal information. Therefore, the FBI must verify the identity of the requestor before releasing any information from the Identity History Summary.

  • What is an FBI-Approved Channeler?

    An FBI-Approved Channeler is a private business authorized by the FBI to submit requests for Identity History Summaries on behalf of individuals. They provide a convenient and secure way to obtain your FBI Background Check Results.

  • What is an FBI History Check?

    An FBI History Check, also known as the Identity History Summary, provides individuals with important data regarding their criminal history, including arrest records and specific information from fingerprint submissions. It can sometimes include federal employment, naturalization, or military service records.

  • How can I avail of this service?

    You can avail of this service by utilizing Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) approved channelers, such as Certifix Live Scan Centers. These channelers can manage the process needed to capture and transmit their individual information to the FBI.

  • How will I receive my FBI History Check results?

    Should you have an Identity History Summary on file, you will receive your results by first-class mail through the United States Postal Service. The results will be provided on standard white paper.


  • What does an FBI-Approved Channeler do?

    An FBI-Approved Channeler serves as an intermediary between you and the FBI. They contract with the FBI, allowing them to submit your request on your behalf.

  • Is the FBI History Check available for employment and licensing submission?

    The information provided by FBI History Check is only for personal use, and it is not acceptable for employment or licensing submission.

  • How can I request my own background investigation?

    You possess the right to request the results of your background investigation through the Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts, as stated on the FBI Records webpage.

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