• National search >

    National search is a routine step in Checkr’s background checks. National search checks thousands of national databases and millions of records to find records that might require additional attention. National searches find information that is often incomplete, lacks identifying information, or doesn’t show the final disposition of cases. Checkr uses national search to find records that might have more detailed information and to determine where to search for criminal records.

    The national criminal database contains records from various county and state agencies, covering almost one third of the United States. Data aggregators scour these county and state agencies’ records, continuously updating the database. National search is a pointer search, so it identifies only potential criminal records. Almost every criminal background check uses national search.

    National search is included in Checkr’s Basic+ report package. National search is unavailable as a standalone search.

    A national search is not the same as a federal search.

    Video overview 

    Play the Checkr Academy video below to learn the advantages and limitations of a national search.

    Candidate experience

    The candidate provides the personally identifying information (PII) below:

    • Birth date
    • Email address
    • Full name
    • Phone number
    • Social Security number (SSN)

    The candidate then reads and acknowledges receipt of applicable forms and authorizations:

    • A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
    • Disclosure Regarding Background Investigation
    • Other state and required disclosures as applicable
    • Authorization for a background check

    After the candidate signs the authorization form, Checkr starts the search.

    If you applied for a job and want to know your background check’s status, log in to the Checkr Candidate Portal.

  • Federal search >

    The United States (US) federal courts have jurisdiction over the United States government, the Constitution, and federal laws. Federal courts try crimes under federal criminal law.

    Federal records

    Accessing federal records requires a federal record search. Federal criminal information is online, so in-court research is usually unnecessary. Most federal records redact all or most personally identifiable information (PII).

    Some federal offenses include the crimes below:

    • Bank robberies
    • Child pornography (possession, production, trafficking)
    • Crimes against federal employees
    • Crimes committed on federal land
    • Crimes that cross state lines
    • Drug cases involving large distribution networks
    • Other crimes outside state jurisdictions

    County and statewide searches don’t return federal records.

    Federal searches

    Checkr first searches the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) database, the central repository for publicly accessible federal cases. PACER allows name-based searches but doesn’t allow searches using other identifiers, such as Social Security number or birth date. Checkr limits PACER searches to the states relevant to your candidate’s address history.

    To ensure a comprehensive range of returned records, Checkr doesn't require a candidate’s exact name for the initial PACER search. What happens next depends on what PACER finds:

    • At least one potential match: Checkr researchers complete the search by accessing the record at the federal courthouse.
    • No match: Checkr does a complete federal search, with no additional searches.

    Federal searches can find the information below if publicly available:

    • Case number
    • Charge
    • Charge type (such as felony or misdemeanor)
    • Court jurisdiction
    • Defendant’s name
    • Disposition (such as guilty or dismissed)
    • Disposition date
    • Sentencing information

    Ordering

    You can add federal search to a background check search package from the Checkr Dashboard.

    Turnaround

    Federal searches that find no records finish almost immediately.

    Federal searches that find a record can take two to three days to complete.

    Video overview 

    Play the Checkr Academy video below to learn the advantages and limitations of a federal search.

    Candidate experience

    The candidate provides the relevant PII below:

    • Birth date
    • Email address
    • Full name
    • Phone number
    • Social Security number (SSN)

    The candidate then reads and acknowledges receipt of applicable forms and authorizations:

    • A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
    • Disclosure Regarding Background Investigation
    • Other state and required disclosures as applicable
    • Authorization for a background check

    After the candidate consents in writing, Checkr starts the search.

    If you applied for a job and want to know your background check’s status, log in to the Checkr Candidate Portal.

  • State search >

    A state search finds criminal records in a specific state. Adding a state search to a background search package can help find potential records outside of a candidate's current address.

    State records

    State records can vary in quality because many counties don't submit their data for complete statewide searches. 

    State searches

    Checkr recommends a county search as the primary search. You can then supplement with a state search when the state search includes most or all counties.

    If a state search identifies an incomplete record, Checkr automatically adds a county search.

    State searches can find the information below if publicly available:

    • Case number
    • Charge type (such as felony or misdemeanor)
    • Charge
    • Court jurisdiction
    • Defendant’s name
    • Disposition (such as guilty or dismissed)
    • Disposition date
    • Sentencing information

    Unavailable states

    Checkr doesn't order state searches for the states below, which don't have publicly available records:

    • California
    • Louisiana
    • Massachusetts
    • Nevada
    • New Hampshire
    • Ohio
    • West Virginia
    • Wyoming

    US territories

    If you add US territory search, state search includes the US territories below:

    • American Samoa (AS)
    • Guam (GU)
    • Northern Mariana Islands (MP)
    • Puerto Rico (PR)
    • US Virgin Islands (VI) 

    To add the US territory search, contact Checkr. Additional fees apply.

    Ordering

    You can order the county search and state search together.

    Turnaround

    The turnaround time for a state search varies based on the search scope and averages three to seven days.

    Video overview 

    Play the Checkr Academy video below to learn the advantages and limitations of a state search.

    Candidate experience

    The candidate provides the relevant personally identifying information (PII) below:

    • Birth date
    • Email address
    • Full name
    • Phone number
    • Social Security number (SSN)

    The candidate then reads and acknowledges receipt of applicable forms and authorizations:

    • A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
    • Disclosure Regarding Background Investigation
    • Other state and required disclosures as applicable
    • Authorization for a background check

    After the candidate consents in writing, Checkr starts the search.

    If the state search requires a US territory search, the candidate provides the additional information below:

    • Government ID
    • Current address
    • Address in territory
    • Place of birth
    • Mother’s maiden name

    If you applied for a job and want to know your background check’s status, log in to the Checkr Candidate Portal.

  • County search >

    County searches are one of the best ways to find criminal records. County courts can include the record types below:

    • Every adjudicated trial
    • Felony
    • Infraction
    • Misdemeanor
    • Other violations

    County records

    County courthouses across the 3,200 counties in every state in the United States (US), contain county criminal records. Because counties don’t report their records to the federal database, federal searches don’t find county records. A national search, which is a pointer to county or state records, often finds evidence of a county record.

    County searches

    County searches can find the information below if publicly available:

    • Case number
    • Charge
    • Charge type (such as felony or misdemeanor)
    • Court jurisdiction
    • Defendant’s name
    • Disposition (such as guilty or dismissed)
    • Disposition date
    • Sentencing information

    A Social Security number (SSN) trace identifies address history to determine which counties to search and uses a seven-year search scope.

    Ordering

    The Essential report package includes the county search. With the Essential package, Checkr tries to gather seven years of address history.

    The county search is unavailable as a standalone search.

    Turnaround

    Because counties use various search methods, the turnaround time varies. Some counties return search results within the same day, but some can take longer.

    If records are unavailable for a county search, contact Checkr to enable your account skip the search. You decide whether to reorder a full or partial search when records are available.

    Many counties provide a public access terminal (PAT) for real-time records searches at the court. Some counties require that their court clerks do searches on Checkr’s behalf. These counties are usually slower to report results than others.

    Video overview

    Play the Checkr Academy video below to learn the advantages and limitations of a county search.

    Candidate experience

    The candidate provides the relevant personally identifying information (PII) below:

    • Birth date
    • Email address
    • Full name
    • Phone number
    • Social Security number (SSN)

    The candidate then reads and acknowledges receipt of applicable forms and authorizations:

    • A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
    • Disclosure Regarding Background Investigation
    • Other state and required disclosures as applicable
    • Authorization for a background check

    After the candidate signs the authorization form, Checkr starts the search.

    If you applied for a job and want to know your background check’s status, log in to the Checkr Candidate Portal.

  • Aliases >

    An alias is a name a person uses in addition to their legal name. Aliases include the name variations below:

    • Legally changed names
    • Nicknames
    • Shortened names

    Some candidates have records under different aliases. When a background check package includes aliases, Checkr searches records using the candidate's legal name and their aliases.

    Checkr searches records with aliases during the background checks below:

    • County civil search
    • County search
    • FACIS
    • Federal search
    • Global watchlist search
    • National search
    • Sex offender registry search
    • State search

    Video overview 

    Play the Checkr Academy video below to learn what aliases are and how to add them to your order in the Checkr Dashboard.

    Ordering

    To add aliases to a package, contact Checkr. You can also add aliases when you order a background check, and when you create or save a package from the Checkr Dashboard. Checkr identifies and searches four aliases for each package by default.

    Sometimes states and counties charge Checkr to search records. Checkr recovers these fees from customers as passthrough fees.

  • United States (US) territory search >

    As part of a state search, you can add a United States (US) territory search to find potential records in the US territories below:

    • American Samoa (AS)
    • Guam (GU)
    • Northern Mariana Islands (MP)
    • Puerto Rico (PR)
    • US Virgin Islands (VI)

    Ordering

    The US territory search is unavailable as a standalone search. To add the US territory search, contact Checkr. Additional fees apply.

    Turnaround

    Turnaround time varies depending on the US territory searched:

    • Guam: 7-8 business days, but expect delays because of Typhoon Mawar recovery
    • Puerto Rico: 4-5 business days
    • US Virgin Islands: Less than 1 business day

    The turnaround time starts after the candidate provides all the information.

    Candidate experience

    The candidate provides the personally identifying information (PII) below:

    • Birth date
    • Email address
    • Full name
    • Phone number
    • Social Security number (SSN)

    The candidate then reads and acknowledges receipt of applicable forms and authorizations:

    • A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
    • Disclosure Regarding Background Investigation
    • Authorization for a background check
    • Other state and required disclosures as applicable

    After the candidate consents in writing, Checkr starts a pointer search. The candidate's postal code determines whether the US territories search happens. The candidate provides the additional information below:

    • Government ID
    • Current address
    • Address in territory
    • Place of birth
    • Mother’s maiden name

    If you applied for a job and want to know your background check’s status, log in to the Checkr Candidate Portal.

  • Continuous checks >
    Note

    If your Checkr account has a partner integration, this feature might be unavailable. To determine whether your account supports this feature, contact Checkr.

    Checkr offers continuous checks, which monitor real-time data sources for changes to a person’s record. If a record changes, Checkr does checks in the appropriate jurisdictions and generates a new report.

    Results from continuous checks supplement your overall trust and safety program by finding recent reportable information.

    Consent

    A person must provide proper consent for enrollment in continuous checks. Specifically, people must authorize you to run background checks throughout their time with your organization. It is your responsibility to both obtain consent and unenroll people when they leave your organization. Consult your legal counsel to ensure that you have proper consent procedures in place for continuous checks.

    You can use continuous checks with both the Checkr Dashboard and Checkr API.

     

    Note

    You can enroll only people in the United States in continuous checks. Except for independent contractors, you should not enroll California candidates or workers in continuous products.

    Data sources

    Continuous checks use the data sources below:

    • Checkr real-time data: Checkr completes over 22 million county searches every year. Checkr monitors those searches for results that match everybody you enrolled in continuous checks. Because of Checkr’s commitment to fair chance hiring, reports from continuous checks include only records from the past year.
    • Arrest record feeds: Checkr uses information from a real-time feed as a pointer search to identify counties to search. Checkr reports only records with recent convictions and pending cases.
    • Online criminal databases: Checkr uses information from the data sources below:
      • Electronic county databases
      • Global watchlist databases
      • National criminal databases
      • Sex offender registries

    Results from continuous checks appear in background check reports.

  • Criminal search comparison >

    Review the differences between county searches, state searches, federal searches, and national searches.

    County search

      County search
    Scope

    A county search checks county databases for state and local criminal records:

    • Every adjudicated trial
    • Felony
    • Infraction
    • Misdemeanor
    • Other violations
    Search targets

    3,200 county courthouses in every state in the United States (US)

    State search

      State search
    Scope

    A state search checks for criminal records in a specific state:

    • Case number
    • Charge type (such as felony or misdemeanor)
    • Charge
    • Defendant’s name
    • Disposition (such as guilty or dismissed)
    • Disposition date
    • Sentencing information

    Checkr doesn't order state searches for the states below, which don’t have publicly available records:

    • California
    • Louisiana
    • Massachusetts
    • Nevada
    • New Hampshire
    Search targets

    Publicly available state criminal record databases

    Federal search

      Federal search
    Scope

    A federal search checks federal databases for records of federal crimes:

    • Bank robberies
    • Child pornography (possession, production, trafficking)
    • Crimes against federal employees
    • Crimes committed on federal land
    • Crimes that cross state lines
    • Drug cases involving large distribution networks
    • Other crimes outside state jurisdictions
    Search targets

    US federal government’s PACER criminal record system, which covers all 94 federal jurisdictions

    National search

      National search
    Scope

    A national search is a routine step in Checkr's background checks. A national search checks thousands of national databases and millions of records to find records that might require additional attention during another search. The results determine where to search for criminal records.

    Search targets National criminal databases from various county and state agencies, covering almost one-third of the US
  • International Criminal Search >
    Note

    If your Checkr account is integrated with a partner, international background checks might be unavailable. To determine whether your account supports this feature, contact Checkr.

    What is an International Criminal Search?

    An International Criminal Search is an in-country search leveraging multi-jurisdictional repositories and database sources to return all major offense conviction records. The criminal data will be retrieved from various local and national agencies, including but not limited to the department of justice, ministry of internal affairs, ministry of foreign affairs, national/federal police, and criminal record offices.  If no records are found, an adverse media screening is run.  

    Please see the Screenings by country section for a comprehensive view of how a criminal search is conducted in more common countries.

    How long does an International Criminal Search take to complete?

    The average turnaround time varies by country or territory. For a full list of turnaround times, please visit the International Pricing Guide.

    Can I edit the address history collection/lookback period of International Criminal Searches? 

    When hiring outside the US, you can choose how many years of address history (5-10 years) to gather from candidates. Reach out to Customer Support to customize your packages.

    Resources

    For more information about non-US screenings, visit the International Screenings section of the Checkr Help Center.

    If you'd like to add new packages to your account, refer to Manage packages.

  • Canadian criminal record search >

    Overview

    Canadian criminal record search uses the candidate-provided name and birth date to search the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) within the National Repository of Criminal Records for Canadian criminal convictions. Canadian criminal record search also searches the Police Information Portal (PIP database) for entries below:

    • Charges
    • Judicial orders
    • Peace bonds
    • Prohibition orders (non-convictions)
    • Probation
    • Warrants

    Because of the Dissemination of Criminal Record Information Policy, Police Services can't disclose results from PIP databases.

    When submitting results for a Canadian criminal record search, one of these results populate:

    • Clear: Declaration matches results
    • Consider: Declaration matches results
    • Consider: Declaration doesn't match results

    This document has the additional names below:

    • Premium Criminal Record Check
    • Level 2 Check
    • Police Information Check (PIC)
    • Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check (CRJMC) (Canada)
    • Certified Criminal Record Check with fingerprints (required for Quebec candidates)

    The enhanced criminal record check report shows the entries below:

    • Criminal convictions from CPIC and local databases
    • Summary convictions for five years from the conviction date, when identified
    • Findings of Guilt under the Youth Criminal Justice Act within the applicable disclosure period
    • Outstanding entries, such as charges and warrants, judicial orders, Peace Bonds, Probation, and Prohibition Orders. As per CPIC policy, information obtained from the Investigative database must be confirmed and authorized for release by the contributing agency.
    • Absolute discharges for one year
    • Conditional discharges for three years

    Canadian criminal record search doesn't show the entry types below:

    • Dispositions with the adjudications below:
      • Dismissed
      • Not Criminally Responsible by Reason of Mental Disorder
      • Withdrawn
    • Diversions
    • Family Court restraining order
    • Local police contact
    • Mental health contact
    • Ministry of Transportation information
    • Provincial statute conviction
    • Suspended conviction
    • Special Interest Police record
    • Suspended Vulnerable Sector Query record
    • Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) information outside the applicable disclosure period