How to Conduct a Federal Background Check
The Federal Bureau of Investigations is responsible for maintaining a national database, which keeps a record of the criminal activities in the nation through the NCIC or the National Crime Information Center. This database includes details of individual criminal history records, list of wanted fugitives and missing persons. In certain cases, individuals can request for conducting a background check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A federal background check is also formally referred to as ‘FBI Identification Record’ that is provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. An individual who is arrested for a crime is fingerprinted. The arresting law enforcement agency sends these fingerprints to the NCIC along with the details of the arrests. When a federal background check is requested, the fingerprint identification of the individual concerned is run through the database to find out if there are any prior arrests registered against that individual.
The Identification Record of the Federal Bureau of Investigation makes use of the fingerprint identification to offer specific information to individuals requesting for a federal background check. As this database includes crimes that are committed all over the country, it offers a comprehensive source for conducting a criminal background check.
In general a federal background check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation consists of a search of the NCIC database to check if an individual has any history of criminal activity in his/ her record or not. If an individual on whom the federal background check has been conducted has a criminal record then the database will reflect the details of the arrests along with the charges, as well as the arresting agency, and the sentencing details and parole details if any. In addition the NCIC database also contains a list of other crimes such as criminal offenses dealing with sex crimes, drug related crimes, property crimes and such. It has records of serious misdemeanor and felony charges but minor offenses do not form a part of the database and these will not turn up during a federal background check.
Need for a Federal Background Check
A federal background check is required for the purpose of employment, especially for the purpose of employment for government offices and may also be required for the purpose of employments in schools. Apart from these reasons there may be other reasons for which a federal background check may be required. For example, several international agencies that deal with adoption services requires that the applicants submit to a federal background check.In addition, the local law enforcement units can request information from the NCIC database about criminals to establish whether these offenders have any arrests records in other states that does not fall within their jurisdiction.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is allowed to offer a background check based on the criminal history records for certain kind of employments and employers. For instance, it is mandatory for employment in the United States Department of Justice.The details of the criminal history background of the individual can also be released by the FBI under certain provisions of the law such as for the purpose of employment that involves working with children.Certain private institutions and companies may also request for a federal background check but they need to verify the requirements of the state laws in which they operate because state laws establish which agencies can request for a federal background check. Individuals are permitted to access and request to get hold of a copy of their own criminal history record and a copy of their own background check.
Checking Your Own Records
Order 556-73 of the Department of Justice in the United States has set rules and guidelines for individuals to request, review or obtain a copy of their own criminal history record or background report. These requests are processed by the Criminal Justice Information Services division of FBI. According to Order 556- 73 the reasons behind an individual request for their own criminal history record may be for the purpose of reviewing the contents of the record, challenging the contents of the record.In addition an individual may also need to obtain a copy of their criminal history record, or a police certificate or a ‘letter of good conduct’ in case they wish to live or work in a foreign country.
For the purpose of licensing or employment in the United States, an individual can request for their own federal background check by sending in their request through the appropriate identification bureau in his/her state such as the State Police’s Department of the state in which that individual lives in.
To request for a copy of their own records, individuals have to send a cover letter, along with their fingerprint identification card, a fee of $18 and mail it at the following address:FBI CJIS Division – Record Request, 1000 Custer Hollow Road, Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306. The payment for processing the request should be in the form of a certified check or a money order that is payable to the United States Department of Treasury. Individuals are allowed to pay by using a credit card but cash payment is not allowed. In general it takes the department 8 to 10 weeks to process a request.
For additional information on federal background checks, individuals can visit the website:http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/fprequest.htm.