How to Obtain a Fingerprint Criminal Background Check

By Lesley Barker - Updated March 21, 2017

If you are trying to get a job that requires security clearances or involves working with children or with other people's finances, you will probably be asked to submit to a criminal background check. In addition, certain state licenses such as teacher's certifications and medical licenses are not awarded until the candidate has passed a fingerprint criminal background check. It starts with a set of your fingerprints which are compared to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's database of criminal history records (also known as the FBI Identification Record database). If your fingerprints match any on record, the report that your prospective employer or licensing agency receives will include the date of your arrest, the charges against you, and the resulting sentence or fines. Usually the results of a fingerprint criminal background check come in around two weeks.

Obtain the criminal background check application form from your prospective employer or state licensing agency. Fill it out completely using a black pen, legible print and verifiable information. You will be asked to supply any names or aliases that you have ever used.

Go to the designated location to have your fingerprints made. If you are unsure of where to go, check the L-1 Identity Solutions website. This company collects and submits fingerprints for FBI criminal background checks. The website contains an interactive map of the United States. Move your mouse over your state and click to learn where you can go to have your fingerprints made.

Pay the fee. The cost of having your fingerprints made varies according to the state and the agency. Call ahead to find out whether the agency accepts checks or credit cards.

Submit the fingerprints along with the application form according to the instructions you received from your prospective employer or licensing agency. Wait for at least two weeks for the results to come back.

About the Author

Lesley Barker, director of the Bolduc House Museum, authored the books "St. Louis Gateway Rail—The 1970s," published by Arcadia, and the "Eye Can Too! Read" series of vision-related e-books. Her articles have appeared in print and online since the 1980s. Barker holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Washington University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Webster University.

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