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How Long Does a Federal Background Check Take?

Whether you’re an employer, landlord, or anyone else who needs to conduct a background check, you want to choose the right one for your needs. A federal background check is one possibility. As the name suggests, it is a check that occurs on the federal or national level – but what does this mean, exactly? And because time is of the essence when it comes to employees or tenants, you might be wondering: How long does a federal background check take? 

Let’s take a closer look at federal background checks to find out what information they reveal and how long they take. 

What Does a Federal Background Check Uncover?

Federal background checks search the records of the 94 United States federal courts to uncover violations of federal law that the individual may have committed. Possibilities for these violations include things like: 

  • Tax evasion 
  • Identify theft 
  • Embezzlement 
  • Illegal firearms sales 
  • Mail fraud 
  • Interstate trafficking 
  • Crimes committed on federal property 

It’s important to realize that federal background checks only cover the federal courts – that means they don’t cover courts on the state or local level. Depending on your needs, you may want to run state or local background checks as well to uncover information about a candidate or tenant’s entire criminal record. 

How Long Does a Federal Check Take?

Since federal background checks only search across 94 U.S. district and appellate court databases, the turnaround time is fast. Usually, results can be had in a single day, although it may take one or two days depending on the circumstances. And understand that when you add searches to a federal background check, such as state and/or county criminal record checks, time will be added to this figure. 

Could Federal Background Checks Be Delayed?

A variety of factors could cause a federal background check to take longer than a day or two. The most common is inaccurate or incomplete request forms – when the proper information isn’t in place, the search is much harder. Other common reasons for delays are federal holidays and closures for emergencies, like severe weather, and it’s also likely that a check will take longer when the individual has lived, worked, or traveled extensively outside of the U.S. 

Need Help With Background Checks? 

Want to make sure your background check requests are accurate? Need help with the process? You’ve come to the right place. Metrodata Services is PBSA-accredited to make sure your background checks are conducted properly. Contact us today to learn more and get started. 

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