Unrecognizable person putting their finger in a fingerprint scanner

FBI Fingerprinting & Background Checks


Why Would I Need FBI Fingerprinting or a Background Check?

In most cases, fingerprinting and background checks are performed as a requirement for employment to ensure the safety of the company and its customers or the public at large. Fingerprint and background checks may also be required before adopting or fostering a child, before purchasing weapons, or as part of civil legal proceedings.

How Long Does FBI Fingerprinting Take?

The actual FBI fingerprinting process only takes 15 to 20 minutes. Once your fingerprints and completed application are submitted to the FBI, the process can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks depending on the situation. Common issues that can delay your FBI criminal record check include:

  • An incomplete or inaccurate application
  • Forgetting to sign the application
  • Paying with a check
  • Submitting poor-quality fingerprints

To ensure that your FBI check proceeds as quickly and smoothly as possible, it is best to use a technician who is familiar with FBI fingerprinting and who uses electronic fingerprinting technology. At MD Now, we offer state-of-the-art digital fingerprint services that are able to provide 100% accurate results.

How Does an FBI Background Check Work?

An FBI background check will show any information that the agency has received about you from federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies. In addition to past arrests, an FBI check may also show information about previous military history or federal employment. It is up to local and state authorities to report information about criminal arrests and convictions to the FBI, so information regarding fines, citations, and other minor offenses may not show up during an FBI check.


Types of Screening


What Is the Difference Between a Fingerprint Screening and a Background Check?

A traditional check using fingerprints compares your fingerprints to those in the FBI’s fingerprint database. While this type of check can identify certain criminal records, the process is not 100% reliable in detecting all individuals with criminal histories. A fingerprint check will only identify individuals who are already in the system either from a prior arrest or a previous fingerprint or background check. Since the database is based on information submitted voluntarily by local, state, and federal authorities, the information may not be accurate or complete. A complete background check uses your fingerprints, Social Security number, address history, credit checks, and other information to get a more complete picture of your past.

What Is the Difference Between a Live Scan Background Check and a Traditional Fingerprint Background Check?

A traditional fingerprint background check involves applying ink to the fingers and then rolling the fingers onto a card. The process is not only messy, but it is also prone to errors since the accuracy of the image depends on the skill of the technician. In fact, traditional fingerprinting is only 85% to 90% accurate. A live scan check is an inkless, electronic means of capturing fingerprints, which are then transmitted to the state police or FBI for processing. The prints are then compared to a state or federal criminal history database. The images are captured digitally, so there is no mess, and the technician can take a print several times to ensure that the image is as good as possible.

What Is a Background Check Level 2?

Most states require Level 2 background checks for anyone working closely with minors, such as teachers, scout leaders, and daycare workers. A Level 2 background check may also be a prerequisite for professional licensure. Private organizations may order this type of check for individuals dealing with large sums of money, Social Security numbers, and other sensitive information. A Level 2 background check will include a search of available criminal databases, motor vehicle records, and sex offender registries. It is possible for a Level 2 background check to reveal criminal records that have been sealed or expunged.


Useful Information


What Documents Do I Need to Bring for Electronic Fingerprinting?

When you come in for digital fingerprinting, you will need to bring the following:

  • A valid government-issued photo ID
  • The Originating Agency Identification number of the department or agency requesting the background check
  • Your payment

Can I Use the Same Prints That I Submitted for Another License or Employer?

Under FBI regulations, your fingerprints cannot be shared between employers or agencies. You are required to submit new prints for each license or job requiring a fingerprint check. In addition, most state agencies only retain fingerprints for a limited time, so you may be required to submit new prints if the ones submitted with a previous application are expired.

What If My Fingerprint or Background Check Indicates a Criminal Record?

In most cases, the information will be reviewed to determine if you are legally disqualified for the position or license for which you are applying.

If you need fingerprinting as part of a background check, contact us today to find an MD Now location near you that offers digital fingerprinting services.


The content provided on the MD Now website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for receiving medical care and treatment from a qualified healthcare provider. Never delay seeking advice, evaluation, and treatment from a medical professional because of what you’ve read on this site, since the information provided may not apply to you or your symptoms.