How Long Does a Background Check Take?
There are many background check types, and the turnaround time varies for each, making it hard to answer how long a background check takes exactly? The duration of a background check depends on various factors, including the type of background check, information requested, and data sources.
A background check can sometimes take just a few minutes or as long as five business days. This article highlights 5 background check providers that offer the best turnaround times regardless of the type of background check performed. Maybe you even want to conduct a background check on yourself.
Best Background Check Services with Fast Turnaround Times
|✅ Instant Checkmate||Best for detailed reports|
|✅ TruthFinder||Best public and private database searches|
|✅ Intelius||Best one-time report|
|✅ Been Verified||Best for employment verification|
|✅ PeopleFinders||Best for accurate reports|
Instant Checkmate holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has been accredited since 2014. This background check provider gathers information from public records. It casts a wide net and includes several details such as contact information, criminal records, location history, civil court records, properties, vehicles, bankruptcies, and others.
Its background check diversity makes it suitable to perform almost any background check for federal, employment, universal, or criminal purposes. To perform a background search, all you do is enter the person’s name and the city and state where they live. Instant checkmate also offers phone and email lookup.
Since Instant Checkmate casts a wide net, your background reports may take a little longer than most. A basic background check from Instant Checkmate may take as little as 12 minutes, and a more detailed check will take hours or even days. However, given the amount of information an Instant Checkmate background report provides, it is well worth the wait.
You can try Instant Checkmate by taking advantage of their 5-day trial or signing up for a monthly membership if you plan to use it for longer.
- BBB Accredited
- Provides reports on time when compared to the amount of information you get.
- Easy to use search tools
- No free trial
TruthFinder was launched in 2014 and, since its inception, has tried to bring the most refined version of the truth to anyone who seeks it. It has positioned itself as a premium background check provider with access to public and private databases, allowing for a more profound and insightful background check report. This background check provider also has an A+ rating with the BBB.
The report may include address history, social media accounts, driving records, court records, and more. Truth Finder also scans the dark web to uncover other information that may be hidden and can’t be found with a basic background check provider.
The best thing about this background check company is that it takes to prepare reports quickly. Truthfinder’s background check process takes just 10 minutes, and it is why most people turn to truth Finder when they need to perform a background check in a hurry.
TruthFinder offers a monthly paid plan that gives you unlimited access to its services.
- 10 minutes to prepare a report
- It covers both public and private databases.
- It scans the dark web as well
- No single search option, only a monthly subscription
Intelius has been dominating the industry since 2003 by pulling information about individuals through public records and organizing them into a comprehensive report. It is an excellent tool for in-depth background reports and when performing reverse phone lookups.
Intelius reports contain information from personal to professional to property and criminal, etc. It provides a background check report between 3 to 30 minutes. However, it may take longer depending on the type of search performed on some occasions.
Unlike most background check providers, Intelius offers one-time reports. There is no free trial, but there is an “S report for $1.99,” which allows you to perform unlimited standard background searches for five days.
- Offer one-time reports
- 7 background search options
- Automatically charges card after the trial period is up if you don't cancel
BeenVerified has been around for over 11 years and allows you to run informal background checks on people using public data records. It currently has over 100,000 subscribers nationwide. It offers many unique search tools, including a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) tool.
This background check company provides a wealth of information, including a person’s contact details., address work and education history, civil and criminal convictions, social media profiles, bankruptcies, and more.
Basic background checks are done in a matter of minutes or even seconds. The time it takes to generate a report depends on how much information is available on the investigated individual. If you need more information, commit a little more time and patience to the process.
BeenVerified offers a $1 trial to test its services and a 1-3 months subscription that allows unlimited searches and background check reports.
- Generates reports in minutes
- Unique search tools
- Easy to use
- Can get expensive
Peoplefinders was founded in 1998. It has one of the largest public databases and pulls information from 43 billion records spanning over more than 40 years. The company is also the winner of several Business awards like the “Top 10 Best People Search Sites,” “Best of Industry,” “Information Services Standard of Excellence,” and “Standard of Excellence Award.”
You can use PeopleFinders to perform complete background checks, criminal record inspections, and reverse phone lookups. The company promises fair, comprehensive, and fast services. They are pretty clear about not being compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, implying that it can’t be used for employment, tenant, or credit checks.
According to PeopleFinders, the time it takes to create a basic background report is lightning-fast. According to many reviews from previous users, this is accurate as it takes less than two minutes after typing in the basic details of a person for a full report to be generated.
PeopleFinders has a 3-day trial for less than $1 and a monthly subscription for unlimited reports and criminal background checks.
- Largest public database
- Accurate background checks
- Lightning-fast turnaround time
- Not used for employment background checks
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the turnaround time for pre-employment background checks?
One of the most complicating factors when estimating how long pre-employment background checks take is the average pre-employment background checks performed. The pre-employment screening process will often include multiple checks, including career history, education history, criminal history, etc.
On average, a pre-employment background check process can take less than a minute, or it can take up to five business days. It all depends on the type of information your potential employer needs. The time is significantly increased if it requires manual searches or cooperation from other organizations such as universities and previous employers.
While a pre-employment background check is expected when applying for a job, some employers run ongoing background checks on current employees through regular drug testing or annual criminal background checks to keep the workplace safe.
An employment background check may contain your past employment history, education, credit history, criminal record, driving record, medical history, social media usage, and drug screening. However, the report is not limited to just these details as some employers search for these and more.
How long do criminal background checks take?
The term “employment background check “frequently means a “criminal history check.” A criminal background check is a common type of pre-employment background check performed.
A criminal records check may take two to three business days or two to three weeks, depending on a few factors. These include how many steps are involved with the criminal check, which criminal records reports are being ordered, and whether the process involves international searches.
What is the turnaround time for federal background checks?
A criminal background check also searches sex offender registries, county criminal court records, domestic and global terrorist watchlists, and federal and state criminal records. If manual searches are required, generating the full report can range from 1 to 3 days.
However, a federal background check usually takes just one day, and it searches across 94 US federal courts. It searches for violations of federal laws such as tax evasion, identity theft, etc., and crimes committed on federal property.
Federal background checks only check for crimes prosecuted at the federal level and do not check for convictions at the state level. That being said, some employers search both federal and state criminal records.
What Causes Background Check Delays?
The most common reason for a delay is inaccurate or incomplete check request forms by the person performing the background check. Delays also happen if they fail to have the necessary authorization and release forms signed by the person the background check is based on. Federal law requires these forms, and background check providers cannot start a background check unless they’ve received written consent.
In some cases, county court records are not entirely digitized, which means that these searches are most likely done manually by a county clerk or court runner. Depending on the county or case, it can take 3 to 30 days to perform a manual search.
Another instance where you may experience a delay is living in another country for school or work. Some employers may perform an international background check that takes about 4-5 days and sometimes longer, depending on that country’s cooperation since some may have privacy protection laws.
Aliases and name variances can also cause significant delays because the background check provider requires a manual check to confirm your identity. If you’ve used different names in the past or somehow mixed up your record with someone else who has a similar name or the same name, your background check can be delayed.
Last but not least, the background check provider may need to sort several sources for the information needed. Some sources like schools and previous employers may take longer to verify your information.
What steps can I take to prevent delays with my background check?
As a candidate for a background check, you can help to prevent delays by providing accurate information. If you submit inaccurate information to the employer, they will transmit that inaccurate information to the third-party background check agency, which will lead to delays.
Be sure to sign all release forms and authorization since they are required by law before academic institutions or past employers release any information. Failure to do so can cause significant delays, frustrating both you and the employer.
How long do the most common background checks take?
County criminal background checks can take 1 to 3 days, while statewide criminal checks vary by state. Federal criminal checks take 1 to 3 days, and national warrants may take 1 to 2 days. County civil records check takes 3 to 5 days, and federal civil checks take 2 to 3 days. Meanwhile, bankruptcy reports can take anywhere from 1 to 2 days.
Other searches may require phone interviews, especially in the cases of education and employment verification and reference checks. The time it takes for these searches also depends on several other factors.
However, employment verification can take between 2 to 3 days in most instances, while education verification takes about the same. Professional license verification and reference checks may also take 2 to 3 days
Now that you’re familiar with the best background providers for the fastest turnaround time, you can perform a background search without any issues. However, keep in mind that situations may arise where unexpected delays occur.
If your background check is taking too long, reach out to the person or company who requested the check to determine why there is a delay. If you’re performing the check yourself, reach out to the background check provider.
In some cases, they require more information from you, like previous addresses or aliases. Other instances include the failure to sign consent forms, etc. In that case, you will need to exercise some patience until the background check is completed. In case the delay is beyond your control, manual searches are recommended.