Federal Background Check Requirements

The federal background check requirements may be necessary for many jobs dealing with sensitive information or people.

If you are applying for a position in the government sector, banking, or health sector, among others, then you will have to get a federal background check done.

So, what is a federal background check exactly? What information does it reveal? To find out answers to these and other related questions, keep reading this guide!

Federal Background Check Requirements

What Is a Federal Background Check?

A federal background check involves searches for criminal offenses across appellate courts and 94 federal United States district courts to uncover pending cases of federal crimes and convictions.

Kidnapping, tax evasion, theft, counterfeiting, etc., are all examples of federal crimes.

Even crimes against federal employees, such as crimes involving banks, TSA agents, forest rangers, etc., are all federal crimes.

A federal background check is usually used by companies involved in the financial sector, CPAs and executives as well to find incidents involving fraud, identity theft, or embezzlement.

Also, you must note that federal background check is different from FBI background checks and national background checks:

  • FBI background checks: This type of search can be conducted only by an authorized agency, and it is done through positive identification like fingerprinting. In an FBI background check, the information is collected from the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database, which includes the history of convictions and arrests.
  • National background checks: This involves checking over 1800 criminal databases to find information such as criminal background checks for employment. 

Where are Federal Criminal Records Stored?

Where are Federal Criminal Records Stored

Federal crimes in the United States are prosecuted in district or trial courts.

These crimes can also be appealed in appellate courts. So, federal criminal records either come from appellate courts or district courts.

So for this, districts in each state maintain and keep federal criminal records, and for each state, the U.S. district court has districts divided into one or more districts.

When a person conducts a name search, the result is matched against the district court master name list, and the reports are shown as per the FCRA Act.

What Information Can Be Found In a Federal Background Check?

A federal background check discloses misdemeanor convictions, federal felonies, as well as district-level pending cases in federal courts. This means you won’t find criminal information tired in local and state courts.

So here’s a list of information that you can ideally find in a federal background check:

  • Records containing crimes that are allegedly committed on state property or crossed state lines
  • Information specific to government clearance level for a position
  • Any listed lawsuit
  • Embezzlement
  • Fraud
  • Bank robberies
  • Drug trafficking
  • Counterfeiting
  • Kidnapping
  • Tax evasion
  • Identity theft

Federal background check reports may also include crimes committed against federal.

What Can Be Found In a Federal Background Check For Employment?

What Information Can Be Found In a Federal Background Check

Any person who is being hired for a job in the federal government must submit a federal background check report.

However, depending on the position, the information in a federal background check report may be more or less extensive.

For example, a federal background check pertaining to the position of national security might be more in-depth as compared to hiring someone for environmental matters. 

In a federal background check for employment, one can find information such as:

  • FBI’s fingerprint database
  • Candidate’s social media profiles
  • Checking a candidate’s residential address history
  • Interviewing spouses, friends, family members, roommates, etc.
  • Reference checks
  • Identity verification

Federal Background Check Requirements

A Federal Background check may be required for a number of key positions that include involvement in government industries, healthcare industries, and financial industries, among others. Federal background check requirements may be needed for the following:

  • Law enforcement
  • CEOs and C-Suite executives in finance or accounting
  • Teachers and education administrators
  • Certified public accountants
  • Care of children and vulnerable populations
  • Healthcare workers
  • Public-sector employees

How To Run a Federal Background Check?

How To Run a Federal Background Check

For running a federal background check, you are required to are required to create an account with the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system.

This is nothing but an online public access database that is run by the federal government.

To get started, you will need to fill out a short form and enter a user name. This does not require a credit card, but in order to access some information, you will need to pay a price.

Once you have set up your PACER account, you will be able to search federal courts to find criminal cases. For every document that you want to access, you will have to pay up to $3 per document.

If you want to save time, however, you can also get a federal background check done through third parties such as Checkr or GoodHire etc.

How To Run a Federal Background Check on Myself?

So to run a federal background check on yourself, you simply have to create a PACER account as described above and look for yourself.

If you have ever been convicted or charged with a federal crime, then you will find the record in this database.

To run a federal background check on yourself, you can also use third-party platforms or hire an investigator.

Wrap Up

A Federal background check is a crucial step in hiring those who are involved in the government, financial, health-related, or other sensitive industries.

In this guide, we gave you a complete overview of federal background check requirements, how it is done, and what it contains, among other things.

We hope you found this useful.


What are White Collar crimes?

White Collar crimes are those which are non-violent and money-motivated committed by people in businesses or government.

This type of crime is regarded as dishonest and deceptive and does not require any physical force or violence.

Bribery, Counterfeiting, Embezzlement, and bank fraud are all examples of white-collar crimes.

How does a background check for a federal job interview look like?

For a job related to the federal government, you will have to answer the most basic questions regarding where you have lived, studied, and worked and give information about any military history or police records. Also, you will also be asked to give your fingerprints. 

What is a Security Clearance?

A security clearance is a tiered status that is granted to federal employees typically. So for example, those working in private contractors or federal agency jobs for the government.

A security clearance examines your personal conduct, criminal history, background, etc., to confirm you have a good character to be working in the government.

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