How Long Does a Background Check Take?

Background checks are an essential part of the job hiring process to eliminate the risk of hiring an inappropriate employee.

It is a kind of screening process that helps companies choose the best candidates for the job and protect their company against liability claims. 

Hiring a new employee is a big investment for a company, and a background check lowers the chances of hiring a bad candidate by revealing all the details of the person while also mitigating the risk and protecting your company’s reputation.

If you are also a job applicant and wondering how long it takes for a background check to be completed, this article will help you know what to expect by giving insight into the average turnaround time of five basic checks. 

Let’s begin!


What Does a Background Check Include? 

A Background check typically involves inquiring about the authenticity of the personal information provided on the resume of the candidate, including 

  • Identity verification
  • Academic verification 
  • Past employment verification 
  • Professional certification 
  • Criminal record checks 
  • Driving license Check
  • Medical history
  • Credit Check
  • Drug screening
  • Use of social media
  • Global Watch list checks

5 Best Tenant Background Check Sites

10 Best Employee Background Check Sites

10 Best Background Check Sites 

How Long Does a Background Check Take? 

There is no straight answer to this question because each background check is different.

Typically, it takes between 3-5 business days, depending on the type, purpose, information requested, data sources, and legal requirements.

Take a look at the average turnaround times of the five most common types of background checks: 

Employment Background Check

An employment BC can take between a few minutes to five business days and even longer, depending on the type of information the employer needs.

The employment background checks can include everything from a professional license certification to an annual criminal record check to medical history and civil court documents. 

Criminal Background Check

This generally takes between 1-3 business days, depending on the manual search requirements.

The timeframe varies based on the country-level, state-level, and federal-level criminal searches and the database being searched.

If the employer needs to conduct international criminal history checks, it will add 2-3 more to the time frame. 

Federal Background Check

This one typically takes between a few weeks to a few months.

The federal background usually involves searches across the federal courts for violations of federal criminal law such as federal tax evasion, identity theft, embezzlement, interstate trafficking, and crimes committed on federal property.

The turnaround time for the federal BC is the longest as it involves checking records from seven years back or longer, depending on state laws. 

Fingerprint Background Check

A fingerprint BC involves cross-referencing an applicant’s prints with a database. This whole process may take weeks to get completed.

The process involves comparing your fingerprints with the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).

When there is a successful match, they return the results returned within 3 days. 

Gun Background Check

FBI or local state agency conducts these tests and the processing takes around 2-3 minutes through the National Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Gun checks are mandatory if you want to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer. This is to ensure that you are not legally prohibited from carrying a gun.   


By the end of this article, we hope you have gained an insight into how long does a background check take and everything else that you should know about the same. 

USW Overall Rating

Leave a Comment