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How Long Does An Employment Background Check Take?

Updated: Feb 9

how long do background check reports take?

You want to hire the right person in your business, and probably thinking of conducting an employment background check on promising job applicants. With the short time available to hire, knowing how long does a background check take will help you work with your schedule.

Depending on your requests and the time available, there are various ways to perform

background checks. These factors determine whether it will take just a few minutes or a few weeks.

On average, a pre employment background check can take 2 to 5 business days with Global Background Screening. Sometimes it may take longer to complete the whole process and get the results depending on a couple of factors.

How Long Does a Background Check Take?

For the most part, an employment background check turnaround times vary depending on the type of information and services you need.

A check can include work history, education, credit history, driving record, criminal history, civil judgments, medical sanctions history, social media checks, terrorist watchlist searches, drug tests and more.

Identity Check

While some identity checks are nearly instant, some can take up to 48-72 hours to get the report. This depends on the type of ID, the country of the ID and the quality of the ID. It involves checking the detail of a candidate by using their passport, National ID, or Social Security Number (SSN). The results of such background checks could take up to 48 hours to be ready.

Credit Check

credit report turnaround time

Credit check request are typically done within 24 hours. It involves searching on the credit bureau database for any record about a candidate's credit history.

Employee Verification

Verifying employment history may take up to two weeks. This depends on the specific employer, the applicant's main contact or HR Department.

At Global Background Screening, we do all we can to bypass the hefty Work Number Fee, which saves employers up to $100 per employment verification.

Criminal Background Check

Criminal background checks take between 2-3 days on average. Background check delays can happen depending on location, the possible records found, your screening provider, and if you have a common name in a court-clerk assisted courthouse.

The reports on this check can be returned faster depending on the type of services being done for the criminal check. For example, the national background check database search comes back in minutes.

However, when searching at the county-level to make sure all information is 100% accurate and updated per the Fair Credit Reporting Act, our researchers must go directly to the courthouse to verify. This process can take 1-3 business days on average.

You can learn more about the differences between the National Background Check vs County Background Check. National Background Check Explained.

Professional Qualifications Verification

This includes trade organizations membership, State Bar, and other certifications. A background check to verify the professional qualifications of a job candidate generally takes 2 business days.

Academic Background Checks

explains how long an education verification takes

A background check company takes 2 to 5 business days to get the complete report on the academic verification of a candidate. It could take even longer when schools are on holiday or when the institution requests a release form to share the records with the employer or background check company.

Federal Background Checks

When you need a complete information on the candidate's criminal records, you can go further and request a federal background check. The check sources information at the 94 federal level courthouses for violations of federal criminal laws, embezzlement, identity theft, and interstate trafficking, civil judgments, and bankruptcies.

The average turnaround time for federal checks is 1-3 business days.

Terrorist Watchlist Global Sanctions Searches

The employer can also request for applicant screening on a global watchlist database that has a list of potential terrorists, fraudsters, and people that have been sanctioned.

A Terror Watch List search generall takes 1 business day unless possible records are found. If possible records are found, it typically takes 3-4 days.

Motor Vehicle Records

For Motor Vehicle Reports (MVR), the report time depends on which state you are searching for the records of an applicant.

An MVR can take minutes in some states or days in others. For instance, GA and and FL are instant, but Pennsylvania takes at least 2 business days.

Fingerprint Background Checks

A fingerprint background check is required by government-run institutions like schools and hospitals.

Many employers require fingerprint background checks on the job applicant if they will be caring for vulnerable people.

The background check process depends on the quality of the fingerprints you submit. If the quality is poor, it could take longer to process the report or even make you retake the test.

Global Background Screening provides 3 fingerprinting services in every part of the the United States (and soon Canada).

  1. National FBI Fingerprinting Services - Takes 1-2 business days

  2. Level 2 Live Scan Fingerprints (Florida Only) - Takes 2-3 business days

Why Do Background Checks Take Long?

Your background check may take longer than the average turnaround time of 2-3 days.

If this happens, here are some reasons why:

  • Providing inaccurate or incomplete information when filling the forms. This may happen if the employer does not utilize our simple electronic authorization forms and provides their own forms.

  • If you have ever lived outside the U.S in the last 10 years, an international background check may be required. On average, these checks take anywhere between 3 to 15 days depending on the country's laws and protection.

  • With many court records still not digitized, the county clerks can take up to 30 days to complete the check.

  • Incorrect Identifiers provided by the applicant could cause delays. For instance, if an applicant adds an incorrect number on their SSN or DOB, our system will let us know that there is something wrong with the ID Verification and additional documents from the applicant will be required.

  • A background check report may take longer depending on the type of background check the employer has requested. Results of different background checks take longer to complete as we reviewed above. For instance, an employee verification may take longer since it involves interacting with another human to help verify applicant data.

Is It Possible To Speed Up The Background Screening Process?

make background checks finish fast

While there is no specific way to speed up the process due to factors that are out of the employer's control, there are still some things you can advise the candidate to do during the hiring process, and help reduce the waiting time for the results.

  • Ask your service provider for an Expedited or Rush request. At GBS, you can easily select this option at checkout. We then expedite your request and make it priority.

  • Provide all the required information. Ask the applicant to gather all the necessary information that would likely be needed during the employment screening process. This includes simple things like adding the middle name if the applicant has a common name like Michael Johnson. The information may include past employment, applicant's former addresses, supervisor names, Human Resources Contact, previous salary information, and employment dates.

  • Be Honest. Normally, when conflicting information pops up during a background check, providers like are bound by the Fair Credit Reporting Act to verify that the information provided is accurate through numerous channels before including discrepancies on a consumer report.

  • Work Together With The Screening Provider. Screening companies may sometimes contact an applicant directly to see if they can help speed up the background check process. This is common when the background check provider encounters an unresponsive information source like the previous employers and educational institutions. The applicant can work together with the background checker and provide them with copies of relevant documents like diplomas or W2s.

Speed Up Your Employment Background Checks!

Let GBS Do It.

Global Background Screening LLC (GBS), is an international background check provider that conducts fast and accurate background check services.

Whether you are an employer or the applicant, GBS, provides several employment screening services such as pre-employment background checks, drug testing, and criminal record, among others.

Why Use Global Background Screening LLC?

When you need a screening company to conduct an employee background check, GBS is the go-to place. Our services are unique and leading in the market.

  • GBS provides industry-specific screening solutions to help employers make smart hiring processes and decisions and reduce the time spent on hiring.

  • GBS uses modern technology along with an experienced team that has worked for over 2o years gathering employee information and provide you with accurate reports to help you evaluate candidates.

  • Easy to use dashboard with status updates, comprehensive legal background tools, and same-day screening.

  • Fast results through the use of electronic forms and signatures. The average turnaround time is 2 days. The reports are also easy to read.

  • GBS screening services are reliable and of top quality but stays affordable for every employer. Customize your needs to meet your budget.


How long does a background check take for a job?

A background check for a job takes between 2and 5business days. Background checks are part of the hiring process and could even take up to 30 days for higher-level government positions like the FBI.

What do employers look for in a background check?

Employers search for past employment history (previous job), academic verification, criminal record, credit information, civil records and much more.

Why is my background check still pending for a job?

It could be for a simple reason like the report is not yet ready. It could also mean that the employer (The job you're applying for) has found a red flag in the report and they are reviewing it.

Why Is My Background Check Taking So Long?

If the check is taking long, like more than two weeks, it is possible that the screening provider found issues with your background check or that they provider simply does not have direct communication with their own court researchers. If there are issues with the search results, the employer may contact you for clarification. Make sure to always check all your emails and spam emails to make sure you're not overlooking any additional requirements.

What if I need to conduct a background check on a person without consent?

If you're needing a "People Search" which cannot be used for employment, tenant screening, or any other reasons defined under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can utilize a service like where you can find a wide variety of info on someone without consent.

Carlos Crameri ceo of Curious Check and Global Background Screening

Guest Author: Carlos Crameri is the CEO of CuriousCheck, an SEO and Web design company. With over 10 years in the background screening industry, Carlos is on a mission to modernize the human resources and background screening industries with new technology and marketing trends.

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