How Long Do Background Checks Take To Complete?

“Patience is a key element of success” – Bill Gates


A frequently asked question regarding background checks is “How long do your background checks take to process”. This answer is unique for every client and every applicant. Once a request has been submitted, a researcher is assigned to that applicant. We begin processing an applicant as soon as possible. An average estimated turn-around time ranges between one to four business days. The best-case scenario ranges from a returned report within an hour to the worst-case scenario ranging upwards of a month. I will break down the estimates below, and provide reasoning for the turn-around times.

Quickest Searches

We offer a variety of services with optimal return times. Some of these can be processed within an hour, and others are typically the same or the next day, but can experience delays. Once we are provided the consent form, our completed reports are available within:

  • Driver History – These searches are typically processed on average within an hour. This can be delayed if the applicant has provided an incorrect driver’s license number.
  • Social Security Trace – This search is also typically processed within an hour. This can be delayed if the applicant has provided an incorrect social security number.
  • Sex Offender Registry – This search is typically completed within an hour. A delay will occur if the applicant is listed on the registry.
  • Federal Criminal – This search is typically processed the same day it is received.
  • Connecticut Statewide Criminal – Our Connecticut criminal reports are typically processed on the same day.
  • National Criminal – This is typically available on the same day. This may be delayed if there are hits received on the national. If there are hits, we must research these findings with local and state jurisdictions for validity and additional identifiers.
  • Credit Reports – Provided a company has gone through the approval process allowing us to process these reports on their behalf, they are typically processed within an hour. We may experience a delay if an applicant has opted to have their credit frozen.
  • DCF Checks – These searches can range between the same day and up to five business days. We are at the liberty of the DCF department to provide us with the reports. A delay can occur if the applicant failed to sign the DCF authorization form, or if the applicant is listed on the DCF registry.

Moderate Searches

We offer services that can have a same or next-day return but often require additional business days for processing. We will explore the causes of delays for our moderate reports:

  • Employment Verifications – Employment verifications range, as they depend greatly upon past employers. We have provided same-day employment verifications when applicable, but we have also provided employment verifications that have required 7-14 business days. Delays can occur if a past employer does not have adequate coverage providing verifications when their human resource directors are on vacation or out due to illness. Sometimes company policy of past employees requires that we allow them 7-14 business days to process our request. Other delays can occur if the company has transitioned its payroll company, either does not have a record of the past employee or have to physically access boxes containing their last payroll(stored off-site). Companies frequently utilize third-party verifying systems, such as Work Number, and the information can be incomplete, inaccurate, or missing, which requires us to connect with companies that are reluctant to verify inconsistencies, due to their use of these systems.
  • 16-67 Employment Verifications – These verifications typically process in five business days. Past employers are allowed up to five business days to process requests upon receipt. Employers within the state of Connecticut often provide these verifications before the allotted five days as they understand the importance of them, but out-of-state employers are often not familiar with this act.
  • Education Verifications – These reports are sometimes processed the same day, but sometimes also require additional business days for processing. Record-keeping requirements range not only from school to school within our state but from state to state.
  • Out-Of-Country Searches – The typical out-of-country criminal, education, or employment verification takes roughly ten and twenty business days. Some institutions may require additional information than they initially requested for security reasons, and therefore this may cause delays.
  • Out-Of-State Criminal – These vary from state to state, some are the same or the next day, and others require 2-5 business days to process. Puerto Rico can take upwards of a month at times due to hurricanes. If you have an applicant that requires an estimated turnaround time our associates are always ready to provide this guidance.
  • Professional References – The average turn-around time for these requests is typically two to four days. Delays can occur due to the availability of provided references. For example, if an applicant has provided a reference that works during our working hours, this may cause a delay in receiving their reference.

Top Causes For Delays

We strive to process reports as quickly as possible on our end for our clients and applicants alike. We understand the importance of streamlining the onboarding process. Unfortunately, the following circumstances impact our ability to provide reports at optimal timing:

  • Applicant Errors – If an applicant has provided a consent form that is not legible or has provided a consent form riddled with typos, this requires correspondence to retrieve the proper information. If an applicant is not quick to return the proper information the completed report will be delayed.
  • Missing Authorization Form – If our clients do not include an authorization form with their requests, we cannot begin processing. If an applicant has not signed the authorization allowing us to process the report, we cannot begin the process. An example of this delay would include a simple report request, typically processed the same day, delayed due to the authorization form not being signed, then the applicant is not available for another week to sign, thus delaying the process exponentially.
  • Holidays or Disasters – Delays can occur due to lost business days stemming from the courts being closed for a federal holiday. Other closures include natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and closures due to COVID. We are often at the hands of court clerks, and if they are closed for any of the above mentioned reasons, this can delay reports.
  • Technology – Whenever there is a power outage or the internet goes out for us or any institution we are relying on for information, whether a court, past employers (for verifications) or educational institution, this can cause delays beyond our power.
  • Past Employers and Educational Verifications – We are at the liberty of past employers and educational institutions. Their policies range and therefore impact our completion time. We strive to verify our requests have been received, then do our due diligence to follow up when we are not quickly provided verifications. However, delays cans occur due to overworked and understaffed employees, holidays, vacations, and information storage.
  • Date and Time of Submission – We process reports during our business hours of 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. If you submit a request on Friday at 4 PM, it will be processed Monday Morning. Submissions late in the evening are processed the next day. If you have a report that requires a quick turn-around, for example, a driver history request, submitting it between the morning and late afternoon provides your best opportunity to receive your report the same day.

We will always complete your reports as promptly as possible, however, there are times when we are at the liberty of others and this may cause a delay. We have provided helpful tips for our clients, and these can be read here. Reading the tips mentioned and practicing them will help to avoid future frustration during the onboarding process.

The information provided on this website is not to be considered legal advice. All information on this blog is for general information purposes only.


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