Employers and other entities often perform background checks in North Dakota, and the process isn’t as complicated as you might think. Here’s everything you need to know about getting an ND background check.
Background Check Laws In North Dakota
When it comes to doing background checks in North Dakota, there is only one law that you must be aware of:
- The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
The Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA is a federal law that is designed to promote fairness and accuracy when it comes to background checks by consumer reporting agencies. Simply put, it’s the federal government’s way of ensuring that employers and job candidates alike are protected when it comes to background checks.
To accomplish that goal, the FCRA monitors both employers and job candidates to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected and that nobody’s privacy is violated.
It’s a good idea to be aware of the FCRA, as it’s a term you’ll often see regarding background checks in any state across America. While some states have their local version of the FCRA with minor differences, most of them still prefer to keep things uniform with other states by sticking to the federal version of the FCRA.
About ‘Ban-The-Box’ Laws
‘Ban-the-box’ laws do not apply to private employers in the state of North Dakota. However, they do apply to public employers.
‘Ban-The-Box’ is another term that you’ll often see when researching or requesting background checks. That term refers to laws that tell companies how and when they can inquire about a job candidate’s criminal history during the employment process.
States with ‘Ban-The-Box’ laws like New Jersey, for example, make it so that employers can’t ask about a candidate’s criminal history until after their first job interview. On top of that, employers in those states can’t consider any criminal convictions that may have been pardoned or expunged from the person’s record when it comes to making hiring decisions.
What Shows Up On A Background Check In North Dakota?
Quite often, when people talk about background checks in North Dakota, they assume that it’s all about criminal records. The truth is that a background check can cover many more details than just that. All of it depends on what kind of information you’d like to request.
For instance, a basic background check by an employer in North Dakota might include:
- Identity verification to ensure that the person is who they say they are.
- Verification of the person’s work and academic history.
- Confirmation that the person has relevant licenses necessary for the job, such as a medical license.
- Criminal history, court records, and even traffic offense records.
Some employers may also choose to go much more in-depth regarding their background checks, especially for specialized job roles. For example, an employer may also include in the background check:
- Sex offender registry checks, especially if the job involves providing care to vulnerable people like children, medical patients, and so on.
- Motor vehicle license checks, especially if the job involves operating the forklifts or other company vehicles.
- Credit history checks, especially if the job involves handling cash or managing the company’s finances.
These are just some examples, though a background check in North Dakota could go into much more specific detail. However, certain laws govern who can have access to what kinds of information on other people. On top of that, laws also dictate how that information is to be used.
The bottom line is simple: the exact type of information that appears on a background check and the rules that regulate how that information can be used depending on the purpose of the background check itself.
For instance, a background check that’s done for pre-employment by a company will be different from what’s done to screen a potential tenant by a landlord. Both of them require different information and follow different rules.
How Far Back Do Background Checks Go In North Dakota?
Typically, background checks in North Dakota go as far back as seven years. That’s seven year’s worth of criminal histories and court records, as determined by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA.
Still, it’s important to note that different information types may be subject to their time frames of how far back they can go in your background check. Plus, the job or employer in question can also affect how far back the information is collected.
For example, a credit history check for employment purposes usually goes back seven years. However, bankruptcies might appear on the record for up to ten years instead. Plus, there is also an exception for if the job in question pays $75,000 or more per year. In that case, a candidate’s financial history of up to 10 years can be included in the background check report.
Records With No Time Limits
While some types of information have restricted time frames, others are not governed by law. For example, an employer can request a background check that includes a candidate’s education, employment, and professional license history.
When it comes to background checks in North Dakota, that kind of information can be verified throughout a person’s lifetime.
Typically, the verification is done directly with the organization in question. So, education histories are verified directly with the college or university, employment with former employers, and professional licenses with the issuing bodies of said licenses.
Employers may want to include information from further back in a candidate’s history. That’s possible, so long as they remain compliant with any local and federal laws that govern background checks. Should they be in violation, the company may be subject to hefty fines.
How Long Does A Background Check Take In North Dakota?
In North Dakota, a criminal background check can take between seven to ten business days. That is assuming you submit a request directly to the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation to obtain those records.
Several factors affect how long it takes for you to get a background check in North Dakota. Firstly, it’s a question of whether you collect the information yourself or go through a third-party.
One of those options may be quicker than the other, depending on your needs.
Besides that, several factors can delay the background check process.
Getting A Background Check Directly
All background checks require time to complete. If your background check is limited to only one or a few criteria, you might be able to get what you need quicker by submitting the request directly.
That means submitting official requests for background checks with the relevant government offices or law enforcement agencies. If you’re searching for court records, you’ll have to submit your request for information to the relevant courthouses that hold those records.
Still, if your background check criteria are limited to only one or a few items, this could be the best way to minimize time spent.
However, if you’re interested in a more in-depth background check, this may not be the best approach. A comprehensive background check will require submitting requests to several sources before compiling and organizing that information neatly.
That will take a lot of time to do by yourself, which is why you may be better off going with a third-party background check service provider instead. Keep reading to find out why.
Getting A Background Check Through A Third-Party Service Provider
Using a third-party service provider like a credit reporting agency could be a faster option to get your background check. That’s because they’ll have teams of staff dedicated to gathering all the information you need and then compiling it into an easy-to-read report for you.
This is undoubtedly a faster option for more in-depth background checks in North Dakota. However, that speed will come at an additional cost.
Factors That Can Delay A Background Check
Regardless of the approach, you take to getting a background check in North Dakota, several factors can delay your background check. These factors are often out of your control or the control of the service provider you’ve chosen to hire.
Those factors include:
- Inaccurate information on the subject of your background check.
- Confusing information for subjects with similar names and dates of birth.
- Delays at the source, like a courthouse that’s experiencing too many requests for court records.
- Geographical delays, because the information you seek is in another county, state, or country.
Keeping these factors in mind is essential to manage your expectations. That way, you can plan ahead for potential delays in getting your background check in North Dakota, whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring a third-party to do it for you.
How Long Does A Background Check Take For A Gun In North Dakota?
There is no waiting period to purchase a gun in North Dakota. However, the customer must go through an instant background check at the point where they are buying the weapon.
All firearms sales by licensed dealers are processed directly at the federal level through the FBI rather than the state level.
How To Get A Background Check In North Dakota
Generally, there are two ways to get a background check in North Dakota: requesting the information directly from the source or hiring a third-party company to do it for you. Each option comes with its fair share of pros and cons, which we will look at below.
Requesting Information Directly
Like many other states across the U.S., North Dakota has an open records statute that allows citizens to access public records of government bodies. As such, it’s possible to perform a background check manually by submitting request forms to the relevant government offices directly.
Typical examples include courts (for court records) and law enforcement agencies (for criminal records). In most cases, there will be a fee that has to be paid when submitting such a request to a government office.
Still, it’s also possible for you to verify other kinds of background information directly as well.
For example, a recruiter may want to verify a job candidate’s academic history by contacting the university directly. The same is true when verifying professional licenses as well, where the person simply has to liaise with the awarding body that provides those licenses.
The pros and cons of this approach: Firstly, sourcing the information for a background check directly can be quick and cheap. That’s assuming that the background check only includes a limited amount of data.
As you might imagine, this is not an ideal approach to take if the background check requires a long list of information or if the person needs to perform several background checks continually.
For example, a company’s recruiters may not have the time to gather the information manually for every single job candidate they interact with. In cases like these, the company may prefer hiring a third-party service provider.
Hiring A Third-Party Company
Third-party companies that provide background checks in North Dakota go by many names. Some are known simply as background check companies, credit reporting agencies, and in some cases, even private detective agencies.
Whatever they’re called, they have the benefit of providing dedicated teams to perform the background check on your behalf. However, their services usually come at a higher cost than doing it yourself.
Using the earlier example of a company recruiter, this may be a better approach to getting background checks in North Dakota. Their company will probably have the budget to afford this kind of approach, especially since they’ll want to do a background check on anyone they hire.
The pros and cons of this approach: Using a third-party to get a background check in North Dakota can be pricey. However, in exchange for their fee, they’ll provide quick turnaround times and in-depth background checks without any of the fuss of collecting the information yourself.
How To Get A Criminal Background Check In North Dakota
To get a criminal background check in North Dakota, you’ll need to submit a request to the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation or BCI. The process can take anywhere from seven to ten business days.
To fill out the necessary forms, you’ll need to provide information on the subject that includes:
- Their full name and any known aliases.
- Date of birth.
- Social Security Number or fingerprint.
- Their current address.
Submitting the request also includes a $15 fee, though some parties may request a reduced rate. Non-profit charitable organizations, for example, can submit an Application for Reduction in Fee, which could reduce that cost by $5.
In any case, the payment must be in the form of a check or money order, payable to the “ND Attorney General”. They do not accept cash for these kinds of requests.
Any request for a criminal background check this way will only show state records, i.e. those from within North Dakota. In some cases, a federal background check with the Federal Bureau of Investigation may be required for whatever reason.
In those cases, a request must be made to the relevant government agency that requires that FBI check or by contacting the FBI directly.
What Do Job Background Checks Check For In North Dakota?
In North Dakota, a job background check can include many different things. All of it depends on what the company wants to know about the job candidate.
Typically, though, you can expect that most companies will request a background check that includes:
- Verification of the job candidate’s identity
- The candidate’s employment history
- The candidate’s education history and that of any other relevant qualifications
- Criminal convictions
However, employers will also check for more specific criteria that are relevant to the job in question. Some common examples include:
- Finance: checking the candidate’s credit history.
- Driver: checking the candidate’s motor vehicle licenses and any traffic offenses.
- Caregiver: checking criminal records and whether or not they’re on any sex offender registries.
- Requires professional licensing: checking that the candidate is indeed licensed and that any necessary licenses are still valid.
The results of the background check might affect the hiring decisions of the company. However, some laws determine how companies can use any information they find in a background check as part of their decision-making.
Can I Get A Free Background Check In North Dakota?
Typically, you cannot get a background check for free in North Dakota. You’ll often find that any request form, especially to government agencies or entities, will involve a small fee that must be included in the form of a check or money order.
However, there are ways that you can reduce how much it costs to get the background check information you need. Some of them include:
- Submitting the requests directly to the relevant government offices. By doing it yourself, you’ll avoid paying any fees to third-parties to do it for you.
- Being sure of the exact information you need. Do your homework and be sure of the background check criteria that are necessary for your situation. While it may be tempting to run the whole gamut and get an in-depth background check, any unnecessary information will increase your overall costs.