One of the first states in our great country, Vermont actually began actively keeping public records all the way back in 1776 – with many of those records remaining intact still today!
Not only did Vermont keep records pertaining to the property being purchased and sold (incredibly important in those days), but they also kept birth records, marriage records, and even death records.
Over time Vermont (obviously) modernized its record-keeping system, and today it is generally pretty simple and straightforward to navigate for most folks.
Obviously, like any other digital system, however, there are some kinks that need to be worked out and some hurdles that folks conducting background checks are going to have to clear, too.
But that’s why we have created this detailed guide!
Vermont Background Check Info You Need to Know
Vermont has its own specific laws relating to how public records can be checked and accessed, all of which fall under the umbrella of the Vermont Record laws that are regularly updated.
These laws had existed in one form or another since Vermont was a state, but they were overhauled dramatically in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration.
This is when state legislators decided to pass what was called the Public Records Act in the state of Vermont, opening up the records in a much more transparent and open way.
Vermont wanted to make sure that any of its citizens had an opportunity to keep the government accountable, figuring that more transparency and more responsibility on behalf of the government would inevitably result in smarter decision-making and better legislation.
This has led to the overwhelming majority of public records maintained in the state of Vermont being opened up to any citizen, including citizens outside of the state itself.
Only a handful of public record types are exempted from this kind of transparency, including records created by the Vermont legislature as well as the Vermont judicial branches. The Attorney General of the state has the sole discretion of whether or not those documents are released during a public records request or a background check.
Vermont does have a stated timeframe that all government officials and public employees must adhere to when someone requests public records, too. We dig into that in just a moment.
Can Anyone Look Up Someone’s Background in Vermont?
As highlighted above, pretty much anyone has the opportunity to look up background information on anyone living or working in the state of Vermont through the state public records system.
In certain circumstances, all government records are available directly through the website of that particular office.
In other situations, however, an individual, business, organization looking for access to those records needs to make a request in writing and submitted through the mail, fax it, or submit it over the phone.
As a general rule, public record and background check requests in the state of Vermont are going to require the applicant to provide:
- Their name and all contact information
- The name of the document or the information that is being sought (with as much detail as possible)
- A specific timeframe that you’d like an answer to your background request in
- The method you’d like this background check information to be provided to you (email, mail, etc.)
For more details about how different departments and agencies like these kinds of requests to be made visit the state website at Vermont.gov.
What Type of Info Shows Up on a Vermont Background Check?
Like most other states, the overwhelming majority of background checks in Vermont are going to relate to criminal background checks run by employers on potential employees.
Criminal records are specifically handled by the Vermont Criminal Conviction Record Internet Service, a division within the Vermont Department of Public Safety.
The kind of information available here usually relates to both misdemeanor and felony crimes, including arrests, any and all indictments stemming from those arrests, as well as convictions or acquittals.
Inmate records can also be accessed through the Vermont Department of Corrections.
These records provide information that can include, but is not limited to:
- Personal information that identifies the individual/inmate
- Mugshots (where applicable)
- Where inmates are located
- Inmate registration information
- Any jail transfer details
- Current and active custody status updates
Court records in the state of Vermont are also easily checked and verified through the Vermont Judiciary or the VT Courts Online portal.
The majority of court records maintained by the state of Vermont are going to be held at each individual and local court clerk’s office. Some of them have been digitized and some have not, though the state of Vermont has made it a mission to bring all of their court records online before the end of 2026.
Information here relates to court minutes, case files, docket information, any orders of the court handed down, judgment documentation, as well as jury records, jury files, and witness documentation (where available).
Lastly, Vermont vital records – birth, marriage, divorce, and death records – are available through the Vermont Department of Health.
Some of these records are available online through the DOH website, but others have to be requested specifically from the DOH either over the phone or through the mail.
How Far Back Do Background Checks Reach?
Vermont allows potential employers to look at the criminal history of a job applicant going back seven years in the past from the day that the background check is initiated.
This is in full accordance with the federal statutes established by the Fair Credit Reporting Act as well as the Title VII section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Vermont has also instituted a “banning of the box” piece of legislation that was signed into law back in 2016.
This piece of legislation means that employers are prohibited from asking about an individual’s personal criminal history on a job application. Potential employees are given the opportunity to refuse to answer these questions if they are asked in an interview or not disclose criminal records, too.
Vermont strictly enforces the seven-year window that they allow these background checks to encompass.
How Do I Run a Vermont Background Check?
Running background checks in the state of Vermont are (generally) pretty simple and straightforward.
As highlighted above, criminal background checks are going to need to be run through the Vermont Criminal Conviction Record Internet Service.
These records are maintained by the Vermont Department of Public Safety, include information related to both misdemeanor and felony crimes, and cover arrest records, indictments, and convictions or dismissals/acquittals.
Each individual background request will cost $30 (nonrefundable) regardless of whether or not any background check information was returned after the search has been made.
Inmate records are going to be available through the Vermont Department of Corrections,” records will either be handled by the local county clerk’s office or the VT Courts Online platform administered by the Vermont Judiciary.
Vital records are always going to be provided by the Vermont Department of Health. Accounts can be created on the platform free of charge.
How Long Does It Take to Run a Vermont Background Check?
As a general rule of thumb, it takes anywhere between five days and seven days (business days) for background checks in the state of Vermont to be completed successfully.
Some background checks take a little longer than that (as not common for in-depth checks to take two weeks or more), but many are completed even faster than five business days, too.
All in all, though, seven business days is probably a good estimate for how long it’ll take your Vermont background checks to come back.
How Much Do Background Checks in Vermont Cost?
Vermont background checks have different pricing structures depending on the type of check that is being run.
Instant Vermont criminal background checks, for example, are going to cost $30.
Instant National Criminal Background Checks, however, can cost $60 or more – and Vermont criminal background checks broken down by county will cost $25 apiece.
Those that want to run background checks on the Vermont Sex Offender Registry won’t have to pay anything, though. These kinds of checks are available totally free of charge and can be accessed 100% online, too.
Are There Background Checks for Firearms in Vermont?
Vermont has the same federal laws for firearm transfers that every other state in the country has when it comes to background checks.
If an individual wants to purchase a firearm from a Federal Firearms License dealer they are going to have to first complete Form 4473. This form is then submitted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and the FBI handles the background check from there.
The whole process (usually) takes anywhere between five minutes and 10 minutes, though it’s possible for an individual to have their background check delayed for a variety of different reasons. In those situations, the cases bumped up to an individual NICS supervisor that takes a closer look at the background information being returned.
From there background checks can be delayed for up to three days before the firearm is legally able to be transferred to the individual purchasing.
Vermont is also what is known as a “Constitutional Carry” state that does not require any licensing or permitting to purchase, own, possess, or conceal firearms. Vermont is the only state in the country that has always had Constitutional Carry, too.
Because there are no firearms licenses to be had in the state of Vermont there are no background checks necessary to own, purchase, or possess (or to carry, concealed or otherwise) firearms throughout this state.
What About Vermont Driving Records?
A driving record checks in Vermont is going to be handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles headquartered in Montpelier.
Individuals and organizations looking to run a driving background check on themselves or someone else are going to have to request these driving records through the online form or by visiting that Montpelier office directly.
Form VG 116 has to be filled out and completed before these requests can be made. The form is available online as well as at any Vermont DMV.
A certified three-year operating record is going to cost $14 per record, and a certified copy of a complete operating record will cost $20.
Individuals and organizations can also request a copy of a driver’s license application ($8), individual crash reports ($12), copies of registration applications ($8), and a list of title records ($119).
Can I Search Vermont Sex Offender Records?
Vermont sex offender records are available to anyone and everyone (not just in the state of Vermont, either) and are fully searchable online.
All one has to do is visit www.vcic.vermont.gov to access the Vermont Crime Information Center that houses the sex offender registry.
This registry was established in 1996, giving local and state law enforcement agencies the opportunity to share and provide information regarding sex offenders and sex criminals not only with each other but also with the public in general.
Local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies can access this information, as can all state and federal government agencies.
Employers (including school district employers) that are authorized by law can also request records and information from the sex offender registry here.
Any person that identifies as a sex offender in the registry can also review their own records.
How Do I Get Credit History During a Background Check?
When it comes to credit history background checks, all of those are going to be handled by the major credit reporting bureaus that are responsible for maintaining this information in the first place. The state of Vermont has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with these kinds of records.
Instead, individuals and organizations that are looking for more information regarding their financial history or the financial history and creditworthiness of a job applicant are going to need to contact Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion directly and request that information.
All of these requests, however, in the information that is uncovered during these searches will need to adhere to the rules, regulations, and federal laws mandated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
These laws require employers to request permission (in writing) from potential employees to access this info in the first place. On top of that, these kinds of background checks can only be made after a conditional offer of employment has been made.
If an employer uses any of the information they find as a result of a background check governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act they have to share that with a job applicant, too.
Not only that, but they also have to provide either a copy of the information that they are using to make a hiring decision or they have to point the job applicant in the right direction for where they can find that information for themselves.
At the end of the day though, as highlighted above, there isn’t a whole lot that the state of Vermont or any of their background check departments has to do with this kind of information.
This information is only ever going to be able to be provided by the major credit reporting bureaus that we mentioned just a moment ago. That’s where those background checks need to initiate from.