Today, background checks are a common aspect of the application process, whether you’re applying for an apartment, a job, professional licensure, or United States citizenship. In Nevada, background checks are legal, although some laws limit how information may be obtained and used. But what exactly are background checks, what’s included in them, how long do they take, and why are background checks necessary in the immigration process? We explain below.
What Is a Background Check?
When a prospective employer or landlord, licensing body, governmental body, or other organization screens or investigates your consumer, criminal, and personal history, this is known as a background check. Many businesses use independent reporting agencies that will investigate the requester.
What Is Included in a Background Check?
While the specifics of your background check will be determined by the individual or organization conducting the investigation, the majority of background checks include the following information:
- Legal information: Information related to non-criminal legal matters, including driving records, registrations, insurance claim records, legal name changes, and civil court judgments, including evictions.
- Identification information: Information that verifies your identity, including birth and marriage certificates, divorce decrees, social security records, immigration records, and current and past addresses.
- Financial information: Information about your finances, including your credit history, banking and investment records, property holdings, and bankruptcy records.
- Educational background: Information related to your educational experience to confirm your education and credentials, including dates of attendance, degrees, and professional licenses or certifications earned.
- Employment history: Information about your work history, including current and former employers, internships and fellowships, and work-study programs.
- Criminal history: Information about your criminal record, if you have one, including any unsealed misdemeanor or felony convictions, sex offender status, incarcerations, parole or probation status, child abuse and neglect records, and pending arrests.
Why Would I Submit to a Background Check?
A background check is required when applying for United States citizenship, for employment with federal, state, or local governments, for positions in which you’ll work with children or vulnerable populations, for employment in specific industries, and when you’re purchasing a firearm. Other employers, landlords and property managers, and licensing entities like the Nevada Gaming Control Board may include a background check in their application process.
Why Are Background Checks Important for Immigration Purposes?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts background and security checks on applicants to ensure that only eligible individuals receive immigration benefits, that the applicant is of good moral character, and that the information provided by the applicant is accurate. The USCIS is committed to preventing anyone who poses a threat to the U.S. and its citizens from immigrating to the country.
Most applicants are subject to background and security checks that must be carried out and completed before the applicant is scheduled for their naturalization interview.
What Is the Background Check Process?
The first step in a background check is to verify a person’s identity using the information they provide, including their legal name, social security number, and date of birth. Next is a search of various public and government databases and court records. Some standard organizations and agencies that provide information are the Department of Motor Vehicles, sex offender registries, and county and district courts. Finally, references, family members, current and former employers, and colleagues will be contacted to verify any additional information requested.
The background check process for immigration purposes is more complex. Led by USCIS, the immigration background check involves obtaining fingerprints and working with the Federal Bureau of Investigations to conduct a name check. The name check is an advanced security and criminal history check via multiple government agencies’ databases. Finally, the Treasury Enforcement Communications System searches using your biographical information and checks for any aliases and prior names, warrants, and whether you have been added to the “no-fly” list.
How Long Does a Background Check Take?
It depends on the reason for the background check. Most background checks, such as employment, housing, and firearm purchase, take less than two weeks. Background checks for professional licensure can take up to a month, while background checks for immigration purposes can take up to six months.
Can I Request a Background Check on Myself?
You can run a background check on yourself if you’re curious about what other people might find when they look up your name on the internet, check to see if it appears in any local or national criminal and sex offender databases, and run a trace on your social security number. Another option is paying a third-party company like GoodHire or Intelius to run a background check.
Is Drug Testing Included in a Background Check?
Typically, drug tests are only conducted in employment background checks. Employee drug testing is legal in Nevada as long as the rules for the test are applied equally to all candidates, the test is done in a way that protects applicants’ privacy, and any disability-related prescription medications are considered.
How Can De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers Help You?
The skilled immigration lawyers at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers can assist you or a loved one who is worried about what might be found in a background check or wants help applying for citizenship and naturalization. We have been providing dependable, knowledgeable, and dedicated immigration law representation for more than 25 years, assisting with everything from an adjustment of status to family immigration, processing immigrant visas, and deportation proceedings.
Use our online contact form or call 702-996-3779 to contact one of our skilled immigration law attorneys. We have several convenient locations, including downtown Las Vegas, to make it easier for our customers to reach us.