How to Get a Federal Background Check on Yourself

Organizations will have to do their homework on you as a standard practice to see whether or not you pass their standards. In fact, according to a survey by, 96% of employers run a background check on potential candidates. 

The last thing you want is for those organizations to turn you down because something showed up on a background check that you are not ready to answer.

When applying for a job, you should never be caught off guard just because you’re not aware whether or not you have an existing bad record or not. 

Knowing how to get a federal background check on yourself is one of the most important things you need to know and do to give yourself a better chance of success with whatever you’re putting yourself forward for.

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Federal Background Check: Defined

A federal background check is also known as a criminal background check. These checks search across 94 federal US district and appellate courts to uncover convictions and pending cases of federal crimes.

The federal background check also covers crimes against federal employees, like TSA agents and forest rangers, crimes involving banks, and those committed on federal land.

You can do the check yourself or use a third-party service.

The Types Crimes that Appear on a Federal Background Check

  • Identity theft: A crime where someone uses another person’s personal information without permission, usually to commit fraud. It can include things like their name or Social Security number.
  • Kidnapping: Abducting an individual and holding them in captivity against their will.
  • Tax evasion: Trying to avoid taxes through illegal means
  • Counterfeiting– Creating knockoff or fake currency.
  • Interstate trafficking: The unlawful bringing of goods, often controlled substances, across inter-states.
  • Embezzlement: Stealing something of value from its rightful owner without their consent.

Ways to Run a Federal Background Check On Yourself?

Check agency websites

If you want to do a federal background check on yourself, you can go to each agency’s website and look for their public information, or you can hire a company specializing in this type of search to do it for you.

Keep in mind that not all companies have access to the same information. Some companies may have access to more information than others.

You should also be aware that some companies charge for this service and others do not. It just depends on what company you use and what services they offer.

Below are some examples of agencies where you can find public information.

The National Archives: The National Archives holds records from every single federal agency, including the following:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation: The Federal Bureau of Investigation holds criminal information for every person in the US, including arrest records and criminal convictions.
  • Department of Justice: The Department of Justice has several databases that track arrests, convictions, prison sentences, immigration offenses, and more.
  • Homeland Security: US Citizenship and Immigration Services collects fingerprints from all immigrants so they can determine their eligibility to work in the US. The results of those fingerprints are available in the FBI’s database.
  • Social Security Administration: Everyone in the US will have a social security number that the SSA monitors. If you have a social security number, chances are you will be in their database.

The best way to find out what’s in your federal background check is to go directly through one of these agencies and do a search yourself.

State jurisdictions and local records

To complete a full federal background check, one must search through state and local records as well.

It is because the federal government does not have jurisdiction over everything.

For example, if someone was arrested for DUI, that DUI would be noted in the state and local databases but not necessarily in the federal database. 

The only way to be absolutely sure that you have searched through all relevant databases is to explore both state and local records in addition to the federal databases.

Try searching for FBI records

Another way to do a background check on yourself is to search for FBI records.

The FBI maintains a database of criminal records, so if you have any skeletons in your closet, this is likely where they’ll be hiding.

To access the database, simply go to the FBI’s website and request a copy of your personal record or, as they say, a rap sheet.

There is a fee of around $18 per name, but it’s worth knowing that you’re entirely in the clear.

Invest in a third party service

If you need more time to try and tap these services manually, you can always utilize third-party services for a fee.

Here are a few examples of companies that offer federal background check services: is an online platform aggregating paid and free resources to conduct background checks.

Through its comprehensive database of public records and information, you can quickly run a complete search for any criminal record that may be present in your name. is another popular background check provider that offers access to local, state, and federal public records databases.

They have a user-friendly interface and affordable pricing, so it’s a great choice if you want quick and reliable results from your search.

US Search

US Search is another popular option for those looking to run a federal background check on themselves. They offer comprehensive and up-to-date criminal records databases.

With billions of records in their database, you can trust that they’ll be able to find any relevant information in your name. takes its source from 120 billion records. With a variety of background check options, including criminal, driving, and education records.

Guideline For Requesting and Applying for a Federal Background Search

Application Information Form

Fill up the necessary Applicant Information Form depending on the agency you’re applying to.

Get your fingerprints taken

With today’s advanced technology, biometrics will play a key role in determining your background.

Biometric data will help zero in on information strictly related to your profile.

Pay the agency or third-party service fees

Be prepared to pay the application and background check fees. It usually ranges from $18-$100, depending on which service you’re using.

Review documentation

Ensure that everything in your record is accurate. If there are any discrepancies or omissions in your record, take steps to correct them right away.

After completing the application and payment process, you can expect to receive a notification and your official background check report.

As you can see, the steps are relatively straightforward and do not require particular expertise or training.

With the right resources and patience, you can quickly and easily conduct a federal background check on yourself and uncover any potential red flags that might be lurking in your past.


Though conducting a federal background check on yourself may seem challenging, the reality is it’s pretty simple.

With the right resources, you can quickly and easily access all the relevant information you need about your current and past self.

Whether you’re looking for criminal records or want to be sure that there aren’t any skeletons in your closet, a federal background search is a great way to have peace of mind.

bryan rucker
Written by Brian Williams

Brian is an expert in security, privacy, and information. He has studied background checks, criminal, people search, and such topics over the last 5 years. He is also an avid writer and enjoys sharing his knowledge through this blog. Read more of Brian's articles.