Background Checks - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

The most commonly asked questions are answered below about how to request a criminal record background check from the SBI and who is eligible to get one. 

Background Check on Yourself

Q. How can I obtain my criminal history record information in North Carolina?

A: A name-based public record check may be obtained by contacting the Clerk of Court in each county where you have resided in North Carolina. The information is also available online through different vendors. Name-based public record checks and online vendors providing the information are not associated with the State Bureau of Investigation.

A fingerprint-based criminal history background check is available as a Right to Review which is conducted by the SBI and includes a response letter on SBI letterhead. For instructions and further information, view how to submit a Right to Review request. (Form is available in two formats on this forms page.)

Background Check on Others

Q: How do I obtain criminal history record information on someone else?

A: Court information in North Carolina is public record and that information may be obtained by contacting the Clerk of Court in the county of residence. There are also many private companies that buy North Carolina court information and furnish it online.

Background Check on Employees

Q: My agency is allowed by North Carolina General Statute to obtain criminal history background checks from the SBI. Who do I contact to get started?

A: Here's how the process works.

Step One — Contact the SBI Applicant Unit by email or by phone (919) 582-8660. You must clearly identify the North Carolina General Statute that you wish to use. A packet of information with an access agreement will be mailed to you to complete, all of which is required by the SBI to process your request.

Step Two — Gather the required information and mail the packet back to the SBI with attention to the Special Processing Coordinator. Return address information is contained within the original packet of information.

Q: What are the different methods used in obtaining criminal history background checks by the SBI for agencies?

A. The first method is the State Name Check. This is a name-based identification. The second method is the State Fingerprint Check. This is a fingerprint-based search of only North Carolina criminal history records. The third method is a National Fingerprint Check. This is also a fingerprint-based search which is a nationwide search of the FBI's criminal history records.

These options are not public record. To obtain any of these options there must be a North Carolina General Statute in place and an access agreement must be signed and on file at the SBI.

Q: What information will I receive on my employees/applicants if I do a criminal history background check with the SBI?

A: The only records maintained at the SBI are those supported by fingerprints. Once an individual is arrested and fingerprinted, the fingerprints are then forwarded to the SBI and entered into the Computerized Criminal History database along with the arrest information.

Q: I am trying to become licensed as a doctor or nurse and I need to inquire about the status of my criminal history background check. How do I do this?

A: You must contact the appropriate state licensing agency. Please do not contact the SBI for a status check.

Ordering Fingerprint Cards

Q: How do I obtain fingerprint cards for a non-criminal justice agency that has an access agreement with the SBI?

A: Fill out the Non-Criminal Justice Requisition Form and email it directly to us. (Form is available in two formats.) You may also fax it to us at our mailing address:

NC State Bureau of Investigation Criminal Information and Identification Section
Attn: Technical Unit
Post Office Box 29500
Raleigh, N.C. 27626-0500
Fax: (919) 661-4890

Q. How can I get fingerprint cards for my Scout Troop or children's club?

A. Follow the same procedure from the previous answer. Fill out the Non-Criminal Justice Requisition Form and send it to us by email or fax. (Form is available in two formats.)

Identity Theft Victims 

Q: I believe someone has used my personal identifying information (e.g., name or Social Security number). I was told by a prospective employer that I have a criminal record, but I have never been arrested. What can I do?

A: If you were told that you have a criminal record that was obtained from a Clerk of Court or the public record, you must contact the Administrative Office of the Courts for further information.

If you learned you have criminal record that was obtained from an internet site or online vendor, you must contact that site or online vendor for further information.

If you have been informed that you have a criminal record that was obtained from the SBI, you may request the SBI to perform a check to verify the record. If you feel this may be an identity theft issue, please send the SBI a copy of your driver's license, a copy of your Social Security card, a copy of your birth certificate, a letter stating your situation, and your telephone number including the area code. Along with this personal identifying data, you will need to submit a set of your fingerprints.

Contact your local sheriff's office or police department for applicant fingerprinting procedures for identification purposes. Please mail these documents to the attention of the following:

NC State Bureau of Investigation
Criminal Information and Identification Section
Attn: Technical Function Coordinator
Post Office Box 29500
Raleigh, N.C. 27626-0500

A fingerprint search will be performed along with a computerized criminal history inquiry to determine whether or not a criminal history record exists. If there is no criminal record in the state files, the SBI will issue a letter on official letterhead to you stating that you do not have a criminal record with the SBI. The copies of the documents you provided will be returned to you.

Q: I believe someone is using my personal information to obtain loans or credit cards. Who can I contact about this?

A: There are three things you should do: File a police report. Close the affected accounts. Contact one of the three major credit bureaus and ask for their Fraud Department and place a fraud alert on your credit file.

You may also request a Security Freeze on your credit. Report possible financial identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission online. You may also call the FTC at (877) 438-4338.