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Under The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Title 5 of the United States Code, section 552, any person has the right to request access to public records: criminal records, arrests & warrants, inmate records, vital records & more.

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Instant Background Check Information

An instant background check is the process of looking up the criminal, financial, and commercial records of a person to check his trustworthiness or the veracity of the personal information provided by him/her. An instant background check on an unknown person or someone who seems dubious is an assured way to ensure that you are not inviting legal trouble or endangering yourself or your family when you hire a new employee, let your premises to a tenant, or go out on a date with a chance acquaintance. Instant background checks are also carried out by law enforcement officers to draw up suspect lists while investigations are underway or to keep watch on suspicious individuals.


Where to Conduct an Instant Background Check


An instant background check can be done by accessing criminal records stored at the offices of local government agencies like the Police Department, the Department of Corrections, the Sheriff’s offices, and the courthouses. You may also visit the local offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), their contact details to be found on the website, to request instant background checks. Instant background check information is also available online on the respective websites of these offices either absolutely free or by registering for a specific fee.

The FBI maintains and regularly updates the national criminal history database through its arm, the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). The website,, features arrest records, outstanding arrest information, details on stolen property, missing persons, and details about persons convicted of misdemeanors and felonies.


National Instant Criminal Background Check System


The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is utilized by the FBI to check the credentials of potential firearm buyers and issue possession rights accordingly. Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) have to get in touch with the NICS division or fill out the online ATF Form 4473, at, to request for background information of a buyer.

The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) is a central repository of fingerprints and criminal history information. You can visit their site to submit a background check request based on a set of fingerprints. The response time is quick: two hours for governmental agencies who have submitted criminal ten-print records and 24 hours for civilians.

The National Driver Register, maintained and supervised by the Department of Transportation, stocks information on the suspended and revoked driving licenses of all drivers registered in the US. A visit to their web site is absolutely necessary when you have hired a new chauffeur or have employed new drivers at your transportation company. You may request a check of the driver’s license by filling out the form available on

The Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW),, features information on registered sex offenders. Check the background details of a new neighbor, your new nanny, or your daughter’s new friend to ensure that you and your family members are safe.

There are also numerous commercial web sites that stock databases of criminal records and where you can perform an instant background check. But, it is always a good idea to rely on the search reports originating from a governmental source. In USA, most criminal records are made public and instant background checks are encouraged as safety precautions.

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