Russell Hebets March 7, 2018

Background checks are something we don’t think about every day but they are an important part of a number of activities we participate in. Whether it’s job-hunting, travel, or applying for certain privileges, your criminal history follows you and a background check is a great way to know exactly what that history is so you are never surprised.

Who Checks?

Most of us know that if you apply for a job, there is a good chance you will have your criminal history examined. In addition, many times when applying for any gun privileges, like a purchase or a concealed carry license, you will be subject to a background check. We are also subject to background checks for our drivers permits. A criminal history that involves serious driving issues like DUIs may affect your driving privileges. You may have a background check run if you apply to rent a place, too. However, you may be surprised to know that your criminal history could also interfere with travel.

Travel and Your Criminal Record

Many countries like Canada have strict entry guidelines. For example, Canada considers a DUI to be a major offense and may bar you from entry if you have one. One of the best ways to insure that you have no issues traveling is to have an actual copy of your FBI background check. This will allow you to clarify any questions that come up at Border Security and furthermore can allow you to consult with an attorney about your travel options and possibly seal some things on your record or obtain waivers before you go so they do not become a bigger issue.

Sealing Your Record

Another use for a background check is to review your past with an attorney and see if any of the charges on your record can be sealed. If an item can be sealed then you would not have to worry about disclosing it when asked. That can open up many more opportunities. In Colorado, charges that were dismissed, cases that were resolved with a not guilty at trial, cases resolved with a deferred judgment, and juvenile cases can usually be sealed. However, DUIs, cases with a final plea of guilty, and several other types of cases cannot be sealed. You can learn more about sealing your case here:

How to Check

Colorado residents can check their history through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation Records Check . This costs $6.85 and delivers instant results to your email. If you are a lifelong resident or are certain you do not have a record in any other state, this is the fastest and cheapest option for background information.

A more thorough nationwide check can be done through the FBI here: .This process is more complex and requires a fingerprint card from you. However the cost is only $18 and if you choose electronic processing you can see results in 3-5 days. If you opt to do this by mail then the results may take 14-16 weeks.

Why Bother?

Having a copy of your own background check gives you the upper hand. You won’t be surprised by any inquiries, you have documentation when you travel for any issues that come up with border enforcement, and you have an opportunity to review your past for any items that can be sealed and removed from mention, allowing you to pursue better opportunities for work and living.

If you have life changing events in your future, taking advantage of this inexpensive and accessible process can help you prepare for any possibility and even prevent serious issues from interfering with your plans.