Background Checks in Delaware

Table of Contents

What is a background check?

A background check is an investigation into an individual’s criminal record, employment history, driving record, education, finances, or other aspects of their personal history. 

Background checks are often performed by an organization or company in order to screen a subject before a significant financial or legal agreement. However, individuals regularly perform background checks on themselves to make sure that the public information on them matches their personal records.

For more general information on background checks, consult our Background Checks FAQS page.  

How do I run a criminal background check in Delaware?

Individuals can obtain a Delaware criminal background check by official means through the Delaware State Bureau of Identification (SBI). However, persons may only request a copy of their own criminal history and not a copy of another person’s criminal history by this method. 

To get a Delaware Criminal Background Check, one must visit one of three SBI locations in the state. The locations in Sussex and New Castle County require individuals to schedule an appointment in order to receive the check, whereas the Kent County office allows walk-ins. 

Visitors to the SBI office must complete and submit a Criminal History Record Check Authorization Form. Bring government-issued photo identification (a valid driver’s license or state ID) to the office and be prepared to pay a $52 fee. The fee can be paid using credit or debit cards, certified checks, company checks, money orders or cash (except in Sussex).

The results of the check will be returned as soon as possible, but do not expect to receive them on the same day. Juveniles may also acquire a criminal history background check, but they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to the SBI office. 

A State and Federal Background Check is also available at SBI offices for $65, but it must be mandated by law. 

What can I do if my Delaware criminal history record has incomplete or inaccurate information?

The Delaware Criminal History Record Check Authorization Form states that: 

“You will be given the opportunity to complete or challenge the accuracy of the information contained in the FBI criminal history record by the official to whom you have authorized this information be disseminated.”

However, no specific information is given on the challenge process. Contact the State Bureau of Identification at (302) 739-5884 for instructions on how to proceed with a challenge. 

How do I search Delaware court records?

Searching for Delaware civil case court records is made easy with the CourtConnect service hosted by the Delaware State Courts. The service is open 24-hours a day, free-of-charge. Individuals can use CourtConnect to search by a number of criteria, including:

  • Search by person name, business name, or by case type
  • Search for judgments against a business or person
  • Search by Case ID  

In addition to CourtConnect, there are a number of other online options for different types of Delaware court records. These include:

Where can I find Delaware driving records online? 

Delaware driving records can be purchased on the internet using the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles website by following these steps:

  1. Create a MyDMV account by typing in your Delaware Driver’s License or State ID number, Date of Birth, and the last four digits of your SSN or ITIN.
  2. Follow the online instructions to request a copy of a 3-year, 5-year, or full driving record
  3. Pay a $25 fee with a major debit or credit card.

How do I request a copy of my Delaware driving record through the mail, or in-person?

Through the mail

  1. Fill out a Personal Information Release Form.
  2. Get the form notarized.
  3. Prepare a check or money order for $25 payable to “Division of Motor Vehicles”
  4. Prepare a stamped, self-addressed envelope
  5. Mail the payment, envelope, and form to:

Division of Motor Vehicles

ATTN: Driver License Administration

P.O. Box 698

Dover, DE 19903

In-Person:

Visit any Delaware DMV office and request a copy of your driving record. The fee is $25

How do I look up Delaware vital records such as birth certificates and marriage licenses?

Vital records are records of important life events such as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that are kept by government agencies and accessible upon request. 

Vital records are not public records that can be viewed by anyone, but the subject(s) of the record and authorized family members can view them in-person or order copies through a number of means. Additionally, one or more vital records may be required to complete a background check. 

The Delaware Office of Vital Statistics enlists the services of the private company Vital Chek to enable individuals to order copies of vital records online. The government-endorsed service offers vital records from 50 U.S. states and territories. Individuals must pay a processing fee in addition to the total cost of the records they purchase. 

Available vital records include: 

  • birth certificates
  • death certificates
  • marriage records
  • divorce records 

Click here to place an order with Vital Chek

How do I search for a person’s sex offender status in Delaware?

As in other states, those convicted of certain sex crimes in Delaware are legally required to register with the Delaware State Government. In the interest of public safety, the Delaware Sex Offender Registry is made available online and can be used by the public in order to search for offenders. 

There are two Delaware Sex Offender Registry sites: the Delaware State Police Sex Offender Central Registry and the Delaware Nation Public Sex Offender Registry.

Both Sex Offender Registry sites allow users to:

  • Search by Name
  • Search by Geographical Area

What are the Delaware background check laws for buying a gun?

  • Delaware is not a point of contact state for background checks, meaning that a background check initiated by licensed dealers in the event of a firearm transfer is run directly through the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), rather than a local or state criminal history database. 
  • Unlicensed dealers in Delaware are required to enlist the services of a licensed dealer in order to transfer a firearm. This process requires a background check performed by the licensed dealer. 
  • Delaware hospitals and psychiatric centers are required to submit information to the NICS system according to federal law.

Source: Giffords Law Center 

How do I perform a credit history background check in Delaware?

Performing a credit check in Delaware follows the same process as in other states. A federal law known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) grants every American one free annual credit report each from the three main U.S. credit bureaus:

In order to obtain your free credit report from one of these three bureaus, you must provide the following information:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Date of birth 
  • Social security number