Background Checks in Minnesota

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 Minnesota?

Minnesota offense records, conviction records, and other criminal history record information are public and can be searched online using the Minnesota Public Criminal History Search provided by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

Here’s some information on the Minnesota Public Criminal History Search:

  • The search is free-to-use.
  • No registration is required to use the search.
  • Required search fields include Last Name, First Name, and Date of Birth.
  • The database includes offense, conviction, and sentencing information from the past 15 years. 
  • The database does not include juvenile records, criminal history information from other states, or federal criminal history information. 

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

If your Minnesota criminal history record found using the Minnesota Public Criminal History Search provided by the BCA has incomplete or inaccurate information, there is an official way to challenge the information and have it corrected.

Follow these steps to submit a challenge:

  1. Have your fingerprints taken on an official fingerprint card at a local law enforcement agency in order for the BCA to compare them with those on record. 
  2. Highlight the inaccurate or incomplete information on the criminal record.
  3. Write a note explaining your challenge and why you believe the information to be inaccurate.
  4. Mail the written note, copy of the record with the mistake highlighted, and the fingerprint card to:

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

Minnesota Justice Information Services

ATTN: Record Change

1430 Maryland Ave E

St. Paul MN 55106

After the BCA receives the challenge, they will flag the record and conduct a review to examine the record’s accuracy within 30 days. If the BCA determines that the record has a mistake, they will fix the error.

How do I search for Minnesota court records online?

The Minnesota Judicial Branch provides two online search tools for looking up court records that are available to the general public.

  • P-MACS – Allows individuals to search Minnesota Supreme Court and Court of Appeals records from March 2003 on. 
  • Minnesota Trial Court Public Access (MPA) Remote View – Allows users to search for records from all the district courts in the state, including the following:
    • Civil case records
    • Family & probate case records
    • Court judgments
    • Criminal Case records
    • Traffic case records
    • Petty case records

Where can I find Minnesota driving records online? 

Minnesota driving records can not be obtained online. Instead, individuals may request their own driving record or the record of another person (with provided consent) in person at a Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services branch office or by mailing in a request to the DVS Records Unit

How to request a Minnesota driving record in person

If you choose to request a driving record in person, you must: 

Click here to find the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services branch office nearest you. 

How to request a Minnesota driving record by mail

  1. Complete and sign a DVS Record Request Form. If you are requesting the record of another person, you must attach their written consent on the form.
  2. Prepare a check or money order payable to “Driver & Vehicle Services” for the appropriate fee (fee amounts are included on the form)
  3. Make a copy of your driver’s license or government-issued ID card.
  4. Mail the complete form, payment, and photo ID copy to:

Driver and Vehicle Services Records Unit 

445 Minnesota St., Suite 161

St. Paul, MN 55101-5161 

If you have any questions, you can contact the Driver and Vehicle Services Records Unit at 651-296-2940

How do I look up Minnesota 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 Minnesota Department of Health Office of Vital Records enlists the services of the third-party vendor 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. 

Available vital records include: 

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

Click here to place an order with Vital Chek

For more information, contact the Minnesota Department of Health Office of Vital Records at 651-201-5970 or by email at [email protected].

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

Those convicted of sex-related crimes or certain crimes against children in Minnesota are required by law to register as sex offenders. Additionally, offenders in the registry are required to notify law enforcement as soon as possible in the case of a physical address change or email address change, or they will be labeled “non-compliant”.

The Minnesota Department of Corrections makes the Minnesota Sex Offender Registry available online to the general public in the interest of public safety. Users may search by name, city, area, or email address/internet name. However, certain low-risk offenders may not be viewable in the online database.

Click here to perform a search of the Minnesota Sex Offender Registry. It’s important to stay informed about potential threats in your neighborhood in order to take the necessary precautions. 

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

Performing a credit check in Minnesota 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