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Background Checks in Nevada

Table of Contents

Need more information? Check out our guides to Nevada arrest records and Nevada public records.


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 Nevada?

Unlike many other states, the Nevada State Government does not have a searchable online database of criminal records, however, you can request a copy of your Nevada Criminal History Record Information by submitting an application to the Nevada Department of Public Safety. The state does not allow you to request the record of another person. Each request requires you to pay a $27 fee.

Follow these steps to request and receive a copy of your Nevada Criminal History Record Information:

  1. Complete the Identification File Request for Nevada Records of Criminal History Form. Note that you must complete one form per request and that multiple family members cannot use the same form. 
  2. Have your fingerprints taken on the official fingerprint card FD-258 by a certified fingerprint technician at a local law enforcement agency office. All ten fingerprints must be taken simultaneously. Fill out the rest of the card with your personal information. You must pay a fee of $27 for the service (or $40.25 if you are performing an FBI criminal record check, as well). Copies of the card will not be accepted.
  3. Prepare a certified check or money order in the amount of $27 made out to the “Nevada Department of Public Safety”. If you are making a record request for multiple family members, you may use the same check or money order: add $27 for each additional request.
  4. Staple the Request Form, the fingerprint card, and the payment together.
  5. Mail or submit in person all the necessary documents to the following address:

Department of Public Safety

Records, Communications and Compliance Division

333 West Nye Lane Suite 100

Carson City, Nevada 89706

Please wait 6 weeks for the request to be processed. You will receive either a State Positive Record Response letter, along with the Criminal History Record Information, or a State Negative Record Response letter meaning that no record was found. 

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

If your Nevada Criminal History Record has inaccurate or incomplete information, there is an official process for challenging the mistake. Follow these steps:

  1. Complete the Request for Challenge form and the Statement of Inaccuracy included with the form. Include the details of the arrest in the statement, such as the date, charges, case number, etc.
  2. Gather any supporting documents you have that offer proof against the inaccuracy. These may include an arrest report or court disposition. 
  3. Have your fingerprints taken on an official fingerprint card FD-258 (the same card necessary for a Criminal History Record Information request) by a licensed fingerprint technician at a law enforcement agency office. Fill out the fingerprint card with your personal information. 
  4. Mail the form, statement, fingerprint card, and any supporting documentation you have to the following address:

Nevada Department of Public Safety 

Records, Communications and Compliance

Criminal Records Unit

333 West Nye Lane Suite 100

Carson City, Nevada 89706

After the Request to Challenge has been submitted, please give up to 90 days for the request to be reviewed. If you have any questions regarding the challenge contact the Criminal Records Unit at (7750 687-0196, or via email at [email protected].

How do I search Nevada court records?

All court cases filed in the Supreme Court of Nevada are accessible to the public through the Find a Case search tool. Users can search by case or by participant, and the more information put in, the better the search results will be. You must have a PDF viewer to view court records.

Court documents originating in a lower Nevada court may not be available in the database. To find these court records, you must contact the individual court that held the case. Visit the Nevada Judiciary website and scroll down to the Find a Court map for individual court contact information.   

Where can I find Nevada driving records online? 

Viewing and printing a Nevada driving record online can be done through the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles website. Individuals have the choice of a 3-year or 10-year record, and the fee for both is $8, which can be paid with a major credit or debit card. The driving record must be printed at the time of purchase.

How can I obtain a Nevada driving record in-person?

If you don’t have a printer, a Nevada driving record may also be obtained in-person through a self-service kiosk located at larger DMV offices and certain private locations. The fee is $9, which includes a $1 processing fee. 

Additionally, a Nevada driving record can be obtained from a clerk at any full-service DMV office.  

How can I obtain a Nevada driving record through the mail?

Another option is requesting a Nevada driving record through the mail. Complete the following steps in order to submit a request:

  1. Complete an Application for Individual Record Information.
  2. Prepare a check or money order of $8 payable to “DMV” (or $13 if requesting a certified copy).
  3. Mail the application and payment to:

DMV Records Section

555 Wright Way

Carson City, NV 89711-0250 

How do I look up Nevada 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 Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Vital Records recommends individuals use Vital Chek, a private company, 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

Records are also available through Nevada County Clerks offices. Click here for contact information for vital record offices located throughout Nevada. 

For more information, contact the Office of Vital Records at [email protected] or (775) 684-4242.

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

An individual in Nevada that is convicted of a sex-related crime or a crime against children is mandated by law to register as a sex offender. For the safety of its visitors and residents, the Nevada Department of Public Safety makes the entire Nevada Sex Offender Registry available online for public viewing.  

The website offers three search options:

  • Name search – Search for offenders by first and last name
  • Vehicle search – Search offenders by vehicle license plate
  • Geographical Search – Type in an address to view sex offenders residing within a certain geographical radius

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

Purchasing a firearm is one situation that almost always mandates a background check. While there are federal laws regarding background checks that apply to every U.S. state, each state also has its own specific background check laws that dealers and purchasers must comply with. 

These are the most important Nevada laws and procedures regarding firearm purchase background checks. 

  • Federal law states that licensed firearms dealers in all 50 states, including those in Nevada, are required to perform a background check prior to selling a firearm.
  • Nevada is a point of contact state for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database. This means that licensed firearms dealers in Nevada must contact the Nevada Department of Public Safety before transferring a firearm. The NDPS will then perform a background check using the NICS database, in addition to state and local databases. 
  • A recent law effective January 2, 2020, requires private sellers to process firearm transactions through a federally licensed dealer in order to make certain that a background check is performed on the purchaser. 
  • Those in possession of a state permit to possess firearms or a concealed carry permit are exempt from the federal background check requirement. 

Source: Giffords Law Center

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

Performing a credit check in Nevada 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