Search public records

Background Checks in North Carolina

Table of Contents

Need more information? Check out our guides to North Carolina arrest records and North Carolina 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 North Carolina?

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety provides a free-to-use Offender Search to the general public that includes information on state prison inmates and parolees in the state. Results include personal information on the subject, as well as offense and sentencing information. 

However, if an individual wants to perform a Certified Criminal Record search, the results of which will include arrest records and other criminal history information, they should fill out and submit a Request For Certified Record Search form to the Clerk of Superior Court in their county of residence. 

Only the records of the specified county will be searched upon the submission of the form. Furthermore, juvenile records will not be provided in the search results. 

Click here to find your local court’s contact information. 

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

If your arrest record or criminal history record contains inaccurate or incomplete information you can contact the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation at 919-662-4509 for advice on how to have the information corrected.

Another option is to contact the Clerk of Court in the county where the arrest took place. Click here for the contact information of every court in North Carolina. 

How do I search North Carolina court records?

North Carolina court records cannot be accessed online from a remote location. 

To view criminal and civil trial court records in the state, you should visit the nearest clerk of court’s office and use a public, self-service terminal

The public access terminals allow users to search for cases by the following methods:

  • Case number
  • Victim or witness name
  • Defendant name

Additionally, individuals can request paper copies of court records at the clerk of court’s office in the county that held the case. 

Click here for the contact information of all North Carolina courts. 

Where can I find North Carolina driving records online? 

North Carolina driving records can be ordered online through the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles. The fee for one non-certified driving record ordered online is $10 and the record is made available in PDF format. 

In order to request a North Carolina driving record online, you must have the following:

  • A valid North Carolina driver’s license or state ID card
  • A social security number 
  • A PDF viewer to view a non-certified record on your computer
  • A major credit or debit card

Additionally, North Carolina driving records can be requested through the mail or in-person by delivering the appropriate form and payment to the following address:

NCDMV Headquarters

1100 New Bern Avenue

Raleigh, NC 27697

How do I look up North Carolina 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 North Carolina Vital Records Office 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 North Carolina Vital Records Office at 919-733-300.

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

Those convicted of sex-related crimes or certain crimes against children in North Carolina 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 North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation makes the North Carolina 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina?

Performing a credit check in North Carolina 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