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 Virginia?
While many states have official online search tools for conducting criminal background checks that are available to the public, the process of obtaining a criminal record check in Virginia is a bit more complicated and requires that you have your fingerprints taken on an official fingerprint card to be submitted to the Virginia State Police.
Follow these steps to obtain a Virginia criminal history record check:
- Visit the Virginia State Police Headquarters at 7700 Midlothian Turnpike, North Chesterfield, VA 23235 (or another participating State Police location) to have your fingerprints taken on an official fingerprint card. The price is $10.
- Visit this page and fill in your personal information to print out an SP-167 request form to be mailed to the Virginia State Police.
- Mail the SP-167 request form, fingerprint card, and payment (if applicable) to the following address:
Virginia State Police
P.O. Box 27472
Richmond, VA 23261
If you have any questions about the process, contact the VSP at 804-674-2000.
What can I do if my Virginia criminal history record has incomplete or inaccurate information?
If your Virginia criminal record has incorrect or incomplete information, the Virginia State Police recommends that you contact the agency responsible for the arrest for instructions on how to have the information corrected.
How do I search for Virginia court records online?
Virginia court records can be searched using the new Online Case Information System 2.0 provided by the Virginia Judiciary.
Here’s some key information about the system:
- Users have the option of searching all Virginia courts or selecting a specific court
- Searches can be performed by Name, Case Number, or Hearing Date
- Right now, only searches of the Criminal/Traffic division can be done
Click here to perform a search using the Online Case Information System 2.0.
Where can I find Virginia driving records online?
Individuals can order a copy of their Virginia driving record online using the DMV Now service provided by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
In order to use the service you must provide the following information:
- Driver’s license number or social security number
- Date of birth
Additionally, driving records be requested by visiting a customer service center, presenting valid identification, and paying the fee or by mailing in a completed Information Request Form and the appropriate payment in the form a check to:
Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
Attention: Vehicle (Driver) Records Work Center
P. O. Box 27412
Richmond, VA 23269
How do I obtain Virginia 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 Virginia 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 Virginia Department of Health, Office of Vital Records at 804-662-6200.
How do I search for a person’s sex offender status in Virginia?
Those convicted of sex-related crimes or certain crimes against children in Virginia 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 Virginia State Police makes the Virginia Sex Offender Registry available online to the general public in the interest of public safety. Users may search by name, city, area, or school. However, certain low-risk offenders may not be viewable in the online database.
Click here to perform a search of the Virginia 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 Virginia?
Performing a credit check in Virginia 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
- Date of birth
- Social security number