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 Wisconsin?
The general public can use the Wisconsin Online Record Check System (WORCS) to perform a name-based criminal background check on anyone. The results will yield any Wisconsin arrest records and other criminal history information in that person’s name.
Here’s some basic information about WORCS:
- One search of the Wisconsin database costs $7. A certified result copy of the criminal record can be purchased for an additional $5.
- Name-based searches require the following fields to be filled out: Last Name, First Initial, and Date of Birth OR Last Name, First Initial, and Social Security Number.
- Users can register in order to make payments directly from a billing account.
What can I do if my Washington criminal history record has incomplete or inaccurate information?
If your Wisconsin criminal history record contains an error or incomplete information, you can issue a challenge by submitting the following items to the Wisconsin CIB:
- A filled out and signed copy of a Wisconsin Criminal History Challenge form. Be sure to give a detailed explanation of the mistake on the form.
- A full set of fingerprints on an official fingerprint card. Fingerprinting can be done at a local police department or sheriff’s office.
- Any supporting documentation in your possession that provides proof that the arrest record contains an error.
Mail these items to:
Crime Information Bureau
P.O. Box 2718
Madison, WI 53701-2718
How do I search for Wisconsin court records online?
Individuals can search for Wisconsin court records using the Case Search tool provided by the Wisconsin Court System.
The service is free-to-use and includes three main options:
- Wisconsin Circuit Court Access – Allows users to search Wisconsin circuit court records of participating counties. The main options include searching by name or case number.
- Wisconsin Supreme Court Table of Pending Cases – A directory of upcoming cases Supreme Court cases.
- Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Case Access – Allows individuals to check the status of appeals filed with the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals.
If the record you are looking for cannot be found online, the best option is to directly contact the court clerk of the court where the case originated and make a request to view the record. Click here for a directory of Wisconsin courts.
Where can I find Wisconsin driving records online?
Wisconsin residents can purchase a copy of their driving record online using a service provided by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The cost is $5 per record. You must have a Wisconsin driver’s license or ID card to use the service.
The following is required to order a copy of your driving record online:
- Wisconsin driver’s license number or ID card number OR social security number.
- A valid debit or credit card.
Click here to make a request.
If you have any questions about the service, send an email or call 608-264-7447.
How do I obtain Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin Vital Records Office at [email protected] or 608-266-1373.
How do I search for a person’s sex offender status in Wisconsin?
Those convicted of sex-related crimes or certain crimes against children in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin Department of Corrections makes the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry available online to the general public in the interest of public safety. Users may search by name, city, or area. However, certain low-risk offenders may not be viewable in the online database.
Click here to perform a search of the Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin?
Performing a credit check in Wisconsin 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