A California background check is the investigation of the criminal, commercial and financial records of an individual or organization. Background investigations are routinely performed by government and private agencies as part of the pre-employment screening process.

Employee background checks in California are usually conducted by a third-party company on behalf of the employer. They can include both a criminal history check as well as a look into the applicant’s DMV driving record.

How to Get a California Background Check

Individuals may obtain background check services in California by submitting a request either in person or online. Requestors applying for a criminal history check in person must fill out a Live Scan Form from the State of California Department of Justice and submit it to an authorized fingerprinting services site.

Public Live Scan Sites are located throughout the state including at most police stations and sheriff departments. To complete background checks online in CA, applicants need to only fill out a few personal details on the online form to get started, making it the more convenient option of the two.

Ordering a California Background Check Online

To conduct an online background check in CA you will need to provide a few personal details about the individual you are attempting to investigate, whether it be yourself or another person. To receive the best online background search results, make sure to provide the following types of details:

  • The subject’s first and last name.
  • The subject’s date of birth.
  • The subject’s Social Security Number.
  • The subject’s city of residence.

Who needs a background check?

Individuals may require background checks in California for a number of different reasons. In most cases, a government or private agency requests a full background check for an individual as a part of the company’s hiring process.

CA background screening companies are most often contracted by employers that work directly with vulnerable populations such as the elderly, the disabled and children. Individual citizens may order a personal background verification of their own to ensure that the details of their records are correct and free from errors.


A California renter background report allows the owner of a rental property to view various types of records of a potential tenant that may indicate his or her ability to afford the monthly rent and to respectfully maintain the property. A rental background check may screen for activity such as criminal history, financial issues like bankruptcies or past unpaid rent, and any eviction history.

Obtaining your CA rental background search ahead of your residential rental search can help you address any issues that may arise and allow your new rental process to move forward smoothly. Providing your own California background history could even help you negotiate a better price on your lease.


Many companies conduct background checks for employment in California to ensure that the candidate will be a responsible and dependable employee.

Company background checks are often performed by a third-party agency and can include a search of the job applicant’s credit, criminal and even driving record, depending on the nature of the position. Conducting your own CA job background check before an employment interview will allow you to make a plan to explain or rectify any items found on your report.

EMS/First Responders

First responders must remember that every clinic and hospital runs extensive CA EMS employee background checks on these types of applicants. Since EMS and first responder personnel manage high-stress emergency medical situations, it is imperative that their record reflects the ability to keep maintain a controlled demeanor.

With a California medical background check, any criminal actions or financial circumstance will show up and can help vet potential employees, ensuring the safety of the public.

Care Givers

Performing a criminal background check on hired help is an invaluable task for many families who chose to entrust the care of their loved one with a person they do not know.

To give yourself peace of mind, it is important to conduct an online background investigation of potential caregivers such as babysitters, nannies, and elder care workers. By conducting an instant background check you can rest assured in knowing that the person you hire to care for your family is trustworthy and responsible.


Today, most companies conduct background checks for employment for most positions, though especially for managerial positions. A company background check in California is a routine procedure utilized by employers to help measure an applicant’s fitness for the duties of a professional supervisor position may hold.

Since work supervisors hold multiple responsibilities which can include access to company property such as vehicles, security codes and accounting information, candidates will be expected to have an upstanding work history as well as a clean criminal record.

When You Will Need a Background Check

Most requests to get a background check in California stem from the government or private agencies that wish to ensure that a potential employee or privilege is fit to fulfill their assigned duties. California residents are required to undergo a CA background search for the following reasons:

  • To be employed in a position working with children, the elderly or the disabled.
  • For approval for foreign adoption.
  • For Visa/immigration purposes.

The Difference Between Standard & Criminal Background Checks

A full background check in California differs from a criminal background check in one main aspect. A complete background screening, most often requested by employment agencies, would typically include components such as the following:

  • A Social Security Number Scan.
  • A county criminal record check.
  • Verifications of employment and education.

California criminal background checks come in two different forms. A CA criminal record search is conducted by the California Department of Justice for job applicants on behalf of an employer. The DOJ police background check in California is a fingerprint-based system.

Only authorized agencies are allowed to request the fingerprints of an applicant if it is required by law for their particular position. Individuals must submit a Life Scan application to obtain a copy of their own fingerprint record. Another type of criminal history check is the county-level criminal record search.

To obtain information on individual county records, a requester must apply directly through that particular jurisdiction.

Last updated on Thursday, October 15 2020.