Performing a background screening in Iowa on individuals is mainly done by employers who would like to check the applicant’s criminal, credit or commercial history. Governments or private agencies also resort to Iowa background investigations when they need a record of an organization or individual.

According to the laws in IA, the most commonly sought after records are criminal histories, but these may not be suitable for employment or licensing purposes. For these, you may need to fill out special forms and obtain a DCI embossed seal. Also note that upon receiving a background report on an individual, decisions must not be made based on age, race, religion or sexual orientation.

How to Get an Iowa Background Check

If you would like to submit a request for an Iowa background check, you must complete it either in person, with the IA Division of Criminal Investigation, or by using alternative methods such as online, via mail or fax. You cannot request a background screening in Iowa over the phone or by email.

Ordering an Iowa Background Check Online

If you decide to apply for a background check online in Iowa, you will need to enter certain information about the individual for which you are obtaining a background report, such as:

  • Full name, including middle initial.
  • Gender.
  • Date of birth.
  • Social Security Number.

If the system shows results from the background screening, you can then print a background report for further use. Note that you must pay a fee for ordering online background checks in Iowa.

Ordering an Iowa Background Check by Fax or Mail

Iowa background investigations can also be completed by fax or mail. You will need to fill out a request form and a payment form, both of which can be obtained online or by phone. In the form, you will be asked to enter the individual’s full name and date of birth. You may need to supply a Social Security Number to continue the IA background check process.

Ordering an Iowa Background Check in Person

You may request an Iowa background report in person both for yourself or for another individual. If you are requesting a background screening for yourself, you will need to present a government-issued photo ID (a U.S. passport or driver’s license).

In this case, you may be able to receive the report immediately. If you are requesting a background check for another individual, you will need to wait for the results to arrive, typically within two to five days.

Who needs an Iowa background check?

Iowa background check services are used by employers who would like to check on candidates before employing them. Another type of background screening is performed by landlords who wish to gather more information on potential tenants.

Also checked are first responders and caregivers who work in high-stress environments (hospitals or other care-giving institutions) in order to verify that the individual is mentally and physically able to handle the responsibility of the job position.


Rental background checks in Iowa are usually requested by landlords who wish to learn more about the tenant’s criminal or financial history. These background screenings provide the landlord a perspective on the tenants’ financial habits, which is crucial for deciding whether to rent them a property.

If the individual shows a clean renter background check, then it becomes a good indicator that the tenant will not be prone to destroying the property. You may order an Iowa background report before negotiating the final until price.


Employers typically perform an employee background check in IA when they need to check the criminal, personal or professional background of a candidate before a hire.

This background report will show any misdemeanors in the candidate’s past related to crimes on the job or any other illegal activities. Clean background checks for employment in Iowa usually demonstrate that a candidate is a decent worker and citizen.

EMS/First Responders

Personal background checks in Iowa are performed before hiring medical personnel in hospitals or similar health institutions. The purpose of such background verification is to examine the way prospective hires handle stress on the workplace, what is their behavior around people in need and whether there are any criminal activities connected to the candidate.


Complete background checks in Iowa for caregivers are requested when you are considering hiring an individual to take care of a family member or a child. You can get a background check online or use an alternative method of background verification.

The results from the background report will give you access to the personal and criminal history of an individual and let you know whether they are suitable as caregivers.


When choosing a manager, a company must perform a personal background check in order to estimate the abilities and personal history of the candidate. Managers must demonstrate that they are responsible individuals on many levels, and such employee background check in IA can provide crucial information and criminal history of the applicant.

When You Will Need a Background Check

Certain instances make full background checks in Iowa necessary, especially if you are hiring somebody or would like to gain insight on an individual’s financial or professional behavior. Some situations whereby an IA background report is requested include:

  • Adoptions.
  • Hiring, either by companies or government agencies.
  • Purchasing firearms.
  • Reviewing an individual’s credit history.
  • Obtaining a driver’s license at your local IA DMV office.

The Difference Between Standard and Criminal Background Checks

Iowa criminal background checks are different from personal background checks in that a criminal history report contains more information about the criminal misdemeanor of an individual, while personal or standard background reports are more related to the individual’s financial or credit history, bankruptcies and professional history.

The Department of Public Safety in Iowa offers different application procedures for criminal background screenings and personal or background checks for employees.

If you need a background check for licensing or employment purposes, you will need to request an IA background report with a DCI embossed seal, also known as a certified copy. This seal guarantees authenticity of the document and applications must be submitted in person, at a local DPS office.

Although Iowa’s law does not require waivers for publicly accessible criminal reports, you still may need to acquire one from the subject in order to complete the process.

Last updated on Thursday, October 15 2020.