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When it comes to background checks, there are various variations of it. During the hiring process, it is necessary to perform a thorough background check to ensure the potential candidate does not have any red flags associated with their identity. Depending on the extent and type of information to be checked, you can opt for different background checks. Two of the main ones include national and federal background checks. In this article, we will explore each one of these to learn the difference between them. The purpose of this exploration is to help you pick the one that is the most suitable.

National Background Check

The national background check covers any information that is part of the record in any state or county, including misdemeanors, infractions, felony convictions, and pending legal cases. The national background check includes the incidents that occurred anywhere within the national boundary. Commonly, the national background check digs through concerning digital records available from any source from throughout the nation. By running a national background check on anyone, you can find the alerting files for further investigation. Often, after finding concerning records through a thorough national background check, the discovered information is used to further research by submitting a record disclosure request to the state or county agencies where the incident occurred. In this sense, a national background check is a start point of a background check process. FBI offers a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) that covers many of the components covered by the comprehensive national background check.

Federal Background Check

A standard federal background check performs searches through all federal US districts and court databases to discover any convictions or pending criminal charges at the federal level. It is not the same as the FBI’s Identity History Summary Check. A federal background check can commonly find cases related to tax evasion, counterfeiting, terrorism, kidnapping, and identity theft. Similarly, if the investigated person was ever a federal employee, then the charges against them can be a part of the federal record. A federal background check finds such records. In terms of usage, this type of background check is used to investigate the potential executives and federal employees to ensure their records are clean and free from any incidents from fraud, embezzlement, or identity theft. If you seek information regarding any potential violation of federal laws by an individual, this type of background check is suitable.

The main distinction between national and federal background checks is that the national background check searches multiple digital data sources to find offenses conducted at the state and county levels. On the other hand, the federal background check scans through all federal courts to find any federal crimes by an individual. It is advisable to run both background check types to uncover as much information on an individual as possible.


By Jim Patterson

Jim is a guest writer at Background Check Wiki. He often shares the informative content to help consumers discover the background check service-related resources.

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