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International Criminal Background Checks: Additional Information

International Criminal Background Checks: Additional Information


National Background Check Program (NBCP) grantee States may want to conduct international criminal background checks on certain applicants for direct access employment in the long term care industry (i.e., those who have lived overseas). (See the International Criminal Background Checks resource document for more information.) Although international criminal background checks are not an NBCP requirement, States may choose to hire vendors to perform such checks when appropriate (e.g., when an applicant has recently moved to the State from an international location) to help ensure a thorough applicant screening process. This resource document provides recommendations on what might be included in a request for proposals (RFP) and information on what States can do to investigate their potential vendors before signing contracts.


What is the first step a grantee State agency should take if it wants to conduct international criminal background checks?
What might be included in an RFP for an international criminal background check vendor?
Who is responsible for the accuracy of international criminal background check information?
What factors should be considered in a background check of the vendor?

What is the first step a grantee State agency should take if it wants to conduct international criminal background checks?

The first step a grantee State agency should take is to notify and seek information from its Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) office and State Identification Bureau (SIB).

If the State’s CJIS office or SIB already has an existing agreement with a vendor that conducts international criminal background checks, the NBCP grantee State agency could consider joining that existing agreement through a memorandum of understanding, if the existing agreement would meet the grantee State agency’s needs.

What might be included in an RFP for an international criminal background check vendor?

An RFP for an international criminal background check vendor could include the requirements that the vendor:

  • Provide the sources of information for its international criminal background checks. States should note that official law enforcement records (e.g., national-level or provincial-level law enforcement records) are the most preferred and reliable sources of criminal history information. However, in many countries, only local police department criminal history information is available. In some countries, other public record checks may be possible, which could include checking court records. It is recommended that the State require that the vendor provide a list of all of the sources checked, and results from each source.
  • Use a specified report format, so that criminal history information is easy to extract and is consistent from country to country.
  • Have the capability to respond to specific follow-up questions regarding clarification of arrest and conviction information.
  • Provide all arrest and conviction information in English.
  • Maintain an automated registration process whereby an applicant or other authorized user logs on to a secure website, provides required personal data, and completes an online questionnaire to commence the criminal background check process.
  • Have the ability to provide results to the State agency through a secure website.
  • Provide waiver and authorization forms in the language of the applicant or the foreign country in which the criminal history check is conducted.
  • Provide international criminal history check results within an established period of time.
  • Make pricing discounts available based on the volume of international criminal background checks conducted.
  • Provide references and a list of clients, including government agencies and health care organizations in particular.

Who is responsible for the accuracy of international criminal background check information?

Any agreement between the State agency and the vendor should include an “indemnification and hold harmless” clause for the State agency, recognizing that the vendor is solely responsible for the accuracy of all criminal history information provided to the State agency. The vendor should also provide proof of liability insurance in an amount specified by the State agency.

What factors should be considered in a background check of the vendor?

Prior to signing a contract, the State should conduct a background investigation of its final vendor selection and the vendor’s principals. Such an investigation might include criminal history checks, a check of past or pending litigation, credit checks, a check of incorporation records, Better Business Bureau checks, and a check of business references (prior and current).