7 Year Background Check States

Learn more about the 7 year background check states, also known as “lookback” by reading the content provided in the content below.

Most American employers that utilize background checks generally go back seven years. Employers this is enough time to hold job applicants responsible for their debt, criminal, educational, and employment activities.

There is no doubt that nearly every employer has something unsavory in their past that could impact their ability to get a good job. With this said, some employers tend to overlook some negativities as long as the applicant is fully qualified.

Do State Laws Impact How Adverse Information Is Reported?

Many US states have passed laws to protect consumers from unfair credit reporting. The “Fair Credit Reporting Act” is just one regulatory example.

The law places limits on the type of information that can be reported to the three top credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. This regulation does not impact bankruptcy cases.

What exactly does the term “adverse” represent in this case. It is any type of harmful information, regarding criminal convictions and credit activities.

Any information related to employment is deemed “neutral.” So, there are no limitations as to which information, regarding employment can be reported in background checks.

This includes employment terminations that date back more than seven years prior to the initial background check.

Credit Reporting Agencies “CRAs” are permitted by law to report job titles, statements from previous employers even though the person was never employed with so-called employers.

Information regarding a person’s education history is also considered discrepant. Not all job positions require special training, certification, or degree. In these cases, the education history is not that important.

Employers hiring for medical positions, such as nurses, doctors, anesthesiologists, Certified Nurse Assistants “CNAs,” and oncologists must take an in-depth look at every applicant’s education history. Why is this important?

The education history can help hospitals, nursing homes, and private medical practices determine if someone is fully qualified to legally fill a specific position.

Adverse Information Related To Non-Criminal Infractions (Violations)

All non-violent infractions are deemed adverse pieces of information. Driving fines, arrest warrants, and extradition orders are just a few examples of non-violent violations.

It is crucial that this information be reported to CRAs, even though they are not a criminal charge. This is considered reportable adverse information, which should be included in background checks.

How Far Can Average Background Checks Go?

Despite the 7-year rule, background checks can sometimes go back even further. Therefore, you should not mistakenly believe that criminal convictions going back eight or nine years will not be reported on your background check.

There is no universal rule since the laws range from one state to another. In addition to this, the laws are based on the salary of the applicant. Individuals receiving a sum over $75,000 or more will likely be heavily scrutinized.

In some states, most background checks will go back 7 years. In some cases, background checks can go back 10 years. The exact period depends on your area and what type of job you’re trying to get.

If you’ve been convicted of a felony eight years ago, there is a risk that it might show up. However, there is a chance that it won’t too.

What Shows Up On 7 Year Background Check States?

If you try to obtain a job, you’re likely going to be background-checked for seven years. The company will send your information to a 3rd party.

That company will conduct the check and find out more about your criminal and education history. Thanks to the 7-year rule, only certain information will be provided to the potential employer.

For starters, it only goes back seven years. After seven years, the reporting agency will not be able to report arrests, civil judgments, civil suits, and paid tax liens.

If the conviction happened six years ago, it will be shown on the criminal record. Some states do not use the 7-year rule. Plus, there are exceptions to the rule.

Therefore, you have to carefully research the laws in your state before saying it won’t show up on your criminal record.

Lawfully Sharing Reportable Adverse Information To Employers

It is crucial that all reportable adverse information not be withheld from employers. As long as it is lawful, employers have the right to access this information.

The primary goal of background reports is to ensure employers do not make the mistake of hiring unqualified job candidates.

Another reason why employers rely on background checks to access a job candidate’s past activities is to avoid hiring criminals.

Just because someone has a degree in accounting or interior design does not necessarily mean there are no criminal convictions.

When background checks are overlooked, there is always the risk of hiring someone who is unqualified, with an extensive criminal record.

It is important for employers to conduct background checks to protect their companies from hiring people with active arrest warrants and extradition orders.

Employers Should Know Reporting Guidelines

Every American employer should be familiar with the reporting guidelines of their service provider. Why is this important?

To get the full picture of a job applicant’s history. It is also just as important for employers to know the state and federal EEO regulations and laws.

Employers need to be open-minded when it comes to the background report. The information included in a background check should be utilized to determine if job applicants qualify for the positions you are trying to fill.

What Does 7-Year Reporting Look Like?

You are contemplating applying for a position, but a criminal conviction is holding you back. Maybe you are concerned about how the criminal conviction will look on your background report.

The first thing to consider is the date of the conviction. You should know that most employers look at data from up to seven years prior. Anything over seven years is excluded from consideration.

What if the criminal conviction was eight years ago? There are still some concerns, which are only natural. Will the criminal conviction be the determining factor of whether or not you are hired for the desired position?

The charge or arrest date is the adverse activity date for specific non-conviction indictments and arrests. This applies to non-convictions where the final disposition is pending.

Seven years is the reporting period for criminal convictions in 12 US states. In these states, the date of the adverse activity is the conviction or disposition date.

The CRA should utilize the disposition date to calculate the seven years before reporting the adverse information to any client. It is also legal for CRAs to utilize incarceration, prison release, or parole date to determine the seven years.

Some states limit the reporting of criminal indictments, convictions, and arrests to seven years, depending on the date of parole, jail release, or disposition.

Can CRAs Utilize Dismissed Cases And Abandoned Criminal Charges?

CRAs that utilize a dismissal or disposition date to calculate the seven years on abandoned criminal charges and dismissed cases are walking on thin ice.

In 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “CFPB” and US Federal Trade Commission “FTC” determined that the lookback period of seven years for all dismissed criminal charges begins on the actual charge date. This rules out utilizing the dismissal date to calculate the seven years.

While employers are required to heed the background reporting laws, so are CRAs. The FTC, CFPB, and governments strive to ensure people applying for job positions be treated fairly.

Limiting the type of adverse information that ends up in background reports is just one way they do this.

Is 7-Year Reporting Fair?

The federal government believes it is fair when CRAs heed the 7-year lookback laws. Unfortunately, there are times when a CRA fails to heed these laws. The CFPB oversees credit reporting activities by the top three CRAs.

The agency adopted a regulation in July 2012, to implement a strategy that would allow them to supervise TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.

People have the right to report a CRA for illegally dispersing their education, credit, and criminal histories to employers.

Possible Exceptions

One thing applicants must remember is that certain states have not implemented this rule. Others have. California, Colorado, Maryland, DC, Texas, Washington, DC, and others have very strict rules. Others do not.

Furthermore, there are going to be exceptions to the rules. For instance, you must remember that certain states allow employers to check back further when the salary is more.

In Colorado, employers can check back more than seven years if the applicant will be receiving a salary of more than $75,000 each year.

Therefore, this is something you’ll have to remember when applying for a job. There is a good chance that the company will have access to older records. Plus, certain states allow longer background checks too.

What Employers Must Remember

When it comes to background checks, employers must be lenient to some degree. It is vital to understand how employers are going to use convictions and arrests to determine who to hire.

For instance, there is a major difference between an arrest and a conviction. The employer will likely study the background check. Then, they’ll make a decision based on the report as a whole.

They’ll usually give the applicant a chance to explain things too. Therefore, you’ll have the opportunity to explain what happened and what you’ve done to right the ship.

You’ll find that the employer is going to determine whether to hire you based on several factors. Your background check is only one thing they’ll consider.

When looking at your background check, they’ll want to know what crime you were convicted of and whether you were convicted.

An arrest is usually not as bad as a felony conviction. Furthermore, they’ll allow you to explain what happened and what you’ve done to avoid trouble now.

The company will also try to determine whether it is actually relevant. In some situations, it might not be relevant to the job at hand. Finally, companies are obligated to treat all applicants equally and fairly.

The company cannot discriminate based on an applicant’s ethnicity or race. Even with a conviction, there is a good chance that you’ll get the job.

Read Also: What Causes a Red Flag on Background check?


When you try to obtain a job, you’re likely going to be background checked. Most employers won’t hire people until they’ve been background checked and approved. With that being said, you should prepare for a background check.

Most states will only check your criminal record going back seven years. However, the rule depends on the salary that you’ll receive for the job. If you’re receiving a substantial salary, the background check can go back further.

Furthermore, the rules vary depending on the state. Therefore, you’ll have to check the specific rules in your state first.

FAQs on 7 Year Background Check States

7 Year Background Check States

What States Have a 7-Year Limit On Background Checks?

Remember that certain states have a 7-year limit on all background checks. Others do not. California, Kansas, Colorado, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Washington, Texas, and New York fit into this category.

Just remember that the restriction may depend on the salary you’re going to receive for the position.

Are Most Background Checks 7 Years?

In general, most normal background checks are seven years. However, there is always a chance that your background will be inspected for a longer period.

Again, it depends on the applicant’s state, the job they’re trying to obtain, and the salary they’ll receive.

What Shows Up On A 7-Year Background Check?

A 7-year background check will find many things. For instance, it is going to find more about your criminal and educational history.

It is important to remember that the background check will find anything dating back seven years. Ultimately, this includes misdemeanors, felons, and more.

What Is The 7-Year Look Back Rule?

The 7-year lookback rule means that certain information won’t be displayed if it happened more than seven years ago. It is also called the Seven Year Lookback Rule.

It is sometimes called the Seven Year Lookback Period. If you have any questions regarding non-violent violations, you should contact one of the three CRAs.

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