Why Is My Background Check Taking So Long?


Background checks are usually quick. In most cases, you’ll find that a background check can get done in around 3-5 business days. However, sometimes there are delays in the background check process that can increase their duration.

For example, an employer might make a mistake on a document, and that mistake can delay the process until it’s fixed. Other common delays may include red flags during the process, applicants withholding information, and much more.

So, if you’re wondering why my background check is taking so long, You’re in the right place. Read on to learn about the most common background check delays and how to handle them.

What Is a Background Check?

A background check is a process that includes identity verification, checking criminal records, and viewing other public records about applicants.

Several types of background checks are available, and companies have different processes for running them. For example, company A might have different rules or red flags than company B. Background checks can also look into employment and education history, among many other public records available.

How Long Does a Background Check Take?

Background checks take around 3-5 days to process, especially if a company is working with a third-party company. That said, some background checks can be completed in as little as a few hours with online tools like UnMask.

However, some background checks might take longer due to requiring more information – some federal background checks for security clearance can take months to process. Therefore, the long answer is that the length of a background check depends.

Reasons Your Background Check Is Taking Longer

Background checks can take longer due to delays based on information or problems with records that appear during the search process.


For this reason, it’s important to understand all of the common reasons that lead to a delay in the background check process. First and foremost, we’ll start with problems with information.

Problems With Information

The biggest cause of delay during the background check process is an issue with information. For example, if you misspell something on paperwork or if an employer submits the wrong paperwork to a background check agency.

You can usually clear up an information issue by correcting any problems. Make sure you thoroughly look through everything before submitting any paperwork to avoid problems. If you notice that your background check is taking more than a few days you can reach out to see if the information matches.

Red Flags

When red flags show up on your background check, the process may take longer. Even if it was a misdemeanor crime that happened six years ago, employers will want to learn about it and this can take time for them to review.

For this reason, it’s always important to view a company’s policies and be upfront about any potential red flags that may come up during a background check. This can prevent delays that occur when employers find new information they weren’t expecting.

The Type of Background Check

The type of background check will delay its length. For example, a background check for the FBI can take more than 6 months to process, while identity verification can be done in a few days.


Criminal record searches and drug screenings can also add time to a background check. If a background check includes financial records and driving records this can also increase the amount of time. Keep this in mind when applying to reduce any stress you may have.

Avoid Delays in the Background Check Process

Background checks can be delayed for many reasons, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared for any delays.

Typically, delays are preventable by ensuring that you provide the right information and that your employer submits the necessary documents. That said, sometimes you can’t prevent delays due to drug screenings, red flags, or the type of background check that’s being used.

Still, that’s not an excuse to not be prepared. You can prevent delays by making sure your resume is up-to-date and that all of the information for your references and previous employers is accurate.

We always recommend running a background check on yourself to make sure everything matches up perfectly. You can even use this tool to run a people search on previous coworkers or employers to ensure that you provide them with the right contact information.