A background check for international applicants is more time-consuming than one for domestic applicants. An international background check can take anywhere from two to three weeks. Background checks in certain countries may be completed sooner than others, while some could take longer.

You may also receive some parts of the international background checks faster than others.


Why is there such a wide disparity?

  • Internationally, you’re facing a much greater number of laws and regulations than domestically.
  • This is despite the fact that laws vary from one state to the next in the U.S.
  • Some countries have stricter privacy laws, which can slow down the process.
  • Some countries, not just totalitarian ones, are almost closed to outside requests for information.

Therefore, background information can be difficult to find and at best, it can be slow to obtain. There are also differences between languages and cultural institutions that must be overcome.

A delay could also be caused by regulations that are more complex than those in the United States. For example, an employer in the United States must first obtain three signed forms in order to conduct a background check on any citizen of any country within the European Union.

A U.S. Fair Credit Reporting Act disclosure.

A U.S. Fair Credit Reporting Act authorization.

Consent to European Union Data Transfer – GDPR


Personal Credit Report:

International credit reports can take longer than domestic ones because the laws protecting consumers differ from one country to another.

Time required: 10-15 business days

For job applicants who:

  1. Have lived or are currently living in foreign countries.
  2. Have worked or are currently working in foreign countries.
  3. Have spent or are planning to spend significant time in foreign country.
  4. Have owned or had ownership of property or a company in a foreign nation.
  5. You can have a spouse/partner who spends significant amounts of time abroad.

Most cases will require an international credit report to be obtained from foreign sources. An experienced background investigator will be able to help you do this. A foreign government might request permission to conduct a background check. The same applies to a U.S. company conducting the check for employment purposes.

background check


Report on Business Credit

Time required: 5-10 business days

  1. A U.S. company may be considering a foreign company to be a significant trading partner.
  2. A U.S. company may offer temporary credit for purchases to a foreign business.
  3. Candidates for jobs with U.S. companies have extensive experience in the financial or performance of foreign companies.
  4. A candidate may have owned a business outside of their home country.

A business credit report on international companies should be your first step when you are considering doing business with one. It is also crucial in obtaining payment coverage for an international client.

A credit report for international businesses will reveal problems such as non-payments or late payments, excessive debt and arrears payments. It will also indicate the possibility of a foreign company going bankrupt.

Civil Records Report (local)

Time required: 10-15 business days

An investigation of records from civil courts in foreign countries may reveal concerns about potential employees. Most civil courts are run at a local level, but they can also be run at a state or national level. They show court proceedings that don’t involve criminal offenses. This means that there are no prison sentences.

Divorce proceedings and financial transactions are examples of civil court activity. They can also show private claims for money owed by individuals or entities. Civil court would be the place to record disputes with private contractors.

  1. All non-adjudicated matters
  2. Those still awaiting trial or other outcome (would also be included in civil court records).


Criminal Records Search

Time required: 10-20 business days

Just like in domestic background searches, local-level criminal courts can reveal much about a job applicant in a foreign nation.

However, it is important to keep in mind that U.S. law may limit the amount of searching an employer can order or how the employer may use the data in its employment decisions. The laws of the U.S. state in which the interview took place will apply to international candidates. Federal laws also apply. This means that charges without convictions may not be included in employment decisions. In states with ban-the box laws, questions about criminal history are not allowed and no checks may be ordered until a conditional job offer has been made.

Additionally, court data may be restricted in certain countries where background checks are being conducted. The longer the search would take, the more restrictive the rules.

Employers and companies that do background checks may not have the ability to conduct criminal background checks in certain countries.


Federal Criminal Background Checks

Time required: 5-10 business day

Federal agencies and federal courts may keep criminal databases in some countries. Some jurisdictions keep criminal records at the local or regional level. Some countries do not allow local criminal records to be automated. Manual checking is required, which can take a lot of time. In some cases, the information is not disclosed to third parties. Global Backgrounds is a professional background investigator that can help you navigate these tricky legal waters.

Canada is one country that has a national criminal database. Every year, thousands of Canadian workers travel to the U.S. One can search the criminal records of Canadians using the Canadian Police Information Centre. It is run by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. If the applicant’s criminal record is clean, it might take just minutes. It could take as long as one day if it’s not. It is as fast as an international background check.

Warning: Not all countries have a central criminal database. It is useful to ask applicants to get a certificate of criminal history and have a background company confirm that it is valid.


Education Verification

Time required: 10-20 business days

Contact the school where the candidate graduated or any other schools to verify education. Although degrees from foreign schools may be released by the schools, they are not always comparable to U.S. degrees. While the schools may release the graduate’s grade-point average, they are less likely to release information about majors, minors, and honors.

A school changing its name is one thing that can prolong a search. In such cases, it may take some time to locate the school.

Employers can request that international job candidates obtain official transcripts or confirm their degrees from foreign universities and colleges. Employers can also request that the documents be mailed directly to the hiring manager.


Employment History Verification

Time required: 10-20 business days

Either electronic databases can be used or the traditional way of calling the human resources office of the company where the job candidate claims to have worked. The faster the check, the more transparent the companies will be. The longer the check takes, the more employers will be listed.
Often, job applicants lie about their employment history. This means that the employment history check is still important, especially for foreign countries where U.S. employers might not have the same contacts as they do domestically.

These days, employment verification is just that: an acknowledgement of dates a person worked at the company. Sometimes, the former employer may also give job titles. Many companies won’t discuss the job performance of a former employee.


Driving records

Time required: 10-15 business days

Driving records are less easily accessible in many countries than they are in the United States, where they can be found in court records.
If you are a candidate from a country that doesn’t share driving records with third parties, the best way to get a foreign driving record is to request your records from home or where you live. Car2go, a German car-sharing company, requires that all applicants who wish to share their vehicles with it in the U.S. require this information. It provides a complete list of places where foreigners can get their driving records.

Driver requests can be made online in some countries, while others need to be submitted by mail.