Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Home page

Background Check FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Background Check Turnaround Times

Q. How long is my background check going to take?

A. The turnaround time of a background check depends on the volume of checks received, the type of background check submitted (fingerprint, new hire, recheck), and the number of staff available to process. Please refer to our Turnaround Times  page to get an estimate of when you will receive your background check.

If the applicant has an out of state crime, BCCU requests a review to determine if the out of state crime is equivalent to a Washington State Crime and verifies if that crime is on the Secretary's List of Crimes and Negative Actions. The amount of research involved, number of equivalencies, and staff available will determine how quickly an equivalency can be completed.

Q. What is the current turnaround time on background checks?

A. Please refer to our Turnaround Times  page. You can also sign up for our Listserv to receive daily turnaround times. To join the Listserv, please send your name and email to bccuinquiry@dshs.wa.gov to be added to our Listserv.

Q. I sent in a Background Authorization form and have not received anything. Where is it and why is it taking so long?

A. BCCU processes general forms on a first come, first serve basis. The turnaround time for renewal checks can take five or more days depending on the current volume. Our goal is to complete new hire checks within one business day. Please refer to our Turnaround Times  to view our current processing times.

If the entity requesting the background check sent BCCU the authorization form and believes that it should have been processed according to the turnaround times currently posted, please email bccuinquiry@dshs.wa.gov with the applicant's name and account number. Please do not submit the authorization form again without first checking on the status of your submission. Multiple submissions of the same authorization form cause delays in processing.


Findings and Court Documents

Q. I have/had my driver's license suspended. Should I answer yes to question 13 on the background authorization form?

A. The purpose of question 13 is to determine whether a government agency has ever denied, terminated or revoked your contract or license for failing to care for children, juveniles or vulnerable adults; or if you have given up your contract or license because a government agency was taking action against you for failing to care for children, juveniles or vulnerable adults.

Q. The facility told me I have something on my background check results and told me to call BCCU. What is it?

A. The applicant may request a copy of their BCCU results from the entity that requested the background check or by sending a completed Request for Background Check Information Form  to BCCU to bccuinquiry@dshs.wa.gov. Due to confidentiality reasons, BCCU cannot discuss the results over the phone with the applicant until the applicant has received the results. The applicant will need to have the results readily available when they contact BCCU to discuss the information.

Q. The Washington State Courts is reporting incorrect or incomplete criminal history about me, what can I do to correct it?

A. The background check applicant can contact the court listed on the search results and ask to have the information updated in the court database. BCCU cannot correct the information for you. If you believe the updated court information will change the results of your background check, contact BCCU after the court has updated the data in their system. You will need to provide the BCCU customer service representative with the account number listed on your search results. BCCU will review your criminal history information from all data sources and determine if an updated letter can be issued.

Q. Why do I have to disclose old convictions and/or negative actions?

A. The applicant must disclose all convictions and/or negative actions regardless of how old they are. BCCU processes background checks for multiple programs. Each program has specific requirements/rules.

Q. How do I resolve my unclear/unknown crime being reported by the Washington State Patrol (WSP), Washington State Courts and/or Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)?

A. The applicant will need a copy of the results. If the applicant does not have a copy of the results, they can request one from the entity requesting the background check or fill out a Request for Background Check Information Form  and submit it to BCCU at bccuinquiry@dshs.wa.gov.

The contact information for the reporting agency can be found on page two of the results and we have also listed the contact information below. The applicant will need to work with the reporting agency such as WSP, Washington Courts, DOH, FBI, etc. in order to provide BCCU with more information regarding the unclear/unknown crime. Once the information is received, BCCU can determine what type of results letter to issue.

Reporting Agency Contact Information:

  • Aging and Disability Services, Resident and Client Protection Program:
    (360) 725-2405
  • Children’s Administration, Child Protective Services:
    (800) 568-5624
    (Press zero and ask for Children’s Administration Background Check Unit).
  • Department of Corrections:
    Records Division
    (360) 725-8213
  • Department of Health:
    (360) 236-4700
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation must receive request in writing (Title 28 Code of Federal Regulations):
    Criminal Justice Information Services Division
    Attention: Records Check
    1000 Custer Hollow Road
    Clarksburg, WV  26306-0171
    (304) 625-5590
  • Washington State Patrol:
    3000 Pacific Ave
    Olympia, WA 98501
    (360) 534-2000 (Press 5 for customer service)

NOTE: When contacting the FBI, the applicant may be directed to work with the original reporting agency to correct any background check information.  Original reporting agency means the agency that is reporting the information to the FBI. Original reporting agencies can include state non-federal information such as state law enforcement or Department of Public Safety.

If working with the reporting agency has been unsuccessful and the applicant knows what the crime is, they can fill out an Applicant Affidavit Form  providing the exact date and details of the unclear/unknown crime and send the Applicant Affidavit Form to BCCU for review.

If the applicant does not know what the unclear/unknown crime is, BCCU cannot have the applicant fill out an Applicant Affidavit Form since the charge is unknown and the applicant will be unable to provide further information.

Please note that clarifying a crime may not generate a different type of result letter.

Q. I sent in an Applicant Affidavit Form. When will it be processed?

A. BCCU's goal is to complete a review of submitted court documents and respond to the requestor within five business days of receipt. However, the processing time will vary depending upon staff availability.

Q. I sent in an Applicant Affidavit Form. When will my record be updated?

A. After reviewing the information submitted, BCCU will contact the entity and the applicant to let them know whether or not the result letter will be updated.

Q. I have been convicted of and/or have a pending charge; should I disclose it? If I do, how will the charge affect my background check results?

A. Yes, you should disclose all charges you are convicted of and/or pending. You can attach an additional page to your authorization form listing the details of the crime, such as the dates, the crime convicted of, and what state the crime was convicted in. If you have a theft related crime(s), it is also helpful to include the dollar amount.

Q. How can I find more information about the legal meaning of a violation or term reported by the Washington State Courts?

A. Research the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) or municipal code listed in the RCW/ Code column of the search result or use an internet search engine to research the legal term. BCCU staff cannot give you legal advice or interpret the meaning of legal terms. You can access RCWs on the internet through the Washington State Legislature website. To find more information about a municipal code, go to the municipality website and search for the ordinance or code listed on the search results. RCWs and Codes can change over time, make sure you research the code that was in effect at the time the violation occurred.



Q. How do I make a fingerprint appointment?

A. BCCU does not schedule fingerprint appointments, you will need to contact the state's fingerprint vendor, MorphoTrust.

To schedule an appointment through MorphoTrust, please call 1-888-771-5097 or visit their website at http://www.identogo.com/. You will need the following to schedule an appointment:

  1. Fingerprint appointment form
  2. BCCU account number
  3. Applicant inquiry ID/OCA number

If your prior fingerprints were rejected, you cannot reschedule online. You must call MorphoTrust at 1-888-771-5097 with the three items listed above. MorphoTrust has locations  throughout Washington State. Please refer to their website at, http://www.l1enrollment.com/locations/?st=wa for the location nearest you.

Q. Why do my fingerprints keep getting rejected?

A. Unfortunately there are some applicants who have prints that are difficult to capture. The Washington State Patrol (WSP) must determine that the prints are the best quality print. If WSP determines the prints are not the best quality, the applicant will need to be printed again.

Once the WSP accepts the prints, the prints will be sent to the FBI. The FBI will then determine whether the prints are acceptable. If the FBI rejects the prints, the applicant will need to be printed again. If the FBI rejects them a second time, BCCU will request a National Name Date of Birth check from the FBI.

To view WSP and FBI fingerprint process, please refer to our flowchart.

Q. The applicant's inquiry ID/OCA number and the BCCU account number is invalid and I cannot make a fingerprint appointment. What can I do?

A. There is often times a three-hour delay from the time the applicant receives their inquiry ID/OCA and BCCU account number to when the fingerprint vendor, MorphoTrust, receives the information. Please wait a few hours and then try to schedule the appointment again.

Please verify you are providing the same account number and inquiry ID/OCA number on the appointment form. If your account number begins with an "A", "B", "N", or "I", you will need to provide this to the vendor when providing the facility account number.

If you are still unable to schedule an appointment, please contact BCCU at bccuinquiry@dshs.wa.gov.

Q. How does BCCU do fingerprints?

A. BCCU conducts Name & Date of Birth (NDOB) and Fingerprint based background checks for DSHS programs and authorized service providers who serve vulnerable adults, juveniles, and children. The type of background check conducted is determined by state and federal guidelines.

A NDOB background check includes a search of the Administrative Office of Courts, Washington State Patrol, Department of Health, Department of Corrections, and the Department's founded findings of abuse/neglect of a child or vulnerable adult, and the applicant's self-disclosure.

Fingerprint based background checks search the same databases as NDOB checks, as well as the FBI, the national sex offender registry, and state police records in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.

Q. Do I need to keep a copy of the Fingerprint-Based Background Check notice?

A. Entities will need to retain a copy of the signed Fingerprint-Based Background Check Notice for audit purposes. Do not mail or fax the notice to BCCU. The notice must be provided to the applicant prior to being fingerprinted. Follow the instructions provided by your DSHS program that is requiring the fingerprint check.

Federal law (Title 28, C.F.R., § 50.12 (b)) requires the Department to notify individuals subject to a fingerprint-based background check of the purpose of the fingerprint check and the method to correct errors on the FBI identification record. DSHS also created the Fingerprint-Based Background Check Notice (DSHS Form 27-089) to meet the Federal Requirement. The Fingerprint Notification form is available in PDF or Word format.



Q. How do I set up an account to do background checks?

A. BCCU runs background checks for DSHS programs and authorized service providers who serve vulnerable adults, juveniles, and children. At this time, BCCU does not conduct background checks for entities that are not licensed or contracted through DSHS.

If your entity does not currently use BCCU to run you background checks, but believe they should, please contact BCCU at bccuinquiry@dshs.wa.gov so that we can direct you to the appropriate program contact.

Q. How much does it cost to do background checks through BCCU?

A. Background checks are paid for by the DSHS administrations; they are not paid for by the entities or applicants.

Q. How can I change my fax number/mailing address?

A. BCCU cannot update the fax number/mailing address; the information needs to be updated through your program contact. If you do not know who your program contact is, please contact BCCU at bccuinquiry@dshs.wa.gov.

Q. Why does BCCU have 48 hours to respond to me?

A. The call volume and staff availability affects our ability to respond to all phone and email inquiries. BCCU may be able to respond to your questions sooner than 48 hours.

Q. What is the turnaround time for fingerprint checks from the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)?

A. The WSP and FBI do not provide BCCU with exact turnaround times. Their turnaround times vary due to the volume of fingerprints being processed.

The turnaround time on prints also depends on whether the fingerprint cards are the first set of prints submitted for the associated inquiry ID/OCA number or if they are resubmitted prints. The first set of prints is submitted electronically, allowing for a faster turnaround time. However, the resubmitted prints require a hard card to be printed and mailed, causing slower turnaround times.



Q. Who gets the background check results?

A. Background check results are sent to either the Department program or directly to the requestor, depending on the specific program requirements. BCCU can only fax or mail the results to the fax number or mailing address that is entered in the system.

Q. What information will a BCCU background check result show?

A. Background check results will include the following information:

  • That no record was found for the applicant;
  • That the applicant has a record for a crime that is not on the Secretary's List of Crimes and Negative Actions; or
  • The applicant has a disqualifying crime or negative actions listed on the Secretary's List of Crimes and Negative Actions.

Q. I received a result letter that shows the applicant has a crime, DOH disciplinary action, and/or DSHS negative actions. Can I hire or contract with this individual?

A. BCCU is only a provider of information. We do not decide whether an applicant can be hired or contracted. Please contact the DSHS program that is requiring you to conduct a background check for more information about how to use the information received in the background check result letter.

Q. I marked questions(s) 11A/11B/12/13/14 in error. How can I fix this?

A. Please fill out an Applicant Affidavit Form  and explain which question(s) was marked in error. Be specific and list the question number(s) that were marked in error and provide the reason why the question(s) were marked "yes" in error. Once the form is complete, return it to BCCU for review at bccuinquiry@dshs.wa.gov.

Q. I received a Record Letter or a Secretary's List Letter, will I be able to work?

A. BCCU does not determine whether an individual is able to work for a facility. BCCU provides the results received from the Fingerprint Checks and the Name and Date of Birth Checks. Contact the DSHS program that is requiring a background check for additional information.

Q. I misplaced an employee's result letter; will you send me another copy?

A. BCCU can resend the results to the address or fax number that is listed in our system for your facility. Please email BCCU at bccuinquiry@dshs.wa.gov to request an additional copy of the results.

Q. Why did I receive a Secretary's List letter for my background check if I already provided clarifying documentation?

A. There may be a few different reasons why the documents provided to clarify a crime did not change the results.

The clarifying documents may still list the crime as being on the the Secretary's list.

There is also a possibility that BCCU did not receive enough information, such as the month, date, and year of the crime, charge and/or degree of the crime, or other details.

The clarifying documents must match the information on the authorization form, such as the dates, details, degree, crime(s), and state the crime was committed. If the documents do not match, the differences will be viewed as a separate crime.

Q. I received a result letter, but the information is wrong. How do I fix that?

A. Contact BCCU and have your account number ready. Provide BCCU staff with the information that you feel is incorrect about the result, i.e. spelling, date of birth, record information etc. If there was a data entry error input by BCCU, we will correct the information and send out an updated result letter.

If the facility, applicant, court, etc. made the error it must be fixed by the facility, applicant, court, etc. and resubmitted to BCCU for processing.

Q. I received a Record or Secretary's List letter, but there was no rap sheet attached.

A. If you have the two page copy of your letter, reference the Source of Crimes and/or Negative Actions located on the second page. This will tell you the source of the finding and the contact information for those sources.

If your copy is incomplete, you can contact BCCU and request to have it resent. It will be faxed or mailed to the number or address listed in our system.

Per FBI regulations, BCCU cannot distribute the FBI rap sheet to the facilities; it is up to the applicant to share the results with the facility. The applicant will need to request a copy of their background check through BCCU and share the rap sheet with the facility. If the applicant refuses to share the results with the facility, the facility should speak to their program contact.

You can view the FBI's Privacy Act Statement at the link below: