Here we offer answers to frequently asked questions, employee background check forms, and links to educational material.

Frequently Asked Questions


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Or, just submit an order and the system will walk you through account setup as part of checkout.

Volume users may have additional payment options beyond credit cards; some paperwork is required. Please contact us for more information.

All driving record checks and social security number traces are instant.

Most of our criminal background checks are instant or within 1 business day, providing a significant advantage over older methods. But some court systems do not provide any online access. In that situation a court runner must be sent or the clerk of the court must process the report, and that can take extra time. 90% of all criminal reports will complete within 4 business days. Please know that in some cases it is possible for a search to take longer than 4 business days, depending on the particular court system.

You may check the status of your report at any time in My Reports or by using the link provided in your receipt.

Yes, call us during business hours, Monday-Friday, 9am to 6pm Eastern time. Or you can e-mail us. See our contact information.

No. There are no monthly, annual, or hidden fees. All prices are per report.

Yes. Our website is protected by SSL encryption and other methods. All web communications, including credit card numbers, are secure and encrypted.

If you need to e-mail us for any reason, please be aware that e-mail is not secure.


Yes. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires you to obtain written permission from the applicant in a clear and conspicuous manner. (There are some exceptions for the trucking industry.) If you do not have a form already available, click here for our employee release form. You are welcome to edit it as needed.

Our release form is in Microsoft Word format for easy customization. If you do not have software that can open it, we also have a PDF background check release form.

Please note, it is your responsibility to ensure that your release form complies with the laws in your jurisdiction. We highly recommend having a lawyer review the forms you use.

You do not need to send copies of your release forms to SentryLink.

For the report, we require a first name, middle initial, and last name, along with date of birth. A social security number is highly recommended. You must also have a mailing address and e-mail address for your applicant, which we will use for legal purposes only.

You must obtain a signed release form from the applicant before running the report and comply with the relevant provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You must review the Obligation of Users under the FCRA and abide by its requirements.

Employment screening is covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and applicable state and local laws. Key requirements of the FCRA include:

  • Written permission from the applicant is required before performing a background check for employment screening (see our earlier discussion for more details)
  • If you intend to take "adverse action" against someone as a result of performing a background check, including but not limited to termination or failure to hire, you must do the following prior to taking the action:
    1. Provide the subject of the report with a copy of the report, along with SentryLink's contact information
    2. Provide the subject of the report a written summary of their rights under the FCRA.
    3. Give the applicant a reasonable amount of time to get their background check corrected before making any final decisions on their employment.

Regarding the rules for adverse action, it is important to realize that they are designed to protect the subject of the report in case there are errors in their record. Proper notification allows them a chance to dispute the results with SentryLink or the relevant agency. Therefore it is very important that these steps be done prior to taking the action.

Additional information and requirements can be found in the Obligation of Users under the FCRA.

Additional regulations may apply, particularly with respect to pre-adverse and post-adverse notices, which may vary by jurisdiction. SentryLink does not provide legal advice and will not be liable for any actions taken or not taken as a result of the statements here. We recommend having a lawyer review any forms or procedures that you use.

Yes. We will need to have you fill out a credit application first. Please contact us for more information.

No, we have other options for you -- you can submit names to us via Excel spreadsheet or other formats. A small per-file charge may apply. Please contact us for more information.


If you obtained an expungement for a criminal record, we recommend that you visit the Foundation for Continuing Justice. They offer a free service to those who have had their criminal record sealed, expunged, set aside, or otherwise modified by the court to have this information updated and removed from private companies who provide the information for private background checks. As part our supplier's participation in the Expungement Clearinghouse, they receive electronic updates from the Foundation for Continuing Justice about verified expungements and update their database accordingly. This does not affect your rights or options to contact us directly.

Yes. SentryLink is committed to providing accurate and legal records. Please contact us and we will get the record corrected.


A good screening process starts with good forms. Use your company forms, or the ones listed here.

  • Employee Background Check Release
  • You must have your applicant sign a release form before performing a background check. We provide an editable form here, but you should have a lawyer confirm this is right for your organization. If your computer does not support Microsoft Word, you can download a PDF version here.
  • Obligation of Users under the FCRA
  • Your legal obligations when screening employees or tenants.
  • Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA
  • If you plan to take adverse action as a result of one of our reports, this form along with a copy of our report must be given to the applicant. Addtional pre- and post-adverse regulations may apply.

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