How Long Does An International Background Check Take?

International background checks delve into the personal history of someone with a global scope. While many background checks determine whether a person has faced criminal charges or dealt with a conviction in the past, they can also provide a picture of the person’s educational background, experience and credit history. At a time when globalization is a growing trend in almost every culture and industry, domestic background checks aren’t always sufficient.

Who Benefits From International Background Checks?

A range of individuals and companies might benefit from conducting international background checks. Human resource offices should certainly make background checks international if applicants reported living, working or going to school in another country. Landlords and real estate agents managing rentals should also extend background checks to a global scope for individuals from other nations — especially if the prospective tenant doesn’t have a long rental history in the United States. You might also seek assistance in conducting a background check if you’ve met someone online and want to involve this person in your life further; or if someone will be around your children or loved ones. Individuals who are hiring household help — such as a housekeeper or nanny — should consider background checks that extend to the prospective employee’s past nations, if applicable.

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Elements of an International Background Check

The information included in such a background check depends on several factors: First, it will depend on the type of background check you order. A landlord is likely more interested in someone’s credit and criminal history, and less interested in his or her education or professional experience. A human resource office would likely be interested in all of those aspects.

Like domestic background checks, international checks might include:

Verification of education. Education checks verify that someone has completed schooling at various institutions and levels, and can also verify industry credentials and certifications. Employers use education verification to ensure a person is honest on his or her resume and that the applicant has the appropriate knowledge and qualifications for a position.

Criminal records. International background checks don’t just rely on criminal records in the United States. An organization conducting such a check delves into criminal records for other countries where the applicant has lived, though this can be difficult. Every country has its own laws governing the access of criminal records and not all countries have the same level of record keeping — so expert research is often required to compile factual information.

Credit reports. Credit reports help establish whether someone will be a reliable tenant or employee. Some industries, such as the financial sector, might require credit reporting as part of pre-hiring background checks. International credit reports can also be difficult because each country deals with credit in a different way and privacy laws could make it hard to access such information.

References. Reference checks involve calling past employers or personal references. An obvious challenge when conducting international reference checks is the language barrier, but you also deal with cultural barriers and even something simple like time-zone issues.

How Long Does an International Background Check Take?

The average domestic background check — one that only includes information in the United States — takes between two and four days. If agencies or references don’t return phone calls or messages, the background check can take a bit longer. The challenges of an international background check obviously mean an extended time for completion of the work. A basic international background check could take four or five days if you are working with cooperative countries. When dealing with countries with extensive protective laws or a culture of secrecy, international background checks can take several weeks.

Ordering Background Checks

Many people believe that the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducts background checks on behalf of companies or private citizens, but this is not true. In some cases, you might be able to run a criminal check that includes some FBI records, but that doesn’t make your background check international, as many international criminals don’t have a record with the FBI.

Why Global Verification Network?

Luckily, at Global Verification Network, we do run international background checks for organizations and individuals.

Global Verification Network is a consumer-reporting agency with 65 years of combined experience. We assist a diverse range of industries — from human resource professionals to health care organizations in need of quick, accurate and scalable screening solutions. For more information about our process, contact us today for a quote.