How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Ohio? 10 Year Rule

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Background Checks | April 26, 2024

Man looks at a background check BCI document and the state of Ohio and a calendar and questions how far back does a background check go in Ohio and what are the background check laws for 10 year background check states?

When applying for a new position, residency or employment, many people wonder how far back does a background check go in Ohio?

Some states limit the length of time a background check can examine, helping former felons find employment.

Usually, the time frame is ten to seven years or less…but that’s not the case in Ohio.

Ohio does not follow the 10-year rule, however, so applicants can expect employment background checks (and other criminal history searches) in Ohio to go back indefinitely.

But, although an Ohio background check can go back that far… it may not.

This comprehensive guide provides all the information about how far back does a background check go in Ohio, as well as what to expect from various background checks performed.

How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Ohio?

When it comes to how far back a background check goes in Ohio, there are two things to consider: How far back the check is legally allowed to go, and how far back the check is actually likely to go.

Since Ohio does not have any laws of its own regarding how far back a background check can look for conviction information, these questions have two different answers.

Screenshot of Ohio Attorney General website page for services for businesses with yellow arrow on background check.

The Ohio Attorney General Bureau of Criminal Investigation provides information about background checks that can be conducted by employers in the state.

The main laws followed in Ohio regarding background checks are those mandated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).1

Although the FCRA does have limits on how far back an employer can view information on arrests and charges that did not end in conviction, there are currently no limits on how far back a background check can look for conviction information.

This means that even if someone was convicted of a misdemeanor 20 years ago, under Ohio law it is possible for this information to appear on a background check. Although this can sound worrisome it’s important not to panic just yet.

The reality is that the vast majority of pre-employment background checks performed in Ohio are performed by private background check companies. These are the companies that perform checks for major retailers like Home Depot, Walmart, and Lowes.

Although these companies are legally allowed to check back as far as they want in certain states, such as Ohio, they often also operate in states that follow the 7 or 10-year rule.

This means it is often easier to simply adopt a company policy that their standard background checksWhat Are  even in states that allow it to go back further.

With all that being said, it is fairly likely that your Ohio pre-employment background check will only go back 7 years, but it is usually a good idea to prepare for the worst and simply assume that the check will cover your entire criminal history.

What Are the 10-Year Background Check States?

10-year background checks are simply states that have adopted the 7 or 10-year rule when it comes to background checks. These laws have been growing in popularity in past years as a means to help individuals with criminal records find employment and avoid discrimination after they have served their criminal sentences.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are plenty of exceptions to this rule that will allow an individual’s entire criminal history to be examined in many cases.

The 10-year rule mostly applies to private background check services, so state and federal agencies that perform background checks, such as the FBI will be able to view an individual’s entire criminal history.2 Also, even if the job is in a 10-year state if the individual is employed by a federal agency, how far back does a FBI background check go will be without limit.

Ohio Background Check Laws

Understanding the various Ohio background check laws can help individuals prepare for what appears on a background check for employment, beyond answering questions like, how far back does a background check go in Ohio?

Before getting into the state laws, it’s important that individuals understand all the federal laws that Ohio must follow when it comes to background checks.

As mentioned, one of the main provisions of the FCRA is the 7-year limit on arrests that did not result in conviction appealing on background checks. However this is not the only law that will be important to know.

The FCRA also requires that employers obtain written consent from the applicant that a background check is being performed.3 This does not apply to all background checks in the states, only those used for official reasons such as tenant and pre-employment checks.

This is why individuals can hire private background check companies to perform background checks on other individuals without them knowing, as the information is being used for personal reasons, rather than official. However, whenever someone’s SSN is used to perform a background check, the individual is required to obtain the individual’s written consent.4

The other important aspect of the FCRA is the requirements for failed background checks. If an individual fails an official background check, then the employer is required by law to notify the individual of the decision and provide them with the specific information that was discovered on the background check that led to the decision to disqualify the individual.

This is required to both prevent discrimination and to give individuals an opportunity to appeal the decision if the disqualifying information is the result of an error.

Pre-Employment Background Check Laws in Ohio

The pre-employment background check laws in Ohio are fairly simple. Perhaps the most notable law is Ohio’s Ban-the-box law that was adopted.

In May 2015, the state of Ohio implemented a new policy, HR-29, for employers performing employee background checks that make it illegal to inquire about an applicant’s criminal history until after the initial job interview has taken place.

This is known as a ban-the-box ordinance, which refers to the box on many job applications that asks if the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime. These laws have been adopted by numerous states and cities across the country to help prevent discrimination against individuals with criminal records.

Keep in mind an individual can still be denied employment due to their criminal history, the law’s aim is to give individuals an equal chance instead of denying employment before the employer can even see if the individual is qualified for the position.

Ohio has also adopted laws to make it easier for individuals to get removed from their criminal history. Specifically, these laws allow individuals to more easily get specific qualifying crimes sealed or even expunged from their criminal record.

When a crime is sealed, it becomes invisible to the public view. Although the crime still exists, it can only be accessed by official government agencies so private background check providers will not be able to view this information.

Expungement is similar but crimes that are expunged are similar to having them destroyed. Individuals who have had crimes sealed or expunged do not need to claim these crimes when discussing their own criminal history.

When asked if they have ever been convicted of a crime the individual is legally able to answer no, even though they technically have.

Many people will be wondering if there are any Ohio laws regarding, How long a felony stays on your record, however there are no laws in Ohio that automatically seal crimes.

Without taking action to have a crime sealed or expunged, the crime will remain on their criminal history forever in Ohio. So, for those asking does your criminal record clear after 7 years, the answer is no, although certain states will prevent employers from looking back this far.

Finally, the above laws mainly apply to pre-employment background checks, however there are many different types of background checks, many of which have their own laws.

How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Ohio: Background Check 7 Years

Although many have heard about Ohio background check 7 years, this is not actually the case in the state. There are no laws limiting how far back a background check can go in Ohio.

However, the majority of privately performed checks will only go back 7 years, even those for state employers like Bowling Green University will only screen employees for the last 7 years of criminal history.

Many of those asking, if felonies go away after 7 years are mostly concerned with if they need to mention felony convictions when asked if they are older than 7 years.

The truth is that not mentioning a criminal conviction when asked is never a good idea, even for individuals who are fairly certain that it will not show up on a background check.

Having a criminal history is only sometimes a disqualifier for a job, however lying on an application is almost always grounds for disqualification.

What Shows Up on an Ohio State Background Check?

When it comes to what shows up on an Ohio state background check, the answer might surprise you.

An official Ohio state background is performed by the Ohio state police and is required for certain positions.

Screenshot of Ohio Attorney General website page for law enforcement with yellow arrow on the functions and role of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

BCI background checks are available for both private citizens and employers in Ohio, and can be based on someone’s name or their fingerprints for a national criminal check.

However, individuals can also request an Ohio state background check on themselves to get a better idea of what is on their rap sheet.

When it comes to exactly what shows up, the background check performed by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is only a criminal history check and will not include many of the other checks that employers will generally perform.5

State of Ohio Employment Background Check

The state of Ohio employment background check is required for individuals applying for positions in the state government. Although most aspects of the check are fairly standard when it comes to pre-employment checks, the criminal history check is somewhat unique.

Rather than rely on a private background check agency to perform a name-based check on the individual, the individual will need to undergo a fingerprint-based background check with the BCI.

Background Check BCI

The Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation(BCI) is responsible for performing the background check BCI which is required for jobs in the Ohio state government.6

This is a fingerprint-based check that will include a check of all criminal records in the state of Ohio, however this check does not include a national criminal history check and will only find criminal history information for charges that were filed in the state of Ohio.

How To Obtain a Background Check for Employment in Ohio

When it comes to how to obtain a background check for employment in Ohio, the employer should have to do very little.

In most cases, the employer will run the check on the individual themselves and the applicant will only need to supply their signature to allow for the background investigation to proceed. This applies to both jobs in the private industry and jobs in state or country government offices.

Screenshot of State of Ohio website page for resources with yellow arrow on background checks.

Ohio law mandates that all individuals who work with children and healthcare undergo the full fingerprint background check process.

Individuals who are looking to perform a background check on themselves in the state will have several options available to do so. The easiest way to run a background check on yourself to prepare for a job interview is to use the search bar at the top of the page to run a public records search on yourself.

Individuals also have the option to use other online background check providers, many of these will require a monthly subscription fee to perform the check, however there are several that offer free trials that individuals can take advantage of.

Those looking for the most thorough background check possible should look into getting an FBI identity history summary check performed. This is a fingerprint-based check that takes about two weeks to complete.

How Far Back Do Background Checks Go in Ohio?

The important thing to remember in regard to how far back background checks go in Ohio is that different checks will have different rules. When it comes to how far back can a background check for employment in Ohio go, they can go back forever for most of the checks like employment and education history.

As far as how far back does a criminal background check go in Ohio, it can legally go back forever but in most cases will only look at the last 7 years of criminal history.

How Much Does a Background Check Cost in Ohio?

Those wondering, how much a background check cost in Ohio should know that almost all employer background checks will not cost the applicant anything at all. However if the applicant wants to obtain a BCI background check report, there is a fee of $35 per copy.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Background Check Completed in Ohio?

Another major concern for those eager to start their new job is how long does it take to get a background check completed in Ohio, and this will depend on the kind of check. The majority of checks performed by employers are name-based checks which will only take about 3-5 days to complete.

However how long does a background check take for fingerprint checks tend to take longer so individuals getting CBI checks will likely need to wait around 2 weeks to get the results.

When it comes to how far back does a background check go in Ohio, there are a ton of different things to consider. What kind of background check it is, the purpose of the check, who is performing it, and more will all factor in.

With that being said it is usually a good idea to have a ‘better safe than sorry’ attitude towards background checks in Ohio and assume the check will go back forever and cover the individual’s entire criminal history.

Individuals should always prepare for job interviews by familiarizing themselves with state labor laws and laws regarding background check practices. Not knowing what to expect is the worst position to be in and individuals will want to be able to answer questions like, how far back does a background check go in Ohio, before submitting an application.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Ohio

What Is a Level 2 Background Check?

A level 2 background check is generally used as a marketing term by background check agencies to indicate checks that have search for more information than a traditional check. This can include social media checks, sex offender checks, and more.

How Far Back Does a Background Check Go for Employment?

How far back does a background check go for employment is limited by state law. As long as the check is not taking place in a 7-year state, then individuals should expect the check to cover the individual’s entire life.

How Long Does a Background Check Take for an Apartment?

For those wondering, how long does a background check take for an apartment? An apartment ackground check should take 3-5 days to complete as they are usually performed via name-based checks of both criminal and civil online court databases.

How Long Does a Background Check for Concealed Carry Permit Take?

A background check for concealed carry permit will vary by state as each state has their own policies and procedures when it comes to obtaining a concealed carry permit.

However, those that already have a concealed carry permit will be able to purchase a firearm after passing a NICS check, which takes about 20 minutes or less in most cases.

How Far Back Does Fingerprint Background Check Go?

Fingerprint background checks are usually performed by the FBI which means the check will cover the individual’s entire criminal history

How Far Back Does a CPS Background Check Go?

The criminal history check portion of the CPS background check is performed by the FBI and covers the individual’s entire life.

What Is a Level 1 Background Check?

A level 1 background check is generally used as a marketing term to indicate a basic background check such as identity verification and a criminal history check.

What Is a Level 3 Background Check?

A level 3 background check usually indicates an especially intensive background check, that includes as many checks as possible, rather than just the more basic checks.


1Protecting America’s Consumer. (2022). Fair Credit Reporting Act. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from <>

2Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2022). Identity History Summary Checks. FBI. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from <>

3National Archives. (2022). CFR Titles. Code of Federal Regulations. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from <>

4Social Security Administration. (2022). Social Security Number and Card. Social Security. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from <>

5Bureau of Criminal Investigation. (2022). Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Ohio Attorney. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from <>

6Bureau of Criminal Investigation. (2022). Background Check. Ohio Attorney. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from <>

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