How Far Back Does Sterling Background Check Go? 7 or 10 Years (See Which)

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Background Checks | December 30, 2022

Man with his hands on his hips and a question mark beside him wonders how far back does a sterling background check go and how to pass Sterling background check while looking at a Sterling background check report and calendars on his left with pages of years flipping.

Individuals undergoing pre-employment background checks might find themselves wondering how far back does Sterling background check go, 7 or 10 years?

To see which, individuals will need to familiarize themselves with their state’s background check laws.

The good news is that although many states allow for background checks to check criminal history information for an individual’s entire life, sterling background checks will usually only check less than 10 years, even in states that do not have limits.

And, when asking how far back does Sterling background check go, for most employment checks, it’s seven years.

This guide explains the laws that impact how far back does a background check go for employment, based on where an applicant lives.

How Far Back Does Sterling Background Check Go?

Those wondering how far back does Sterling background check go, should familiarize themselves with the “seven-year rule” and see if they live in a state that has adopted these laws.

The seven-year rule has continued to grow in popularity over the last decade and more and more states are considering adopting this or similar laws that limit background check time frames.

The seven-year rule is a law adopted at the state level that prevents employee background checks from checking back further than 7 years when examining criminal history information. This is done to help individuals with criminal records find meaningful employment after they have served their sentence and sufficient time has passed.

Although the FCRA outlines basic background check laws at the federal level, the FCRA does not include any regulations about how far back a background check can go when searching for conviction information.1

However, the FCRA does limit arrest records that did not result in conviction from appearing past 7 years.

Screenshot of DC government website page for Metropolitan Police Department with yellow arrow on how far back does background check go.

In the District of Columbia, the Metro Police Department outlines the condition that background check requests include conviction records no farther back than 10 years.

Only a handful of states have adopted these laws and many that have will also have exceptions to this rule.

One of the most common exceptions to the seven-year rule is for positions that make above a certain annual salary, usually around $75,000 per year. Positions above this salary threshold will often be subject to criminal history checks that go back 10 years.

When it comes to Sterling background checks, most checks will only go back 7 years. In situations where a check is being performed on an individual who is applying for a position that allows for a 10-year background check, then the check will likely cover those additional 3 years.

However, even though Sterling would legally be allowed to search back further than 10 years in most states, their standard checks will only cover 7-10 years.

What Does Sterling Background Check Look For?

Many applicants wonder, what does a background check look for? Or to be more specific, what does Sterling background check look for?

Most will be relieved to find that Sterling checks are fairly standard when it comes to the information they are looking for and the databases they use.

Sterling background checks will always include a basic identity verification to ensure the applicant is not using a fake name or someone else’s social security number to apply for the position.2 With the identity verified the next check will be the criminal history check.

Although many people use criminal history check and background check interchangeably, a criminal history check is often only one piece of a background check.

Sterling’s criminal history check will include a check of the county, state, national, and federal criminal history records.

Essentially, if the individual was charged with any crime anywhere in the United States, Sterling will be able to find a record of it as long as the information is less than 10 years old and has not been sealed.

Depending on the industry and the check that the employer requests, a handful of other checks might be performed by Sterling.

Common checks include driving record checks for jobs that require the operation of heavy machinery, professional license verification for positions that require individuals to hold certain licenses or certifications (such as a real estate background  check), and credit history checks for positions that deal with large amounts of money such as those in finance.

Sterling Background Check Results

Individuals should receive their Sterling background check results within 3-5 business days of the correct information being submitted.

Individuals shouldn’t need to check the Sterling website for their results. The report is usually emailed to the individual as soon as the check is completed, as well as various updates on the status of the check along the way.

Sterling Background Check Status

Individuals curious about their Sterling background check status have a few different options available. Sterling is generally fairly prompt with their background checks and individuals should start to receive status updates about their check as soon as it is submitted.

In most cases, the information will be sent to the email of the individual being checked.

However, in some cases, individuals might find it necessary to find a status update in some other ways. This can be necessary if more than one week has passed since the background check was submitted or if the individual never received any email updates.

Individuals can access the same Sterling website where their information was initially submitted and request a status update directly from Sterling who will be able to notify the individual of any potential problem that could lead to a delay in the process.

Failed Sterling Background Check

Individuals might be wondering how they will be notified about a failed Sterling background check. As mentioned, Sterling will send out all important status updates, including the results of the check, through the email that the individual used to submit the initial background check.

Individuals who are surprised to fail the background check will be able to view the information that Sterling found that resulted in the failed check. If this information is incorrect, Sterling will provide procedures to appeal the results of the background check and identify the mistake.

Sterling Background Check Results Clear

Many individuals might be confused as to what happens when their Sterling background check results are clear.

If the status of your check is marked as “Clear,” this is the same as passing the background check. However, since Sterling is a third-party background check provider, then they will not be the ones to make the hiring decision, which will still be up to the employer.

What Is a Sterling RISQ AIM Screening?

Sterling background checks all over the world are sometimes referred to as background screenings rather than checks. People often cannot believe how far back does a background check go for employment.

When undergoing a background check of any kind, individuals should familiarize themselves with both the local laws regarding background checks for employment as well as the policies and practices of the company performing the check.

Individuals with questions like, how far back does Sterling background check go, should be aware that although it is usually 7-10 years, there are instances where the check can go back forever.

Sterling RISQ Background Check Process: How Far Back Does Sterling Background Check Go?

The Sterling RISQ background check process is extremely simple, and individuals who have undergone a private background check in the past will find the experience fairly similar. In most cases, the employer that is requesting the check will provide the applicant with a link to the Sterling website in order for the applicant to fill in their personal information.

This will include the individual’s name, SSN, previous and current address, and other similar information.

Once entered the employee will be required to verify their consent to have a background check conducted. When all the information is submitted, individuals will simply need to wait for emails from Sterling regarding the status of their checks.

It is important to keep an eye out for these emails so that individuals can fix any mistakes in their checks that may cause delays.

They may start asking, how to fix your background check, as there are actions one needs to take to remove the information.

Sterling Background Check Reviews

Sterling background check reviews are mostly positive due to how thorough the background checks are performed by the company.

Aside from offering standard services like criminal history checks and identity verification, Sterling also provides a social media background check as well as reference checks where the applicant’s previous employers will be contacted by Sterling directly.

Screenshot of Department of Workforce Services Wyoming website page for identity verification with yellow arrow on the documents you will need.

Identity verification is part of every criminal history search and background check process, and usually requires providing at least two primary identification documents, such as a state-issued driver’s license or ID, or a birth certificate.

One of the more common negative reviews is about the company’s customer service when it comes to fixing more complicated issues. Many people have reported slow response times from the company’s customer service team.

Sterling Background Check Login

Individuals will be required to create a Sterling background check login in order to fill in the necessary information for the background check to be performed.

It is important that individuals fill in their information correctly as small mistakes can lead to delays or may cause the status update emails to be sent to the incorrect email address.

How Long Does Sterling Background Check Take?

When it comes to how long does Sterling background check take, individuals will be pleased to find the check is completed fairly quickly.

Sterling background checks are generally completed within 3- 5 business days of the initial information being submitted to Sterling.

Information being entered incorrectly, holidays and other similar issues will likely cause minor delays. Sterling recommends individuals contact them if their check is taking longer than one week.

How To Pass Sterling Background Check

Potential mistakes on a background check are one of the biggest reasons that individuals should perform a background check on themselves. Individuals wondering how to pass Sterling background check should perform a background check on themselves as soon as possible.

There are tons of different ways for individuals to perform checks on themselves, one of the easiest methods to do so involves using the search bar at the top of this page to perform a public records check on themselves.

This will uncover any and all criminal history information an individual has on their record, which will be the same information that Sterling and other background check agencies will have access to.

Screenshot of Wisconsin Department of Justice website page for WORCS with yellow arrow on online criminal records check.

The Wisconsin online record check system (WORCS) allows both individuals and agencies to submit criminal background check requests.

Besides the search bar at the top, individuals can also use other private background check services that perform criminal history checks.

Many of these companies operate on a subscription service, but some companies offer a 7-day free trial background check so that individuals can perform a handful of checks at no cost.

With a lot of different background check options available, one may ask, how to get a federal background check on yourself and how far back does a federal background check go.

You can opt to undergo an FBI background check, for the most thorough check possible.3 Although federal background checks can take somewhat longer, they are by far the most comprehensive checks currently available.

Failed Background Check After Job Offer

Some individuals may find that they have failed background check after job offer and will be wondering what to do next. Unfortunately, individuals who fail a background check will have few options available, even if there has already been a job offer.

In most cases, job offers that precede a background check will be conditional on the results of the background check. The best thing that individuals can do is to ensure that the failure was not the result of a mistake in their criminal history.

Some individuals will be surprised that they failed the check due to criminal history information, such as a felony conviction, that is 8 or 9 years old. This is a great example of why being able to answer questions such as how far back does Sterling background check go, is so important as well as knowing your rights when it comes to pre-employment background checks.4

What Happens When There’s No Response After Background Check?

It is possible for individuals to find themselves in a situation where they received no response after background check.

If this is the case, there is likely a problem or some kind of miscommunication between the background check agency, the applicant, and the employer.

NYC Human Rights website page for employment with yellow arrow on employment process in accordance with the Fair Chance Act.

Each state has specific laws about how criminal history can impact employment opportunities, such as the Fair Chance Act. which prohibits employers from asking about criminal history after a job has been offered.

Individuals undergoing a background check should always receive a response, no matter the results. Employers are required by the FCRA to notify individuals of the results of their background check as well as provide specific details as to what information causes the applicant to fail the background check.5

Individuals in this situation should contact their employer about the results of their background check.

How Do You Know if You Failed an Employer Background Check?

How do you know if you failed an employer background check is an extremely common question individuals have, especially while awaiting the results of a check.

Employers are required by law to notify employees of the results of the background check, regardless of the outcome. If the check is failed, the employer will contact the individual with the specific reasons for the failure as well as instructions on how to appeal the decision.

Sterling Background Check Issues

Most of the common Sterling background check issues involve the applicant not filling the information correctly. When filling out the necessary information for the background check, individuals should double-check everything they entered to check for misspellings and other minor issues.

Even a single letter being off in the individual’s name can cause delays on the check as Sterling will not be able to verify the individual identity.

Sterling Background Check Pending

It’s extremely common for individuals to be worried when they get an update that says Sterling Background check is pending, however this is no cause for concern. A pending message simply means that the background check is still in progress.

For employers that have requested numerous checks from Sterling, it is common for a background check to be pending for several days at a time.

Background Check Complete vs Clear

Some individuals will be confused as to the difference of background check complete vs clear statuses. And so they start asking, what does a background check show between these two?

Basically, certain information is not able to be cleared, and Sterling and other background check services will only be verifying this information.

Screenshot of Social Security Online website page for online services for businesses.

The Social Security Administration provides business services online to help employers maintain compliance.

For example, there is nothing to “clear,” when it comes to SSN verification. So when the applicant’s SSN has been verified, it will show a complete status.

On the other hand, if the individual does not have a criminal record of any kind then the criminal history check will show a status of ‘clear,’

Sterling RISQ Background Check Finalized

With the results of the Sterling RISQ background check finalized, individuals should expect to hear from their employer next as the background check will be completed and no further action should be necessary.

The most important thing to consider when trying to determine how far back does Sterling background check go is the laws of the county or state where the check is being performed.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Far Back Does Sterling Background Check Go

What Should I Do if I Failed PWC Background Check?

Individuals who have found that they failed a background check of any kind will always have the option to appeal the results of the check. This is especially important for individuals who failed a check due to incorrect information appearing on their criminal record.

How Long Does Sterling Background Check Take for Uber Eats?

A sterling background check should take 3-5 days in most cases, however if there are unique checks required, such as the driving record check that is a part of the Uber Eats background check, then it may cause the check to take slightly longer. However, even with additional checks, Sterling still claims that checks should take 3-5 business days.

Where Can I View the Sterling Background Check Results Level 1?

If you are not aware, there are different types of background checks. No matter the level of background check that Sterling performs, all the results will be delivered at the same time to the email inbox of the applicant.

How Far Back Does Sterling Background Check Go?

In most states criminal history checks are legally allowed to go back forever, however Sterling generally only checks the previous 7-10 years of criminal history information. There are exceptions to this; for example, some employers may request that an individual’s entire criminal history be checked, which Sterling is able to do in most states.


1FTC. (2022). Fair Credit Reporting Act. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved November 04, 2022, from <>

2SSA. (2022). The Social Security Number Verification Service. Social Security. Retrieved November 04, 2022, from <> (2022). Rap Sheets (Identity History Summary Checks). FBI. Retrieved November 04, 2022, from <>

4FTC. (2022). Employer Background Checks and Your Rights. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved November 04, 2022, from <>

5EEOC and FTC. (2014, March 11). Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Retrieved November 4, 2022, from <>

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