Instacart Background Check: What They Don’t Tell You (Read This First)

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Background Checks | May 28, 2024

Man questioning an Instacart background check document on the left, with an Instacart shopper driving toward him and a house on the right wondering if he had an Instacart background check denied based on past driving history.

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When undergoing an Instacart background check, there are a few things that they don’t always mention beforehand.

Instacart is a company that provides grocery shopping and delivery services to its clientele in the U.S., Canada, and parts of Australia.5 More than that, Instacart also provides flexible income to over 500,000 shoppers seeking to maximize and diversify their earning potential.1,16

But before applying to work with Instacart or consenting to the background check, read this article first to understand the check process and policies.

And, in order to prevent a denial, applicants can always get a no-cost criminal history check on yourselves first, that way you’ll know exactly what may be included on a background screening for Instacart.

Does Instacart Do a Background Check?

As a growing company which serves a multitude of people, it is crucial for Instacart to protect both their clientele and the company’s reputation by hiring individuals who demonstrate integrity. This is where the Instacart background check comes into play.

All individuals applying to work for Instacart must consent to a background check. Instacart’s background checks are similar to a Lyft background screening or an Uber background check. Instacart uses professional, credible background check services: Checkr and Sterling.5,6

These third-party companies conduct thorough background checks using individuals’ social security numbers (SSN) to search public databases at the local, state, and national level. These background checks are conducted during the initial hiring process and every year after.6,10

What Is the Instacart Shopper Background Check?

Persons hired to work with Instacart are referred to as “shoppers” and fall into one of two categories: in-store shoppers and full-service shoppers.

In-store shoppers are Instacart employees who work at a specific location on a set schedule to fulfill customers’ grocery orders. Meanwhile, full-service shoppers are contractors who set their own schedules and perform both the shopping and delivery aspects of the job.8

Both in-store and full-service shoppers are required to undergo a background check, and these individuals undergo the same background screening to determine suitability to work under the company’s name.5

What Does Instacart Background Check Look For?

To ensure the safety of customers, retailers, and shoppers, Instacart conducts thorough background checks that examine potential shoppers’ criminal records and driving records.16 These checks are conducted during the hiring process and each subsequent year.10

So what does an Instacart background check look for? Instacart provides the third-party companies conducting the background check with the criteria they are looking for.6,7 Though these criteria have not been publicly outlined by Instacart, there are a few safe assumptions that can be made.

When an Instacart background check examines an individual’s criminal record, it will most likely look for:6

  • Violent crimes (lifetime consideration is likely given to those crimes of the greatest severity)
  • Non-violent felony-level crimes (particularly those in the last seven years)
  • Recent misdemeanors
  • A pattern of criminal behavior

When an Instacart background check examines an individual’s driving records (MVR report), it will most likely look for:4

  • Evidence of consistent, responsible driving
  • Misdemeanor driving violations (such as DUI, reckless driving, etc.)
  • Repeat traffic infractions (e.g. speeding, running red lights)

In general, the background check will ascertain whether applicants have serious, violent offenses on their records or a pattern of repeat criminal offenses indicating a lack of growth and change.

How Long Does a Background Check for Instacart Take? (How Long Does Instacart Background Check Take)

Most background checks through Checkr and Sterling are processed in fewer than seven days, but a 10-day waiting window is generally considered appropriate to allow for minor slowdowns and delays.6

For background checks extending much past the 10-day window, candidates are encouraged to check their status through Checkr’s and Sterling’s websites.3,15

What Are the Instacart Background Check Requirements?

There are some general requirements for individuals seeking to work with Instacart. To be eligible, individuals must:8

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be able to regularly lift a minimum of 30 pounds
  • Be eligible to work in the U.S. or Canada (or parts of Australia)
  • Have a current, operational smartphone
  • Have a driver’s license and working vehicle (full-service shoppers)

To undergo an Instacart background check, candidates must have a valid SSN. The background check seeks to ascertain if an individual demonstrates responsible, ethical behavior. Serious criminal convictions are likely to disqualify candidates.5 Find out how to check for your own criminal history for peace of mind.

Instacart Driving Record Requirements

All Instacart shoppers must undergo a criminal record and driving record check. However, for full-service shoppers who also deliver, a safe driving record is particularly important. To request a personal driving record, check the website for the relevant state Division of Motor Vehicles (e.g. Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles)19 or order a driving record from a reputable company online.

Some basic driver requirements to be able to deliver with Instacart include:8

  • Access to a functional vehicle
  • A valid license (not suspended or expired)
  • Current registration on vehicle
  • Active insurance on vehicle
  • Rideshare coverage on vehicle

Some marks on a driving record can raise red flags, such as:5,6,16

  • Serious moving violations (hit-and-run, reckless driving, vehicular manslaughter)
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Driving without a valid license
  • An excess of minor traffic infractions (speeding, parking, etc.)

What Are Instacart Background Check Status Codes?

Instacart background checks are conducted through the third-party companies Checkr and Sterling.6 Status codes are terms frequently used to indicate which stage of the background check process a particular investigation is in.

How Do I Find My Instacart Background Check Status?

Candidates can see their background check status by logging in through Checkr’s and Sterling’s websites.3,15

Additionally, Instacart may provide status reports during the background check process.

Instacart Background Check Says in Progress

An “In Progress” status indicates that the background investigation has commenced and information collection and verification is underway.

Instacart Background Check Says Still Pending

When a background check is “Pending,” this indicates that it is still being processed.6 An extended pending status may indicate that information is required of the candidate to proceed with the investigation.

Instacart Background Check Says Suspended

A background check that is “Suspended” has been halted, typically due to missing or incomplete information on the candidate’s end.

Instacart Background Check Says Complete

Individual sections of a background report may be marked “Complete” as they are finished. Likewise, a “Complete” status on the whole background check indicates that the investigation process is at an end.

Instacart Background Check Says Clear

A “Clear” status effectively means that the candidate has “passed” the background check. No potentially disqualifying information was uncovered.

Instacart Background Check Says Consider

When a background check status says “Consider,” it means that adverse information has been turned up by the investigation. This information must be manually reviewed by Instacart’s hiring team for a decision to be made.6 With a Motor Vehicles Report, a “Consider” status can indicate that a driving requirement was not met.2

Instacart Background Check Says Denied

A “Denied” status code means that the background check renders the individual ineligible to work with the company. This typically results from significant findings in the candidate’s criminal or driving history.

The table below summarizes each of these status codes.

Instacart Background Check Status CodesWhat Does It Mean?
Instacart Background Check In ProgressBackground check process is underway.
Instacart Background Check PendingCan indicate that:
  • More information from the candidate is required to proceed.
  • Background information is still being collected.
Instacart Background Check SuspendedBackground check has been halted, usually because information requested of the candidate has not been submitted.
Instacart Background Check CompleteBackground report or sections of the report have been processed and are finished.
Instacart Background Check ClearBackground check did not reveal any disqualifying offenses, and the individual is eligible for hire.
Instacart Background Check ConsiderAdverse information in the background check report requires manual review by the hiring team or hiring manager.
Instacart Background Check DeniedDisqualifying offenses revealed during the background investigation may lead to rejection of an individual’s background check.

What Are Instacart Background Check Disqualifiers?

Although Instacart considers each candidate on a case-by-case basis, there are certain offenses which make it much more difficult to get hired. Prospective shoppers are likely to be disqualified if:5,6

  • They don’t meet the basic age requirement
  • They are not eligible to work in the country
  • They fabricated or grossly exaggerated information on their application
  • They don’t have a functional, registered, licensed, and insured vehicle (full-service shoppers)
  • They don’t have a valid driver’s license
  • They are a registered sex offender
  • They have recent felony convictions
  • They have violent misdemeanor or felony convictions
  • They have been convicted of sex crimes
  • They have been convicted of drug-related crimes
  • They have been convicted of serious financial crimes
  • They have a pattern of irresponsible or reckless driving

Federal laws enforced by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission21 make it crucial for employers to evaluate background check reports individually to ensure there is not discrimination in the hiring process.

What Is Instacart DUI Policy?

Instacart does not have a publicly outlined DUI policy. However, DUI is one of the most commonly reported reasons for application rejection.6,9 Individuals applying to work with Instacart, particularly as full-service shoppers who deliver, need to have a fairly clean driving record. A DUI in the distant past may not exclude someone, but a recent DUI or multiple DUIs likely will.16

Why Is My Instacart Background Check Taking Forever? (Instacart Background Check Taking Long)

Many aspiring Instacart shoppers have reported that their Instacart background check took longer than expected. In some instances, candidates reported waiting several months for their report to be completed. Though there is no saying with absolute certainty if a single issue is responsible for these delays, there are several factors believed to contribute to longer wait times.5,16

  • More information is required from candidate to proceed
  • Inaccurate or inconsistent information resulting in delays
  • Local courthouses and clerk’s offices slow to respond
  • Health related shutdowns and general slowdowns
  • Influx or backlog of applications and background checks
  • A particularly confusing or extensive residential or employment history may take longer to verify

What Should You Do If Your Background Check Has Not Cleared Instacart? (Instacart Background Check Not Cleared)

If a background check takes longer than ten days, try checking the status of the background check through the third-party service.3,15 Candidates may contact Instacart or the third-party investigative service directly for information. View the table below for contact information.6,14

Contact InformationInstacartCheckrBackground Check Company
Email[email protected][email protected][email protected]
[email protected]
Phone(866) 246-7822(844) 824-3257(833) 342-7877 ext. 9001
Chat AvailableYes, via Instacart appYes, via Checkr websiteNo

The service and delivery industries are booming, and Instacart is no exception. Customers are seeking easier ways to get repetitive jobs like grocery shopping accomplished, and more people are looking for alternative income sources that fit into their busy schedules. With the information provided here, nearly any individual can navigate the Instacart background check process to achieve positive results!

Frequently Asked Questions About Instacart Background Check

Why Is My Instacart Shopper App Stuck on Background Check?

There are various reasons why the Instacart shopper app may be stuck at the background check phase (more information needed to proceed, slowdowns in local record searches, backlog of checks). Instacart often sends onboarding materials before the background check has been processed, resulting in confusion for shopper candidates.

If the shopper app is stuck on the background check, then the investigation is still underway. However, there may be delays for reasons within or beyond candidate control. If it has been more than ten days, check the status of the background check through Checkr or Sterling.3,15

Does Instacart Hire Felons?

Though Instacart has not officially stated whether or not they will hire felons, there have been reports that individuals with felony records have been hired by the company.1,6

Instacart evaluates each situation on a case-by-case basis. When determining whether to hire someone with a felony in their past, Instacart looks at the following details:17

  • Length of time since felony (convictions more than seven years old are less likely to disqualify someone)
  • Severity of felony (e.g. violent offenses)
  • Pattern of criminal behavior (repeat offenses weigh heavily)
  • Evidence of rehabilitation

What Is the Instacart Background Check Email?

Some issues may be addressed by visiting Instacart’s help page.11 There are various ways to contact Instacart when necessary. Some of the recommended routes include:14,18

  • By phone at 1-866-246-7822 (U.S. residents only)
  • By email at [email protected]
  • Via chat through the Instacart app

However, for background check concerns, Instacart recommends contacting the third party background check service directly. In this case, the companies are Checkr and Sterling.

To contact Checkr:6

To contact Sterling:14

  • Call 833-342-7877 ext. 9001

Email [email protected] or [email protected]

Instacart Denied Background Check? What Happened? (Instacart Background Check Denied)

An individual’s Instacart background check may be denied for several reasons. A few of these are listed here.5

  • Deception (Inaccurate or misleading information on the background check)
  • Disqualifying offenses (violent crimes, serious crimes, pattern of criminal behavior)
  • Outstanding warrants
  • Poor driving record (particularly for full-service shoppers)

Why Was My Instacart Account Deactivated After Background Check?

If an Instacart account is deactivated following a background check, it can be assumed that the background investigation turned up adverse information. If this is the case, the report will be sent to Instacart for official review and consideration. The account deactivation may indicate that the company is currently reviewing the report before making a decision, or that they have decided not to hire the candidate. If it is the latter, the candidate should receive notice and a copy of the background report from the company.13

What Do I Do if Instacart Denied Me?

It is within Instacart’s rights to deny any candidate whose background investigation does not meet the company’s standard of ethics and integrity. However, per the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA),20 all candidates have a right to be notified if adverse action will be taken because of information in their background check report.

Thus, if a candidate is denied employment because of their background check, they can and should review the report for accuracy. Any errors should be addressed directly with the third-party background check company, which then has thirty days to investigate and amend any inaccuracies.6, 13, 14

If the background check report appears to be free of error but candidates want to appeal their case, they may reach out to Instacart directly to provide proof of rehabilitation efforts.

What Is Evidence of Rehabilitation Instacart?

To appeal a hiring decision, an individual will need to prove that they have grown and underwent positive change. Evidence of rehabilitation can take many forms, such as:12,16

  • Record of successful employment
  • Safe driving history records
  • Records of volunteer work
  • School transcripts
  • Character references (from employer, teacher, probation officer, etc.)
  • Certifications and training

How Do You Do Over Your Background Check on Instacart?

Once you’ve submitted information to have the background check performed, a ‘do over’ is going to be tricky, but it’s possible. Simply contact support and explain that you’d like to resubmit the background check information.

Why Is My Instacart Background Check Taking So Long?

There are a number of reasons why a Instacart background check might be taking too long, but the number one problem is usually inaccurate information.


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15Sterling. (2022). Need Help With Your Background Check? Sterling. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from <>

16Suppa, C. (2022). Instacart Background Check (How Long, What to Expect, Things They Check + More). QuerySprout. Retrieved July 24, 2022, from <>

17Suppa, C. (2022). Instacart DUI Policy (All You Need To Know). Query Sprout. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from <>

18wikiHow Staff. (2022, April 19). How to Contact Instacart. wikiHow. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from <>

19Commonwealth of Virginia. (2022). Online Services. Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from <>

20United States Government. (2022). Fair Credit Reporting Act. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from <>

21United States Government. (2022). Laws Enforced by EEOC. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from <>

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