Kentucky Background Check: Search Official KY Records (Full Guide)
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Searching for official records to conduct a Kentucky background check? Regardless of whether someone is performing a criminal records search or identification verification, Kentucky (KY) offers many online options for searching official records and documents.
Depending on the type of background check required, different items will show up on the search, but there are many public resources available to aid the completion of both professional and personal background checks. This full guide outlines all the free (and non-free) options that can be used to find official records in the Bluegrass State and complete a comprehensive background check on anyone.
Official Kentucky Background Checks: FastCheck Process
To access a person’s criminal record, Kentucky background check reports can be obtained using the FastCheck process.
This online portal provides two online options to obtain a criminal record report, either a one-time request (perfect for individuals conducting a background check on someone without them knowing) or a registered account:
- One-Time Request: This service lets the user place one order to receive the criminal record report by mail.
- FastCheck: This online portal provides only registered users with the ability to retrieve their background check results electronically.
When using the one-time request option, users simply enter the information about the person being checked (name, address, phone number), as well as the information on the person who is making the official records request.
In addition to the FastCheck portal, users can also access request mail in forms on the website, for making a license agency request and access to CourtNet records using these specific legal forms.
- Licence Agency Request Form: Allows users to obtain their own criminal records, in order to apply for various licenses.
- Records Unit Request Form: Allows users to obtain criminal history and other court records on themselves or another person.
The FastCheck process differs from mail-in requests, and because the online portal is for registered users only, there are different stipulations associated with how it can be utilized to search official records in Kentucky.
The most important things to keep in mind during the multi-step FastCheck process includes:
- Individuals can request a FastCheck background check on another person, since these records are available for public viewing. However, someone cannot receive information regarding confidential cases, such as juvenile, mental health, or domestic violence cases.
- The information included in the FastCheck background check includes misdemeanors, traffic cases, and felonies in the last five years, plus felonies that have occurred since 1978.
- All customers will receive an email when the criminal record check is processed and can access their online report for 30 days.
- Every request costs $25.00, and when paying with a credit card, it adds $2.50 for online requests, $2.00 for mailed in requests.
To check criminal records in KY using FastCheck, first register or login.
Step 1. Choose which option best fits the official records request. KY Courts provides these options:
- Obtaining a background check for yourself or another individual and want the information delivered online
- Someone who needs an expungement for themselves or their client
- Someone who has a prepaid account or wants a prepaid account
- Someone who wants to apply for a job
- Someone whose job requires them to run a background check for their agency
- Someone who works for Kentucky Court of Justice and needs a background check
Step 2. Based on the selection, the public menu registration will populate the necessary field to fill in.
Step 4. Open the email account used to register, and activate the account.
Finding Criminal Records Using Kentucky State Police Resources
The Kentucky State Police, also known as KSP, provides the general public and businesses with the ability to perform official records background checks by mail, or in person. Although each type of check has its own rules, the Kentucky State Police offers easy-to-use and effective methods to perform name-based checks, fingerprinted checks, and nationwide checks, and the state explains how to get a background check in detail.
Information that may show up on a Kentucky State Police background check includes:
- Warrants for Arrests
- Arrest Records and Criminal Charges
- Dropped and Dismissed Charges
- Incarceration Dates
The first type of background check provided by the Kentucky State Police is name-based background checks. A person does not need permission from the individual being searched in this type of background check, if the search is for personal reasons.
- The user must write a $20 check or money order, made out to ‘KY State Treasurer.’
- For this specific check, fingerprints are not required to obtain background information.
- Individuals or businesses must obtain permission from the individual to obtain a criminal history.
- The mail-in process takes longer than the in-person service, averaging 10 business days to complete and receive the information.
Step 1. To get the name based background report, follow the link provided to access “background check forms.”
Choose from among the forms listed on the page, including:
- Employment (Conviction records for employment checks)
- Commercial Guide License (from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife)
- Adoption and Foster Care (Used for adoption and foster care applications checking official records)
- Minors (For agencies that need access to a minor’s criminal record)
- Long Term Care (Facilities that must run criminal conviction checks)
- Childcare Facilities (Running Kentucky background checks for licensed facilities)
- Emigration (For individuals moving to a foreign country)
- Rescue Agencies (Fire, Ambulance, Rescue personnel checks)
- Housing (For applying to government assisted housing)
- Secondary Metal Recycling (And other special registrations and licenses)
- Personal (For running a background check on yourself)
Step 2. Complete the form.
Step 3. Mail the form to the address printed on the bottom of the background check form.
The Kentucky State Police and state FBI provide a fingerprint background check.
For this check, fingerprints and consent are required to obtain an individual’s criminal history. Also, some governmental organizations or agencies require that employees undergo a fingerprinted background check before they can begin employment.
Step 1. To begin the background check, these individuals must be fingerprinted at a specific IdentoGO location.
All applicants must enroll with IdentoGo by using the UEnroll website and KBN service code 27GKJR. However, all authorized users have a specific 6-digit code, which identifies the agency making the request, the payment fee for the background check, and the reason for the fingerprinting.
The IdentoGO website collects necessary information about the background check request during the registration process.
Step 2. Pay the fee.
Step 3. Once the registration is complete and the fee is paid, the user can then go to their local IdentoGo center for fingerprint capture.
The fee for fingerprinting by a law enforcement agency is $10 and does NOT include the IndentoGo and background check fee.
Step 4. IdentoGo is online, so users and agencies can see results on the website provided.
FBI Only/Nationwide Background Checks
For an FBI only background check, fingerprints are required, and Individuals and businesses that want to use the FBI background check can get more information on the FBI website regarding Identity History Summary Checks.
There are two options on the FBI Website to submit fingerprints – online vs. mail-in.
Individuals who choose to do the FBI background check via electronic submission must follow these steps:
- Submit the request directly to the FBI, electronically.
- Go to the “Obtaining Your Identity History Summary” section on the homepage and find a nearby US Post Office location to submit fingerprints electronically.
- Before an individual goes to the Post Office, they must complete the application and pay online to retrieve a USPS code and confirmation number.
Individuals who choose to do the FBI background check via mail-in submission must follow these steps:
Complete the online application form.
- Obtain a set of fingerprints on a standard fingerprint form FD-1164 – individuals must include their name and date of birth on the fingerprint card, along with 10 fingerprints collected by a fingerprint technician.
- Submit payment using the Credit Card Payment form on the FBI’s website. The other payment option is to obtain a money order or certified check for $18 to the ‘Treasury of the United States.’
- Mail the items above to the FBI CJIS Division and wait for the results from the FBI via U.S. Postal Service first-class mail.
Users who choose either the electronic or mail-in option should double-check their submission with the Identity History Summary Request Checklist to ensure the request can be processed on time.
Searching Criminal Records Using Kentucky Court Clerks
The general public can gain access to the records of the court system in Kentucky due to the Open Records Policy set forth by the Supreme Court of Kentucky.
The Open Records Policy states that the public is granted access to the administrative records of the Administrative Office of the Courts.
There are two methods of obtaining public records: submitting an open records request or requesting court case records.
Submitting An Open Records Request For Administrative Records
- Search and check Section 6 of the Open Records Policy.
- The next step is to email the specific request to the Administrative Office of the Courts.
Request Court Case Records
- Find a Circuit Court Clerk by County by using the informational directory regarding the 120 counties in Kentucky.
- Contact the Kentucky Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court of Kentucky with any further queries or concerns.
The Court Clerk can respond to court record requests and tell the requester what forms are necessary. Contacting the Clerks of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals can provide information about state court records, but these conviction records can be gathered using both the police and Justice Department options.
Kentucky Background Check Laws
Kentucky offers straightforward legislation, policies, and rules regarding an individual’s background information. For the most part, Kentucky does not restrict an employer’s ability to obtain and use past criminal records for help during the hiring process, which means that a misdemeanor may cause someone not to pass a background check.1
The only records that are not accessible to employers are records that have been expunged (erased) or sealed. Furthermore, Kentucky law prevents using conviction and criminal records solely for employment purposes during the hiring process.
Certain public employers cannot use criminal background searches to conduct a background check before an interview for an open position. An executive order stated that state-level employers could only carry out a criminal check only after the application and interview are complete for the person in question.
State Ban the Box Law
Furthermore, this executive order means that state agencies cannot include a “tick” box specifying if a person has ever been convicted of a crime. This executive order prohibits state-level private employers from using this hiring tactic when making decisions about future employees.
- Public employers do not have to comply with this executive order when hiring local-level workers.
Louisville Ban the Box Ordinance
Another Kentucky law currently in effect is the Louisville “Fair Chance Ordinance” that resembles the state-wide ban the box law. This order bans the box for city employees and independent contractors working with the city.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
A federal law followed in Kentucky is the Fair Credit Reporting Act, an act that protects the privacy of information gathered via reporting agencies. This act covers employers in Kentucky – before an employer can do a check on someone, they must have written consent from the potential employee.2
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act
This Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination by enforcing employees to complete individual assessments of a person’s specific convictions while deciding on the hiring process.
Expungement Law for Misdemeanors
Kentucky has an expungement law that states people who have misdemeanor convictions can have their record erased after 5 years have passed since they finished their reported sentence.
Expungement Law for Class D Felony Convictions
Kentucky has included an expungement law for class D convictions that allows a person who has this felony on their record to expunge their record (after five years have passed since they completed their sentence).
Restriction on Criminal History Information Gathered by Consumer Reporting Agencies
Consumer reporting agencies are not allowed to keep information regarding arrests or convictions that can be used against an individual.
Types of KY Background Checks and Official Records Report Options
Various types of background checks influence the step-by-step processes followed by individuals and companies performing official records checks in Kentucky. Some of the most common include:
Personal Identification and Kentucky Public Records Search
To conduct a personal identification check in Kentucky, the process involves using both the internet and local court clerks, specifically the county clerk’s office.
Using any search engine, to perform an identity check, simply type in the name of the person being searched and sift through the results. Many social media sites offer public profiles that include pictures, and even middle names that can be used when searching Kentucky records.
The county clerk’s office typically has access to additional public records, such as marriage and property ownership.
Step 1. Use the table below to navigate to the county clerk’s office where the person being checked resides. For example, follow the link for Allen County, included in the list below:
Step 2. Choose the “records” option on the toolbar (or search public records if a search option is available).
Step 3. Search online land records.
When searching through publicly available records, the county clerk’s office generally also contains:
- Marriage Records (Marriage Background Check)
- Voting Registration (All voter registration records in the United States are public, and many states and municipalities sell the data to marketers for revenue.)
- Deeds and Mortgages
This information is available to search, but whether it is free or not will depend on the specific county, or state. Usually records search fees are not too expensive. However, when checking more than one state, the fees can add up, so many people employ a respected background check agency to perform the official records search.
The process for searching public records within Kentucky city’s clerk’s offices is the same. Here’s a list of the largest cities for easy reference:
|Kentucky City||Clerk’s Office|
|Lexington||County Clerk City of Lexington|
|Louisville||Metro Council Clerk|
|Bowling Green||City Clerk’s Office|
|Owensboro||City of Owensboro|
|Covington||City of Covington Clerk|
Sex Offender Registry Check
Kentucky, along with other states, keeps a statewide registry of sex offenders. Anyone can check this database using a name based search or neighborhood search.
Simply enter the last name or offender number to search the database, or use the neighborhood search feature to identify sex offenders based on location. The portal allows users to fill in one or more entry fields to enact a search.
Education: Student Teachers and Workers in Private, Parochial, or Church Schools
Kentucky’s Title XIII Education statute is a law that specifies the conditions of when workers in private, parochial, or church schools must obtain background checks.
An educational institution certified by the Kentucky Board of Education may require a national or state criminal background check on all new employees (including student teachers) and require a new check every 5 years.2
Patient Care Employment
The Kentucky Applicant Registry and Employment Screening System (KARES) is a new process that allows automatic fingerprint background checks through the Kentucky State Police and FBI to reduce errors, enable real-time updates, and provide eligible employers the tools to view current background information.
The types of providers that can use the KARES system include adult healthcare facilities, assisted living communities, home health agencies, hospice care providers, community-based providers, health facilities, nursing pools, and long-term care facilities. A KARES job applicant will have to submit fingerprints for the background check.
Agricultural Hemp Background Check
The Kentucky State Police require a specific background check on a hemp license applicant and a ‘key participant’ seeking a business license. The definition of a ‘key participant’ looking to produce hemp includes an owner, partner, persons in a corporate entity, chief operating officer, or chief financial officer.
The steps for this background check are as follows:
- Complete the Request for Conviction Records-Employment on the Kentucky State Police website.
- Write a $20 check to ‘Kentucky State Treasurer’
- Create a self-addressed stamped envelope
- Mail the above items to the following address:
Kentucky State Police
Criminal Identification and Records Branch 1266
Frankfort, KY 40601
Firearms Background Checks
Kentucky does not have any law requiring firearms dealers to conduct a background check before purchasing a firearm. Therefore, Kentucky dealers must complete the background check via the FBI.
Brady Exemption – Concealed weapons permit holders who have a permit after July 12, 2006, are exempt from background checks for 5 years.
How Long Does a Background Check in Kentucky Take?
Background checks usually take between 1-3 days to complete in Kentucky. In some instances, certain counties may take longer to process the requests, lengthening the average timeline of results.
Users who want notifications regarding their background check results can use the Volunteers Dashboard that is updated in real-time.
How Much Does a Kentucky Background Check Cost?
A Kentucky background check costs $20 by check or money order via the Kentucky State Police.
Overall, the processes and steps of obtaining official records in Kentucky vary depending on the person requesting the information, the governmental institution through which the background check is conducted, and the type of Kentucky background check required.
1Rodgers, Matthew. (2021). Kentucky State Background Checks: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from <https://iprospectcheck.com/kentucky-state-background-checks/>
2FindLaw Staff. (2018). Kentucky Revised Statutes Title XIII. Retrieved from <https://codes.findlaw.com/ky/title-xiii-education/ky-rev-st-sect-160-151.html>