What Is a Level 2 Background Check, How Far Back Does It Show? (Not Just Florida)

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Background Checks | May 9, 2024

Floating white and blue steps showing the four levels of background checks with Level 2 Background Check marked on second step.

For whatever reason, you may be asking yourself, what is a level 2 background check and what does it show?

Furthermore, you might be confused when you read most articles that talk about Florida’s official definition. Does a level 2 background check even apply to other states?

These are both valid questions, and knowing all the facts about a level 2 background check is just as beneficial for the party requiring the check, as it is to the person whose background is being checked.

Did you know that you can run a level two background search quickly with just a name and location?

Level 2 Background Check
Run a level 2 background check in 60 seconds to uncover criminal records, employment history, and more.

What Makes a Florida Level 2 Background Check Different?

To be clear, Florida may be the only state to have an official definition for a level 2 background check, but the term also applies to background checks that can be run in every state.

Background checks are most commonly conducted for employment purposes,3 but they’re also used for many other reasons. You may be required to submit to a background check as part of routine screenings for a volunteer position, acceptance into a new apartment building or rental for your business, or even when purchasing a new firearm.

If this happens, how far back does a background check show, and does it mean something different for Florida vs. other states?

What’s the Difference Between Level 1 and Level 2 Background Checks?

There are different levels of background checks, including level 1 and level 2. They may vary by state but are usually very similar. Each one is used for different reasons and has its own requirements to be completed.

A level 1 check is usually the most basic type of background screening that can be completed. It only checks local public records and local criminal records. However, even these records may be limited depending on who is performing the search. For example, some providers of level 1 checks may only provide information regarding employment history without touching on other aspects like credit reports, criminal charges, or tenant records.

A level 2 background check is a step up from a level 1 background check.

A level 2 background check is going to uncover what’s included in a level 1 background check, but it will access more records and dig deeper into your history. It requires your consent and your fingerprints. You also have the right to access a copy of your background check after it has been completed.

Digital fingerprint graphics outlining ways to reduce how long it takes for a background check to come back and answering why are background checks taking so long to come back as well as how long does it take for a criminal background check to come back.

The main difference between a level 1 and level 2 background check is that level 1 background checks search only local county and state records, whereas a level 2 check is also going to include national records.

Note: a level 2 background check is considered one of the available extensive background check types.

Understanding a Level 2 Background Check: What’s Included?

Understanding what’s included in a level 2 background check can give you some peace of mind whenever you’re undergoing a background screening, or if you’re the person requiring it. Both personal and criminal information is included in a level 2 background check.

Personal Information: What’s Included?

The personal information included in a level 2 background check will include the local information from a level 1 background check and personal information from a national records check. This can include basic personal information like your address history and your employment history, but it may also include more personal information like your credit history or other financial and tax records.

A few standard items of personal information included in a level 2 background check are:

  • Previous addresses where you’ve lived
  • Previous employers who you’ve worked for
  • Marital status can be uncovered with public marriage records
  • Taxes, credit history, and other financial information (learn more about tax records on a background check)
  • Education and professional credentials

Criminal Information: What’s Included?

The criminal information included in a level 2 background check will be more in-depth than the criminal information included in a level 1 background check. This makes sense because a Level 2 background check involves submitting your fingerprints to run through national criminal databases, whereas Level 1 background checks are most likely only going to include criminal information at the local county, city, or state levels. The criminal information that is included will depend on how far back your background check goes.

A criminal background check in Florida can go back as far as 10 years or more in some cases.

A few standard items of criminal information included in a level 2 background check are:

  • Misdemeanor convictions
  • Felony convictions
  • Pending criminal cases
  • Judgements in civil court
  • Arrests
  • Sex offenses
  • Jail or prison records

What Is a Level 2 Background Check Looking For?

A level 2 background check is primarily looking for any sort of criminal offense. As we mentioned, a level 2 background check will include the same information as a level 1. Although a level 1 background check does include a criminal background check, it’s only for state and local levels.

On the other hand, a level 2 background check uses your fingerprints to search national records and databases, making the search focus on criminal activity much more in-depth. This can be useful for uncovering background check tax records (liens) and other financial misconduct.

The goal isn’t necessarily to find criminal offenses but rather to look for signs that might indicate poor personal character, which can include being untrustworthy, habits of risky behavior, or taking advantage of others.

How Far Back Does a Level 2 Background Check Go?

The extent to which level 2 background screenings go can be as long as 10 or more years in some cases, but the average is seven years. Level 2 background checks will go further than seven years if the annual employment salary is $75,000 or more.

Laws regarding background check reporting are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and fall under the rules of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).1 Consumer reporting agencies are not supposed to report any information that’s considered negative if it’s more than seven years old, with the exception of bankruptcies, that is not to be reported if 10 years or older.

A general rule of thumb used by many employers is that jobs paying annual salaries of less than $75,000 will go back an average of seven years. If the job you’re applying for has an annual salary of $75,000 or more, then your background check may include information from more than seven years ago.

What Does a Level 2 Background Check Show Potential Employers?

A level 2 background check is going to show potential employers several different types of information, reported by different reporting agencies. Here is a list of what employers see from level 2 background checks. Running one on yourself is a great way to see what a level 2 background check is going to show potential employers.

  • Misdemeanor or felony convictions
  • Pending criminal cases
  • Judgements in civil court
  • Arrests, whether or not convicted, and including dismissals
  • Convictions that were expunged or sealed
  • Sex offenses
  • Prison records
  • Domestic terrorist watch list

It is important to note that employers are required by law to conduct level 2 background checks for certain positions, such as those in the medical field and caregiver industry. More detailed information on these can be found below:

Typical Level 2 Background Check Disqualifying Offenses (What Disqualifies You From a Level 2 Background Check?)

Level 2 background checks help employers look for disqualifying offenses for employment. The full list of potential disqualifying offenses is specific to each state’s laws and the rules for the company or position for which you’re applying.

Graphic showing the typical level 2 background check disqualifying offenses

Here is a short list of some of the most common disqualifying offenses for employment that can be found in level 2 background checks.

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Vehicular Homicide
  • Felony Assault and or Battery
  • Elder abuse or neglect
  • Fraud and other financial crimes (Common in jobs handling money)
  • Crimes Against Children or the Elderly
  • Sex Offender Registry Placement
  • Violent Crimes and Convictions
  • White Collar Criminal Activity and Convictions (embezzlement, fraud, etc. )
  • Felonies and some Misdemeanors

Level 2 Background Check: Florida Definition

Florida is the only state that has its own legal definition for a level 2 background check.

Florida statute 435.04 defines a level 2 background check as a security background investigation where a potential employee is required to submit fingerprints to be screened through state law enforcement agencies,2 as well as a national criminal history records check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Is a Level II Background Check in Florida Different?

There is technically no difference between a level ii background check in Florida and level 2 background checks in other states. Florida just happens to be the only state with a level 2 background check defined in their state legislature.

A level 2 background check in Florida will require the same information as a level 2 background check in another state, and screen that information through the same type of reporting agencies. If you were to get a level 2 background for Florida criminal records and another state at the same time, both of them should produce the same history records.

How Far Back Does a Level 2 Background Check Go in Florida?

A level 2 background in Florida goes back as far as seven years on average. Level 2 background checks in Florida follow the same general rules we talked about in level 2 background checks, so items like bankruptcies can remain on a report for 10 years, and background checks for employment positions where the employee’s annual salary is more than $75,000 may go back another seven years.

Ensuring Your Information Is Correct

It is up to you to ensure that the information on your background check is true and accurate. If you find something that should be in your background check or anything that shouldn’t be, it’s important to update any missing information or correct any sort of errors as soon as possible.

Can a Level 2 Criminal Background Check Be Inaccurate?

It is very unlikely that a level 2 criminal background check is going to be inaccurate. Level 2 background checks use fingerprints, so the odds of your fingerprints being linked to something inaccurate are most likely not going to happen. However, the same cannot be said for a level 1 check that does not utilize fingerprints and instead relies only on someone’s name or age. It is especially likely to be incorrect if only a first and last name is used (finding someone’s middle name can cut down on errors significantly though).

At the same time, identity theft is real, and if you do find any sort of inaccuracies in your criminal background check, it’s recommended to fix them right away.

How Can I Fix Misinformation?

Fixing mistakes on a criminal background check can take time, which is why it’s critical to start the process as soon as you can. The first step is to contact the law enforcement agency that is reporting the misinformation to either get it cleared up or get pointed in the right direction.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces laws regarding employment discrimination. If you think misinformation that is being reported on your background check is being used to discriminate against you, they have several suggestions and resources to help.4

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does a Level 3 Background Check Compare to a Level 2?

A level 3 check is a slightly more thorough check that will typically include a search of the Fraud Abuse Control Information System (FACIS) that is used within the medical industry for healthcare personnel.


1Federal Trade Commission. (2024). Fair Credit Reporting Act. FTC.gov. Retrieved May 2, 2024, from <https://www.ftc.gov/legal-library/browse/statutes/fair-credit-reporting-act>

2State of Florida Legislature. (2024). The 2023 Florida Statute 435.04. Online Sunshine. Retrieved May 2, 2024, from <http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0400-0499/0435/Sections/0435.04.html>

3U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2024). Background Checks. EEOC.gov. Retrieved May 2, 2024, from <https://www.eeoc.gov/background-checks>

4U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2024). Background Checks: What Job Applicants and Employees Should Know. EOOC.gov. Retrieved May 2, 2024, from <https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/background-checks-what-job-applicants-and-employees-should-know>

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it