Pennsylvania

CNCS provides this state by state guide for informational purposes only and makes reasonable efforts to ensure the quality of the information. You are responsible for determining the suitability of the information and your use of the information in this guide, and for compliance with NSCHC requirements (45 CFR 2540.200 - .207). CNCS makes no express or implied warranty, no representation, nor assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, correctness, timeliness, or completeness of any information in, or available through, this guide. The information in this guide is presented in good faith and believed to be correct. You assume the risk of relying on the information contained in this guide. Links to non-CNCS websites are provided for informational purposes only.

CNCS is not responsible for the content of non-CNCS websites. CNCS neither endorses the information, content, presentation, or accuracy nor makes any express or implied warranty regarding external websites or any commercial product or service.

If you identify information that is outdated, please notify us at CHC@cns.gov.

Pennsylvania is an open records state.
Some form of criminal history information is open to the public in “open records” states. In “closed records” states, access to criminal history information is not generally available to the public, but is available to authorized entities (e.g. law enforcement agencies).
 

Contact Information

Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Records & Information Services
Phone: 1-888-QUERY-PA (1-888-783-7972)
 

State Checks 

General Information on State Checks:

  • While two options for types of state checks are listed below, name-based and fingerprint-based, only one type of state check is required. CNCS does not recommend one of these checks over the other. Either the name-based state check or the fingerprint-based state check is acceptable.
  • Please note that to be in compliance with CNCS requirements, recipients may have to conduct checks in up to two states: the  state of service/work check on individuals in covered positions, as well as a state of residence check (i.e. if the state of residence is different from the state of service/work at the time of application).


Name-Based State Checks

Available from: Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Records & Information Services 
 
What is released: “No record,” “request under review,” or “record.” The Request under Review status does not necessarily mean that the person has a criminal history record, and indicates that the information is being manually reviewed. A “no record” result will be returned to the requestor immediately if using the PATCH online system (see below). All “record” responses will be mailed to the requestor at the address provided. It may take up to 2 weeks for a status to be updated from a “request under review” status to a “no record” or “record” status. 
 
Cost: $22.00 (electronic request through the State Police online PATCH [Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History] system; a mailed record is no longer available). There is no fee for volunteer checks. $27.00 for notarized criminal history record results.
 
How long does it take to obtain results? If no record and using the electronic system, immediately. Between two weeks and four weeks for a “record” result or instances requiring further research.
 
Additional notes: Links to the request forms for criminal history checks (including the one for volunteer checks) can be found on this website under Item 2: http://www.psp.pa.gov/Pages/Request-a-Criminal-History-Record.aspx. Requests for notarized criminal history records must be mailed.
 

Fingerprint-Based State Checks

Available from: Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Records & Information Services. 
Links to the request forms for criminal history checks (including the one for volunteer checks) can be found on this website under Item 2: http://www.psp.pa.gov/Pages/Request-a-Criminal-History-Record.aspx
 
What is released: “No record,” “request under review,” or “record.” The Request under Review status does not necessarily mean that the person has a criminal history record, and indicates that the information is being manually reviewed. A “no record” result will be returned to the requestor immediately if using the PATCH online system (see below). All “record” responses will be mailed to the requestor at the address provided. It may take up to 2 weeks for a status to be updated from a “request under review” status to a “no record” or “record” status.
 
Cost: $22.00 (electronic request through the State Police online PATCH [Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History] system; a mailed record is no longer available). There is no fee for volunteer checks. $27.00 for notarized criminal history record results.
 
How long does it take to obtain results? 10 days
 
Additional notes: Links to the request forms for criminal history checks (including the one for volunteer checks) can be found on this website under Item 2: http://www.psp.pa.gov/Pages/Request-a-Criminal-History-Record.aspx. Requests for notarized criminal history records must be mailed.
 

 

Adjudication

See the information at this link for helpful information on how to read a rap sheet: https://epatch.state.pa.us/help/RAPSheet.jsp 

 

Approved Alternative Repositories 

State repositories are institutions that house and maintain the arrest and disposition (or outcome) information for cases handled in that state. Each state has a central repository, and CNCS has designated one in each state that grantees must use. In some cases, generally when a different institution is able to provide information that is equivalent to what is provided by the state repository, CNCS may designate them as an Approved Alternative Repository.
None at this time. 

 

FBI Checks 

 
State Repository Provides FBI Checks: Yes
 
Available to: Organizatons. See this website for more information: https://www.identogo.com/locations/pennsylvania.  IdentoGo is the exclusive fingerprinting provider for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Cogent was the Commonwealth’s former fingerprinting provider; they stopped providing fingerprinting services for FBI checks in November 2017.)
 
CNCS FBI Channeler:  Organizations that cannot successfully use the state repository for FBI checks may use CNCS’s FBI-approved Channeler, Fieldprint, for FBI checks. 
 
Cost: The cost for one FBI check through Fieldprint is $27.50. 
 
How long does it take to receive results? The majority of checks conducted electronically take no more than two business days from the date the fingerprints are captured. If an applicant does not live near a Fieldprint livescan location and fingerprints must be taken manually and mailed, it will take longer to receive the results. See the Fieldprint Guide and FAQ (linked below) for more information.
 
More information
Fieldprint Guide and FAQs: https://www.nationalservice.gov/FBIGuidance (see document, “Using Fieldprint as an FBI Channeler – A Guide for CNCS Recipients”)
Fieldprint website: http://www.fieldprintcncs.com/
 

NSOPW (National Sex Offender Public Website) Check

A required component of the NSCHC is a nationwide check of NSOPW.gov before an individual begins work or service in a covered position. Please note that a compliant nationwide NSOPW check must include reports from all states, territories, and tribes. If any state, territory, or tribe is unavailable at the time the NSOPW check is conducted, you must either run a nationwide NSOPW check again through NSOPW.gov and ensure that all entities are reporting, or run a separate check for each entity that is not reporting through the state sex offender registry website.

Please note that a check of a single state’s sex offender registry alone is not sufficient to meet the requirements of the nationwide NSOPW check requirement. The information provided in the State Sex Offender Registry Information section is for reference purposes only in the event that a single state sex offender registry check is necessary to supplement an incomplete nationwide NSOPW check.

State Sex Offender Registry Information

Pennsylvania Sex Offender Registry: https://www.pameganslaw.state.pa.us/

 

Individuals Requesting Criminal History Records (versus Organizations)

1. Please visit Pennsylvania’s Access to Criminal History website to obtain a criminal background check. The entire process can be completed online. 
2. Accept the terms and conditions and continue to the personal information page. Follow the steps on each page.
3. The background check costs $22.00, which must be paid by credit card. 
4. The applicant will receive the background check results within 24 hours, unless the applicant has a criminal background, in which case the results will be sent via mail, which may take up to ten business days. 
5. Bring sealed result to program to ensure chain of custody. 


Revised as of 2/12/2018

Enter Keywords to Find Resources:

 

 


Find us on Facebook


 

Have Feedback or Questions?

Email Us

Back to Top