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Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Background Checks

BCA staff performs statutorily-required and discretionary criminal history record checks. The Minnesota Criminal History System (CHS) and, when authorized, the FBI's records are searched. Different types of background checks require different types of forms (see below) and different fees. Requests for background checks may be made by mail or in person:

Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

CHA Unit

1430 Maryland Ave. E.

St. Paul, MN 55106

For questions regarding any of the background check options or to request an appointment, contact the BCA at 651-793-2400, select option 7.

Who is allowed to do background checks?

State and federal statutes determine what kinds of agencies and organizations can conduct criminal history record checks. These may include school hiring authorities; agencies which employ private security personnel; organizations that work with children, the elderly or disabled; rental property owners who hire individuals to manage their properties; and more.

National fingerprint-based background check requirements

Agencies that conduct national fingerprint-based criminal history record checks are required to follow certain FBI processes.

Agencies must provide the applicant with the Privacy Act statement and the applicant must acknowledge receipt of that statement.

Applicants who are the subject of a national fingerprint-based criminal history record check have certain privacy rights.


What kinds of background checks are available?

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension can provide criminal history information as statute allows.

General Informed Consent

With the notarized consent of the data subject, anyone may request a criminal history record background check.

Serve America Act

Federal law (H.R. 1388, Sec. 1614) requires organizations receiving grants funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service whose employees work with vulnerable individuals (children, the elderly or disabled) to complete a background check on those employees, including state and federal criminal history check and a search of the predatory offender database.  Appropriate permissions must be provided by the employee.

If your program is in a state other than Minnesota, and the applicant was a Minnesota resident at the time of their application, please use the Serve America Act Consent Form when requesting the state criminal history background check.


School Hiring Authorities

Minnesota schools (123B.03) are required to conduct background checks on any employees who will have contact with children as part of their jobs. Organizations who conduct background checks on behalf of schools or school districts may also be provided with this information.  These schools/organizations must have the employee fill out a School Hiring Authority Consent Form to obtain this data.


Rental Properties

The Kari Koskinen Manager Background Check Act (299C.66, 299C.67, 299C.68, 299C.69, 299C.70, 299C.71) requires Minnesota rental property owners to conduct background checks on any employee who may access a tenant's home as part of their duties.

Child Protection Background Check Act

The Minnesota Child Protection Background Check Act (299C.60-64) authorizes children’s service providers to request criminal history background checks on individual children’s service workers.  Children’s services include: the provision of care, treatment, education, training, instruction or recreation.

Firefighter Background Checks

Minnesota Statute (299F.035) requires criminal history background checks on all applicants for employment at a fire department. For applicants who have not lived in Minnesota for five years, a federal criminal history background check is also required.

Private Security Officers


Minnesota Statute (326.336requires businesses which hire private security officers to conduct background checks on those employees.

States without statutes authorizing an FBI criminal history check

The Private Security Officer Employment Authorization Act (PSOEAA) (Public Law 108-458 Section 6402) authorizes a state and national (FBI) fingerprint based criminal history check to screen prospective and current private security officers.  This law allows for an alternate state, in this case Minnesota, to submit the requests to the FBI on behalf of the employing agency. 

Predatory Offender Registration Check

In addition to criminal history information, the BCA maintains private Predatory Offender Registry information.  This information may be accessed in conjunction with a criminal history record check when the appropriate consent is submitted.

For questions regarding any of these background check options, contact the BCA at 651-793-2400.


What steps are needed to continue receiving criminal history information if your agency is a Noncriminal Justice Public Agency?

All Noncriminal Justice (NCJ) Public Agencies receiving federal criminal history information must enter into an agreement with the BCA and obtain a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) assigned ORI.  These items are required by the BCA as we begin implementing a FBI required audit of all NCJ Public Agencies.

  • Step 1 – Request and receive a Noncriminal Justice Public Agency introductory letter.
  • Step 2 – Follow the instructions in the letter to start the agreement/ORI process.
  • Step 3 – Communicate with the BCA as needed during the agreement/ORI process.
  • Step 4 – After receiving your assigned ORI, enter this number on the fingerprint card when submitting background checks to the BCA.
  • Step 5 - An auditor will be assigned to your agency.  The auditor will contact your agency to begin the onboarding process that explains the audit and the overall process.  The audit will not take place immediately.  With the guidance of your auditor, the agency will have time to acclimate to policy requirements and to understand the audit process.