Background checks can vary in how far back they go, depending on the type of check, its purpose, and the laws that apply. For instance, a background check for a job usually looks into your criminal history from the past seven years.

The ‘seven years rule’ refers to the standard that many background check companies follow of only reporting criminal convictions that are less than seven years old. This rule is not a federal law, but rather a guideline followed by many background check companies.

The purpose of the seven years rule is to strike a balance between providing relevant information to employers or landlords and giving individuals a chance to move on from past mistakes. However, it’s worth noting that some states have laws that restrict the reporting of criminal records for a certain period of time, so the seven years rule may not apply in all cases.

In addition, some employers may dig deeper and check your record from further back in time. Keep in mind, rules and regulations around background checks can be different from one place to another. To make sure you’re up to speed, it’s a good idea to do some research on the specific requirements for your area. Remember there are laws like the Fair Credit Reporting Act in the U.S., which limit the information that can be included in an employee background check and how it can be used.

What states follow the ‘seven-years rule’ for background checks?

In general, the following states follow the seven-year rule for pre-employment background checks:

— California
— Colorado
— Kansas
— Maryland
— Massachusetts
— Montana
— Nevada
— New York
— Texas
— Washington