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Criminal Background Check

Fingerprint-based Criminal Background Check

  • Since 1997, Minnesota Statute section 148E.055 has required all Board of Social Work applicants to complete a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) background check.
  • In 2013, the legislature enacted a new law, Minnesota Statute section 214.075, requiring 15 of the Health Licensing Boards, including the Board of Social Work, to begin a comprehensive, nationwide, fingerprint-based criminal background check (CBC) no later than January 1, 2018.   The purpose of a state and national background check is to ensure public safety in an increasingly mobile workforce.
  • The new background check replaced the current state-only background check process.

Who Must Complete the Fingerprint-based Criminal Background Check

  • All applicants for initial licensure and applicants for relicensure after a lapse in licensure must complete a fingerprint-based criminal background check under Minnesota Statute section 214.075.
  • This includes applicants for initial licensure, applicants for licensure by endorsement, and applicants for reactivation or reapplication after a lapse in licensure, including expiration or voluntary termination.
  • If fingerprints are not submitted to the Criminal Background Check Program Office within 90 days of the application received date, the CBC fee is void and a new CBC fee is required. 

Cost and Fingerprint Process

  • The CBC fee is $33.25 and is bundled with the application fee when you submit an application for licensure or application for reactivation to the Board.  Effective January 1, 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) increased the criminal background check (CBC) fee from $32 to $33.25.  All CBC fees received by the Board on or after January 1, 2019 must be $33.25.  Any incorrect fees received on or after January 1, 2019 are void and will be returned. 
  • Federal law prohibits sharing fingerprint-based CBC data; it can be used only for a single purpose.  Previous background checks for employment, military, internships, other licenses, or any other purpose cannot be accepted or used by the Board.  A CBC completed for the Board does not replace the CBC required by some employers.
  • When an application and fee for licensure or reactivation are received by the Board, the Health Licensing Board Criminal Background Check Program Office (CBC Program Office) will email instructions and forms directly to applicants.  Applicants must first receive instructions and required forms directly from the CBC Program Office via email or standard mail before completing the fingerprint-based background check.
  • Typically takes 3 weeks for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to process from date fingerprints are received by the CBC Program Office.  If fingerprints are not submitted to the CBC Program Office within 90 days of the application received date, the CBC fee is void and a new CBC fee is required.
  • You must complete a new fingerprint-based criminal background check if 1) your application is closed and if more than one year has elapsed since the CBC was submitted to the Board, or 2) there is a lapse in license, including expiration or voluntary termination, beginning January of 2018.  Reapplication and payment of the necessary fees is required.

Where to Get Fingerprinted

  • Applicants are responsible for obtaining and submitting fingerprints to the Criminal Background Check Program Office.  
  • Fingerprints may be obtained at one of the locations listed below:
Fingerprinting Cost Location
Free of charge Health Licensing Board Criminal Background Check Program Office (Minneapolis - appointment needed)
$10 fee Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Office (St. Paul)
Fee varies Law Enforcement Agencies (Police Department, County Sheriff's Office)
Fee varies Private Vendors (Criminal Background Check Program Office has authority to reject fingerprint cards from private vendors due to poor quality)

How Does the Board Use the Data?

  • The new CBC background check does NOT change how the Board reviews conviction data or who is qualified for licensure.
  • Convictions will continue to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis; no offense is an automatic bar to licensure.

Questions About the Fingerprint-Based Criminal Background Check Process or to Make an Appointment

Questions About the Licensure Application Process

  • Visit the Applicant page on the Board's website.

Criminal Background Check FAQs

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