Need a background check for work? DHS urges action

HARRISBURG –Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller today encouraged anyone needing background checks as a condition of employment to complete this requirement as soon as they are able. 

Earlier this year, Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 18 of 2020, which extended the time period for certain professionals to obtain an FBI criminal history background check upon hiring if they were unable to complete their fingerprinting scan due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extension for obtaining FBI criminal history background checks lasts until 60 days following the expiration of the disaster emergency declaration issued by Gov. Wolf or December 31, whichever is sooner, for new employees and until December 31 for employees renewing clearances.

“This initial extension helped ensure that people in professions that require clearances could continue to work during the stay-at-home period when many of the fingerprinting sites were closed,” Sec. Miller said. “Completing fingerprinting and clearance requirements ensures that people remain in compliance with clearances and do not get into a difficult situation if circumstances change.”

All individuals required to obtain additional clearances, including the Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check and the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance, must still obtain these clearances prior to employment or continued employment.

In order to receive an FBI criminal history background check, fingerprints must be submitted as part of the criminal history check. Fingerprints can be taken at IDEMIA IdentoGO locations around the commonwealth, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many IdentoGO locations were temporarily closed, creating challenges for people trying to meet the fingerprinting requirement.

Act 18 of 2020 applies to individuals who must get their FBI Criminal History Background Check prior to beginning employment as found in Section 6344 of the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) and those individuals required by Section 6344.4 of the CPSL that are due to have their fingerprint checks renewed.

The law does not extend the fingerprinting and background check requirement for new volunteers under the CPSL, public school employees prior to employment, and others required to receive FBI background checks under different departments.

Anyone seeking fingerprinting services should call IDEMIA’s customer service at 844-321-2101 or visit to ensure the location is still operating, schedule an appointment, and discuss necessary COVID-19 safety precautions.

For more information on Act 18 of 2020 and the clearance deadline extension, visit these Frequently Asked Questions.