Performing a Tennessee criminal background check allows users to access the public criminal records information of any citizen residing in the State. An employer may wish to conduct a search of this nature when selecting an applicant for a position of employment. However, the employer must first give prior notice to an applicant and inform them that a criminal search may be required in order to be eligible for the position. Note that an employer may not review an applicant’s criminal history at the initial screening process but must instead wait until a legitimate offer of employment has been proposed (see Senate Bill 2440 for more information).

Cost – $29

Laws – § 10-7-501 through § 10-7-516

Step 1 – Authorization Form

The Fair Credit Reporting Act states that any third-party conducting a background check on an individual must first obtaining the subject’s written consent when accessing their non-public information. While the information available on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) search portal is public, it is still recommended that the subject provides consent to the search by filling out a Background Check Authorization Form.

Step 2 – Access the Search Portal

The following instructions are meant to serve those who are conducting a background check via the online portal. For instructions on submitting a background check by mail/paper, scroll down to Step 7. Start the online background check by navigating to the Tennessee Open Records Information Services website. Once there, locate the “Credit Card Customers” window and click Continue to proceed.

Step 3 – Requestor Information

Here, the requestor is required to enter his/her personal information in the available spaces. The necessary details are as follows:

  • Last name
  • First name
  • Middle initial (optional)
  • Street address
  • City
  • State
  • Zip/Postal code
  • Phone
  • E-mail
  • Confirm E-mail

After the above information has been entered, click Submit Form to continue.

Step 4 – Subject Information

Next, specify the following details to describe the subject of the search:

  • Last name
  • First name
  • Middle name (optional)
  • Street address (optional)
  • City
  • State
  • Zip code
  • Date of birth
  • Race
  • Sex
  • SSN (optional)
  • Alias last name (optional)
  • Alias first name (optional)

A notarized copy of the report can be requested by clicking the small box located next to “Notarize”. It is also possible to request a criminal background check for additional individuals by selecting Save & Add Another. When ready, select Save & Submit to continue.

Step 5 – Summary of Payment

A review of the processing fee is presented here ($29 per background check). Click Continue to proceed on to the payment process.

Step 6 – Submit Payment

Lastly, the requestor must provide their credit card and billing information in the spaces provided. Once entered, click Continue and navigate through the remaining pages to complete the background check. If the results show a record of criminal history, the applicant shall be given the opportunity to provide an explanation to the employer in that regard.

Step 7 – Submit by Mail

This step is meant for those who have chosen to submit the background check through the mail. Download the Criminal History Information Request Form and fill it in with the requestor’s information, a return address, the subject’s information, and the requisite debit/credit card details for payment (if not paying by check or money order).

Step 8 – Submit Form

The complete form must be mailed to TBI with the $29 fee enclosed. If paying by credit/debit card, all payment information will have been provided when the form was filled in. Otherwise, attach a check or money order and mail the form to the below address. Results of the background check will be delivered to the return address specified on the form within three (3) to five (5) business days. The applicant shall be provided with the opportunity to explain the results of the background check in the event that the check shows a criminal history.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation – TORIS Unit, 901 R.S. Gass Blvd., Nashville, TN 37216