An employer can conduct a criminal background check in Washington by accessing the WATCH (Washington Access to Criminal History) online portal. If the criminal history information is going to be used to determine whether an individual is hired or not, ensure that you only consider arrests which have been committed within the past ten (10) years and which are relevant to position available or that could effect the proposed duties. The employee or applicant is entitled to view the criminal records report within thirty (30) days after it has been provided to you.

Under the Criminal Records Privacy Act, anyone may access the public criminal record information without the consent of the subject.

Cost – $12 if submitted Online, $16 if submitted by Mail

Laws – Chapter 10.97 and § 162-12-140

Step 1 – Authorization Form

In the case that the criminal background check is being conducted as part of a full consumer report by a licensed consumer reporting agency (CRA), and the information being retrieved concerning the subject exceeds that of their criminal history, it may be pertinent to supply the subject with a Background Check Authorization Form prior to requesting the consumer report.

Step 2 – Access the WATCH Search Portal

Go to this webpage to access the Washington Access to Criminal History (WATCH) search portal. Once accessed, select Establish a New Credit Card Account.

Step 3 – Enter Personal Information

This page requires you to submit your personal information and to create a username and password for your account. In the empty spaces, enter the following information:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • E-mail address
  • Address1 (street)
  • City
  • State/Province
  • Country
  • Zip code
  • Telephone #
  • Selected user name
  • Password
  • Confirm password

Once the empty fields have been filled in, check the small box located beside “I have read and understood the above important information”. Click the Submit button to proceed.

Step 4 – Initiate Criminal History Search

With your account created, you can initiate the criminal records check by clicking the Criminal History Search option found within the menu bar at the top of the webpage.

Step 5 – Specify Subject Information

Next, you will need to enter the personal information of the individual being checked. In the empty spaces, enter the subject’s last name, first name, date of birth, gender, and any aliases that the individual might use. Once entered, click Add to Search Request.

Step 6 – Submit Request

A brief review of your request can be found on the right side of the webpage. Ensure that the submitted information was entered correctly before clicking Search Now.

Step 7 – Payment Information

The final step requires you to provide your payment information (card type, card number, etc.) and your billing address. Click Submit once all of the requisite information has been provided. The results of your search will be presented immediately after your request has been submitted.

Submit by Mail

Step 1 – Begin by downloading the Request for Conviction Criminal History Record. Once downloaded, fill in the form with the requisite information.

Step 2 – Mail the completed form to the Washing State Patrol (address below) with a $16 check or money order attached. The results will be delivered back to you within seven (7) to fourteen (14) business days.

                                                                                          Washington State Patrol                                                                                                                                                                      Identification and Background Check Section                                                                                                                                                                P.O. Box 42633                                                                                               Olympia, WA 98504-2633