frequently asked questions
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What is Livescan?
Livescan is the only Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and FBI-approved and certified hardware & software equipment and process to submit fully electronic Level 2 background check requests (includes personal data and electronically scanned fingerprints) to law enforcement agencies.
In Livescan Fingerprinting a Livescan technician uses approved and certified Livescan hardware & software to collect electronic fingerprints & data from an applicant in preparation for a Level 2 background check electronic submission request.
Who is allowed to submit Level 2 Livescan background check requests?
- If your background check is for Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW), your level 2 background check must be performed by a law enforcement officer, agency, or office.
- If not for CCW, any FDLE approved Livescan Service Provider (LSP), (such as us), who is using certified Livescan hardware, software, and electronic submission processes is potentially capable and allowed to submit any type of Level 2 Livescan background check request within the state of Florida.
- Some of the Florida regulatory agencies, such as DCF, HMSV, AHCA & DOH, etc., also have their own additional approval process and LSP list for an already FDLE approved LSP. Thus, it is always recommended for an organization or individual to check the approved LSP list available on your regulatory agency’s website.
- To perform AHCA Clearinghouse submissions, an LSP must also be certified by AHCA for data exchange compliance and ANSI/NIST SAP 40 photo compliance before being authorized to submit to the Clearinghouse.
What is a Level 2 background check and when is it required?
- A “Level 2” background check request is a state of Florida term to refer to a law enforcement background check through both the FDLE and the FBI and includes the submission of both fingerprints and demographic / privacy information of an applicant. Applicant submissions are computer checked against several different law enforcement databases and hot sheets, and the fingerprints are compared against the FDLE felony database and the FBI NCIS database.
- A “Level 2” background check can be accomplished by law enforcement agencies only when one is required by state and/or federal law or statute, as opposed to other pre-employment type background checks (often called “Level 1” or “public records” checks) which are done because an organization elects to do one – usually to protect themselves from potential future litigation, for insurance policy requirements, and as a “discovery” process to research and verify stated and unknown facts about a potential or current employee.
Who requires a Level 2 Livescan background check?
- Anyone, when required by Florida or federal law or statute, due to their employment or volunteer position.
- Applicants for most state of Florida (DBPR) level licenses, medical (DOH) licenses, and Medicaid licenses; the latter of which only requires screening for the owners/officers listed in their license application.
- Applicants, in any capacity, who will be employed by, or volunteer with, organizations regulated by AHCA, such as Healthcare Services Providers; and manufacturers, distributors, sellers, managers, or administrators of prescription drugs and/or regulated medications.
- Applicants, who manage, invest, sell, distribute, or otherwise have fiduciary responsibilities over other people’s money, such as investors, stockbrokers, insurance agents, trusted agents, etc.
- Anyone who works or volunteers with the “vulnerable population,” generally defined to include children, elderly, or disabled.
Do I need a Livescan background check for Summer Camp?
- Yes, for all the following: owners, operators, employees, and volunteers (including minors) working in summer day camps and summer 24-hour camps providing care for children. Volunteers who assist on an intermittent basis for less than 10 hours per month do not need to be screened if a person who meets the screening requirement is always present and maintains the volunteer in his or her line of sight.
- Athletic coaches and athletic volunteers are screened through VECHS, not through DCF (the FL Department of Children and Families), as are all other owners, operators, employees, or volunteers.
- Anyone who has a current clearance through DCF, AHCA, or DOH and who has not had more than a 90-day break in employment is not required to be rescreened but will need to obtain a “Letter of Clearance” from those agencies to provide for the summer camp staff to maintain in your personnel file, along with a “Release Authorization” allowing the organization to have your information, and an “Affidavit of Good Moral Conduct.”
- A Level 2 “Livescan” Screening must be accomplished within 60 days of the start of the summer camp.
- You must provide the ORI number and the OCA number to the Livescan Service Provider.
What are the I.D. requirements for Minors for a Level 2 Livescan background check?
- Except for “last I.D. preference” when an adult is vouching for and verifying a minor’s identity, it is not required but always recommended, to have a parent, guardian, or adult accompany a minor to their Level 2 “Livescan” Background Check fingerprinting and/or photo appointment. Additionally, we accept school IDs as a form of identification when an individual is under 18.
For how long is a Livescan background check clearance good?
In most cases, your background check clearance is good for 5 years. Some agencies require more frequent periodic screenings for especially sensitive fields, such as OFR licensures for those who deal with others’ money and investments. Check with your specific agency or organization for the length of your clearance.
What is the Livescan background check process and how long does it take to obtain the results?
- For you: make an appointment, provide the required information, show the proper I.D.’s be electronically fingerprinted, and make your one all-inclusive payment.
- For the Livescan Service Provider: collect all the necessary information, fingerprints and photo (if req’d), verify, process, crop & submit your Level 2 “Livescan” background check request to the law enforcement agencies, as appropriate. We also collect one payment for you which includes payment for all of your required state fees.
- Within the state of Florida, the vast majority of background check requests are submitted to FDLE (the FL Dept. of Law Enforcement), who checks state records and then forwards the request to the FBI who checks nationwide and international records. The results of the background check research are sent back to FDLE who then forwards this information to the correct Florida regulatory agency, as identified by the ORI number (a.k.a. “routing number”) you provided to your LSP. Unless “flags” pop up, this is a mostly automated process, with this information arriving back to the Florida regulatory agency most typically within 24 to 48 hours.
- Once the Florida regulatory agency receives the returned background check results, it is matched with your application and then checked against their requirements. A “determination” of “cleared/approved” or “denied” is then made, at which point your organization and/or you will be notified that the “determination” is available. Individual results notifications are most often provided through the issuance of a license, a letter authorizing participation in a state test, or a letter of denial (some of which may be appealed). Organizational notifications for employees or volunteers mean the organization is then able to retrieve the “determination” from the appropriate Florida regulatory agency website through a passworded log-in process.
- While the law enforcement background check results are typically returned to the regulatory agency within 24 to 48 hours, the agency’s workload most often affects how quickly the “determination” is made and the results are made available. Please note that VECHS results are often returned in 24 hours or less, which DBPR submissions often take a couple of weeks to receive an issued license or testing permission letter.
What do I do if the results are not returned in a timely manner?
Once the LSP submits your Level 2 “Livescan” background check request, due to privacy laws, the LSP (us) receives no further information regarding the results, status, or progress of your background check. Thus, if you have not heard back from the regulatory agency in a timely manner, which most often means within 2 weeks, then you should directly contact the appropriate Florida regulatory agency. You will wish to have the Livescan Summary Sheet we provided at the time of your screening on hand, as the date of your screening/submission and the T.C.N. (Transaction Control Number) are on it. The T.C.N. is the actual “record number” of your background screening and by entering this number, the regulatory agency will be able to directly pull up the status of the background check and any additional information or issues.
Where are my background check results sent?
- Individual results notifications are most often provided through the issuance of a license, a letter authorizing participation in a state test, or a letter of denial (some of which may be appealed).
- Organizational notifications for employees or volunteers mean the organization is then able to retrieve the “determination” from the appropriate Florida regulatory agency website through a password-protected log-in process.
- Please note that unlike elective “Level 1” checks, which is the return of “public records” information to a requesting organization, mandatory “Level 2” check results of law enforcement records are considered “private” information (by law) and results are only shared with the appropriate regulatory agency. You and/or your organization will only receive the “determination” previously discussed.
- Should you wish to know what is actually in the law enforcement records about you, you will need to go to the various law enforcement agency websites (FDLE and/or FBI, etc.), request your personal records by completing their on-line application forms, and then pay their fee to receive this information.
FD-258 Fingerprint Cards
While our technicians are trained to scan your fingerprints onto an FD-258 card, we are unable to send them from our office. If you have questions on where to send them or where the results end up, we suggest getting in touch with the agency that requested you be fingerprinted on a card.
Can I use the Livescan background check results for another organization or for another license?
This is a complicated question, and the answer depends upon your specific situation:
- As a general note, most Level 2 “Livescan” background clearances are good within the same regulatory agency for 5 years from the date of submission, as long as there is no break in employment of 90 days or more.
- It is also important to know that unless a felony record is involved, privacy laws allow the FDLE or a FL regulatory agency to keep previous background check results or clearances on file for only 6 months.
- If your previous screening was conducted on or after 1/1/2013 and it included entry into the Clearinghouse, then your screening is good for 5 years with any regulatory agency that participates in the FL Clearinghouse. (As of this writing, this only includes AHCA and DOH, but is soon to include DCF, DOEA, APD, DJJ, and DVR.)
- If your previous clearance was for an organization regulated by the same FL regulatory agency as is your new organization, then it may be possible to use the previous clearance provided IF:
- Your old organization is willing to share your private information results with the new organization. Some organizations are not willing to do this for liability reasons or if they paid for the clearance.
- Your new organization is willing to accept your old information from a source other than the FL regulatory agency. Many organizations will only accept regulatory agency-issued results.
- If it is within 6 months of your previous background check clearance, you will likely be required to request and receive a “Letter of Clearance” from your regulatory agency to share with your new organization. It is not possible to request this letter after 6 months as the clearance is not kept.
- VECHS screenings can often be shared with other VECHS organizations IF it is of the same type, meaning either “employee” or “volunteer.” This is not a guarantee, and the 3 items in the bullet above apply. You will need to check with the VECHS division of FDLE and also with your organizations.
- In certain instances, if it is within 6 months of your previous clearance, it is possible to obtain a “Letter of Clearance” to share among some of the FL regulatory agencies, most notable: AHCA, DOH, DCF, and DOEA.
- Clearances obtained for one license cannot be used for another license application.
- Bottom line, it is often more convenient, simpler, and far less time-consuming to schedule and have another Livescan background check. This also has the advantage of restarting your 5 year clearance clock.
What is an ORI number or a VECHS number? How about an O.C.A. number?
The ORIginating Agency Identifier number does much more than identify the regulatory agency (and division within it) to where the Level 2 “Livescan” background check results will be sent once the law enforcement agencies have finished their research. Here are the reasons the state of Florida requires you to provide the correct ORI number to the Livescan Service Provider (LSP), meaning us:
- It functions as a routing number to make certain your background check results are electronically delivered to the correct regulatory agency and office location. Without the right number, the results will never arrive and you will need to submit again (and pay for) your Level 2 background check a second time.
- It functions as an identifier to allow the law enforcement agencies to know exactly why you are being screened and allows them to focus on researching the correct background items required. A wrong number means the wrong requirements will be used for your background check; thus, it will be invalid.
- It determines how much the law enforcement agencies will charge (FDLE collects your money through us) for your screening, and thus, the total your LSP will then charge you for your screening. A wrong number means you may likely be charged an incorrect amount for your submission.
Volunteer and Employee Criminal History Search number, or VECHS number, functions in the same fashion as does the ORI number above. Whereas ORI numbers are specifically for FL regulatory agencies and activities, a VECHS number is assigned to each approved organization and is used to ensure compliance with mandatory (by law required) Level 2 “Livescan” background screenings that do not fall under the purview of one of the FL agencies. VECHS screenings are most often accomplished to protect the “vulnerable” population, meaning children, the elderly, and the disabled. When a VECHS number is used, the background check results are returned directly into the Civil Workflow Control System (managed by a division within FDLE) and are used to make applicant suitability “determinations” which are then made available to the gaining organizations.
The Organization Controlling Agency Identifier or O.C.A. number is assigned to the specific organization receiving an applicant’s “determination” from the FL regulatory agency which received the law enforcement background check results. O.C.A. numbers are no longer used by any FL regulatory agency, with the exception of DCF, due to the very large numbers of organizations they regulate and to ensure correct post “determination” routing. IF you are having a Level 2 “Livescan” background check accomplished for a DCF regulated organization, you will also be required to bring the O.C.A. number, along with the ORI number, to your fingerprinting to give to the LSP.
How do I find my ORI or VECHS number?
Florida requires each applicant to provide the correct ORI # or VECHS # to the Livescan Service Provider (us). Here’s where you can find your ORI or VECHS number:
- The H.R. Person who manages background screening compliance for your organization
- The FL license or FL application Instructions – or the reason why you’re being screened
- The FL Agency (on-line or by phone) which is responsible for your background check results
- Note 1: All DCF Screenings also require an O.C.A. #, which is assigned to every DCF approved organization
- Note 2: Most FL Agencies also have their O.R.I. #(s) available on their website for your specific reason
- Note 3: As a last resort as it takes the most time, you can also call your regulatory agency directly
- Note 4: VECHS #’s are specific to an organization, so they can only be obtained from either the organization or from the “VECHS division” within the FDLE.
- IF you still cannot find or locate your ORI #, please call us directly and we will do our best to help you.
What is the Clearinghouse?
- The “Clearinghouse” (a.k.a. AHCA Clearinghouse) is a Florida-only data repository of your most recent Level 2 “Livescan” background screening results determination. It commenced on 1/1/2013 with the intent, to the best extent possible, of being able to share a previous background check results determination among participating Florida agencies and their regulated organizations, and thus reduce the number of background screenings you may otherwise be required to accomplish.
- Your most recent results determination is maintained in the Clearinghouse for 5 years and is sharable among all “participating” Florida agencies who have agreed upon the same background screening requirements.
- Your gaining organization must have received a certification or approval by the appropriate (and participating) Florida regulatory agency for it to be able to apply for and create a Clearinghouse account, and to then be able to retrieve your existing background check results determination.
- At this time, the Clearinghouse is used by AHCA, DCF, DOH, and DVR. Expected to be added in the near future are APD, DOEA, and DJJ. For more AHCA Clearinghouse information, go here: Clearinghouse, and Clearinghouse for DCF and Summer Camps.
How does my organization create a Clearinghouse account?
- Once your organization is approved/certified by a Florida regulatory agency that participates in the Clearinghouse, you may go to the Clearinghouse website and complete and submit a “User Registration Agreement” to be approved and to obtain your log-in account here: ClearinghousePortal_UserRegistrationGuide_AHCA.pdf
- The application process/application/approval typically takes about 1 week, although it is often possible to speed up the process by calling directly to the AHCA Background Screening Unit at (850) 412-4503
- When your “User Registration Agreement” is approved, you will then be able to create your log-in account, sign into the Clearinghouse, and obtain the results determinations for each of your applicants.
We have a Clearinghouse account but can’t retrieve the results. What do we do?
- To retrieve an applicant’s background check results determination for your organization from the Clearinghouse, you must have first accomplished each of the following items:
- Be an approved/certified organization by your regulatory agency that participates in the Clearinghouse
- Have an approved “User Registration Agreement” on file with the AHCA Background Screening Unit
- Have set up your Clearinghouse log-in account (with username and password)
- Have created a “profile” for the applicant who is to be screened or who was screened (Note that failure to accomplish the profile within 10 days of the applicant’s screening results in your payment of a penalty to AHCA before you will be able to retrieve the applicant’s results determination.)
- Have certified (with a button click) that you have printed out, had signed, and filed in the applicant’s personnel folder a “release authorization” agreement, authorizing you to receive the results.
- Once all the above has been accomplished and at least 1 week has elapsed since the submission of the Level 2 “Livescan” background screening, then you will wish to call directly to the AHCA Background Screening Unit at (850) 412-4503, to see if there is an issue with the return of a particular applicant’s results.
Although it most likely could not be an issue, you are always welcome to call us and confirm that we submitted your applicant’s screening request to both FDLE and the Clearinghouse. Please know and understand that while Livescan Service Providers (LSPs) have a limited two-way data exchange capability with the Clearinghouse, we are unable to sign in to it and are unable to call up information in it for any applicant or previously cleared person.
What should I do if I have poor fingerprints or if my fingerprints were rejected by the FBI?
We have a page for that. Please review the info “if your prints are rejected” page.
How much does a Level 2 Livescan fingerprinting and submission cost?
Level 2 Livescan background check prices are determined by four factors: the law enforcement agencies’ fees (a.k.a. the “FDLE fee”), any additional FL state fees (such as the AHCA Clearinghouse fee), whether or not photographs are required, and each Livescan Service Provider’s (LSP) fee. Dependent on the type of screening being done and the different fees charged for that type of screening, the total of these fees together can range from a low of $53.00 to a high of around $96.00. Please understand that an LSP can only control their portion of this total fee as the remaining state fees are never discounted by the state, regardless of how many submissions are being made, and the LSP’s have no control over them. Further, the state fees are charged to the LSP at the moment of a Level 2 Livescan submission for each and every one of your applicants.
Unlike fingerprint submissions at a law enforcement office where you pay a fee to that office and then must separately go to a state website, create a log-in account, and then pay the state fees; LSP’s collect the total fee in one payment from you and then very conveniently pay all the required state fees for you. Again, our goal is to make this process as simple, quick, efficient and streamlined as possible for you.
To determine the exact price for your type of background screening, simply go to our online scheduling calendar, check the appropriate boxes or click on the appropriate dropdowns, and you will then be able to see all the applicable fees and the total fee for your Level 2 Livescan background screening.
What do I need to bring to my Livescan background check appointment?
- Two forms of I.D.: a government-issued color photo I.D. and a secondary I.D., such as a credit card, etc. A Florida driver’s license is preferred as we can swipe the magnetic stripe on the back for the information.
- Social Security Number (Note: Aliens not living in the USA do not need one, but it will take longer for the results.)
- Payment: credit or debit card is preferred, cash is good, checks accepted but delay your Livescan submission
- If this is for a Clearinghouse/photo submission, please groom & dress appropriately and remove all headwear
- Please do not wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately before your appointment!
How much do FD-258 fingerprint cards cost?
The flat rate for our FD-258 Fingerprint card service is $75.00 plus tax.