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For anyone in search of a flexible gig that’s easy to qualify for, ridesharing is likely to fit the bill. But while it may be easy to drive for Lyft, the company still doesn’t accept 100% of applicants — and not all active drivers continue to be eligible either. The Lyft background check is the major roadblock that can prevent you from earning, but as long as you know what it entails, you can get screened with confidence every year.
Every Lyft driver is required to meet safety standards set by the company and by local laws. In order to protect riders, other drivers, and its own brand, Lyft runs a recurring background check — comprised of a criminal history and DMV check — on all drivers to look out for offenses that may make you a liability on the road. While many drivers will pass this driver requirement with flying colors, others may need to take a closer look at what Lyft actually considers disqualifications.
We’ll explain everything you need to know about the Lyft background check process below, so you know whether or not you should apply.
- Lyft Background Check Process
- What Does the Lyft Background Check Look For?
- Disqualifying Factors
- Frequently Asked Questions
Lyft Background Check Process
Whether you want to drive a standard Lyft car or provide fancier Lyft Lux Black rides, you’ll need to pass a comprehensive background check before you get on the road.
Authorizing a background check is built into the Lyft application process. Once you get to that stage of your application, you’ll simply need to provide your Social Security number and agree to the terms. Lyft will then run your criminal background check through Checkr, a secure third-party company that’s used by many major brands like Postmates and Instacart, and your DMV check through Safety Holdings Inc, another trusted third-party service.
The Lyft background check is completely free on your end, so you don’t have to worry about investing any money before you start your gig. A background check takes two to four days on average, though delays can cause some to take several weeks.
One of the most common reasons for a delay in an applicant’s review is their past addresses. If an applicant believes they should pass and do not, applicants are able to dispute the results. Disqualified drivers will receive a copy of their check via email.
Besides this, Lyft provides detailed instructions on how to dispute your results. Applicants can follow this advice to improve the odds of passing the check during the next attempt.
It is worth noting that the process for redoing a background review may take a few weeks to finish. You can always check your application status to see if your background check has gone through yet.
Of course, new drivers aren’t the only contractors who need to go through a criminal history and driving record check. To comply with local laws, Lyft usually reruns background checks every year, though this will only affect you if your driving experience if something potentially disqualifying comes up.
Lyft may also receive instant notifications if you get convicted of a disqualifying crime anytime throughout the year, due to its new criminal monitoring efforts, though comprehensive background checks are still only run about once per year.
Only in New York City is the Lyft background check always run by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) due to local regulations. In the TLC background check process, you may also be required to provide your fingerprints and get a medical checkup.
What Does the Lyft Background Check Look For?
The Lyft background check primarily looks for red flags in your driving record and criminal history, such as violent crimes. It is still possible to pass even if you have a few violations or convictions, as Lyft considers the type of criminal offenses on your record, how long ago they occurred, and whether or not they reoccurred.
When running the background check, Lyft’s contracted third-party companies will pull from national, county-level, and local databases to ensure they get the most comprehensive look at your history. In the U.S., they’ll run through records the Department of Motor Vehicles, the National Sex Offender Registry, the Federal Criminal Records database, and more.
Lyft Background Check Disqualifying Factors
All Lyft drivers are subject to safety criteria set in their specific cities, but there are some disqualifying factors shared across all markets. To pass your driving record check, you cannot have any of the following violations on your record:
- Over three moving violations, including car accidents and traffic light violations, in the most recent three years
- Any major moving violations, including reckless driving and driving on a suspended license, in the most recent three years
- Any DUI or other drug-related driving violation in the most recent seven years
- Any serious driving-related conviction, including hit-and-runs and vehicle-based felonies, in the most recent seven years
Lyft is even more strict when it comes to your criminal background check. In order to pass this part of your comprehensive background check, you cannot have convictions for any of these criminal offenses on your record:
- Violent crimes, including aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, carjacking, arson, kidnapping, homicide, and human trafficking
- Sexual offenses, including sexual assault, rape, and child pornography
- Acts of terrorism
- Fraud-related offenses in the most recent seven years
- Drug-related offenses in the most recent seven years
- Theft or property damage offenses in the most recent seven years
Like the driving record check, the criminal background check may also look for alcohol and drug-related driving violations from alternate databases.
Anyone listed on the National Sex Offender Registry database is automatically disqualified from driving with Lyft. Disqualifying time frames for some crimes may be higher or lower depending on your local laws.
As you can see, many minor misdemeanors actually won’t disqualify you from driving for Lyft, and even running a red light won’t immediately get you booted from the ridesharing gig. Lyft is fair when considering the severity of your offenses, so it may be worth filling out an application even if you have a couple marks on your records.
Frequently Asked Questions
Understanding the Lyft background check will know when you’re truly ready to apply. Read these FAQs for more insight into the criminal history and driving record check:
I didn’t pass the Lyft background check. Can I reapply?
Lyft doesn’t have an official reapplication process, but most drivers are able to reapply to Lyft within three to six months. However, you may need to contact Lyft support to request to reapply if you’re still having any issues.
If you believe your rejection was due to an issue with your background check — perhaps if an old conviction outside of the disqualifying time frame resurfaces — Lyft recommends appealing to Checkr by calling them at (844) 824-3257 or using the candidate portal instead.
Before you reach out to Lyft or Checkr, make sure that the criminal conviction or driving violation that disqualified you will no longer show up on your background check. For example, if you were charged with reckless driving, wait until it’s been three years since that violation before reapplying. This way, you can be confident that you’ll pass and avoid waiting another three to six months.
How Long Does Lyft’s Background Check Take?
According to Lyft, the average background check takes between three to ten days to review. This duration of time fluctuates based on how many people are applying.
There is a physical team of people in place who decide whether an application passes. Because of this, the timing can vary depending on the volume of applications.
A common factor that slows down this process is the number of states an applicant has lived in. Your application may take longer to process if you’ve lived in many states over the years.
Applicants that have been victims of identity theft may experience longer periods of wait time.
Even so, if your application takes longer than 10 days to process, contact Lyft. They may be able to provide you with insightful information on why there is a delay. If you would like to check the status of your application, go here.
Can I get a copy of my Lyft background check?
Lyft only sends you a copy of your background check if there are any disqualifying factors, so you know exactly why you don’t pass. This copy is sent to drivers via email.
How does Lyft’s background check compare to Uber’s background check?
Lyft and Uber actually use the same service (Checkr) to run background checks. Both companies also use similar disqualifying factors, so if you get accepted as a Lyft driver, there’s a good chance you’ll get approved as an Uber driver. There may be minor differences in what Uber and Lyft consider disqualifications based on your market, but it’s rare that you’ll run into any major issues.
Will I be able to drive for Lyft immediately after passing my first background check?
Passing your background check doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re officially a driver. Even if Lyft approves all your required documents, you still need to go to a local mechanic for your Lyft vehicle inspection before you’re officially a Lyft driver.
What Happens If You Are Disqualified from driving with Lyft?
If you feel as though your application was denied unfairly, contact Lyft to dispute the results as soon as possible. This makes it easier identify what happened during the process and prevent a similar issue from happening again in the future.
Applicants that do not wish to dispute the results are not required to do so. If you think you know why you were disqualified and want to try again you welcome to do so.
But, applicants denied in the past typically are not approved after another attempt. To avoid rejection twice, it may be worth the time to find out what triggered the initial disqualification.
Can You Avoid Being Disqualified?
Before you even apply to become a rideshare driver, take the time to check your documents. Get copies of your records and identify possible red flags.
Review each item listed and confirm whether the information is accurate. If it is not, you can dispute it before disqualification.
Knowing exactly what Lyft is going to see after you consent to a background check can save you time and effort. You’ll want to know what your record says, especially if something is inaccurate. That way you can figure out if you meet the vehicle requirements beforehand.
Pass Your Screening
Whether you’re taking the Lyft background check for the first or fifth time, understanding what’s expected of you can help you meet all driver requirements and start earning as soon as possible.
While certain crimes like felonies and DUIs can be instant disqualifications, don’t let a single speeding ticket stop you from applying to Lyft. Your driving and criminal record check is just looking out for major red flags. Plus, even if you don’t get approved, the company has a simple application process that won’t waste much time.
Now that you have more insight into what’s required of you as a driver, check out our guide to the Lyft vehicle requirements to understand what it takes for your car to get approved too.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.