Whether you’re applying for a new job, opening a credit card, or buying a home, there are numerous instances when you might need to submit to a background check. It’s also required if you’re planning to become a driver for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft.
According to a report by employment screening company HireRight, 84% of employment background checks are used to verify criminal records, 73% are to authenticate employment history, 66% are used to confirm identity, and 51% for education. In other words, background screening is a significant part of the hiring process no matter what industry you’re working in, and that includes the gig economy.
In this guide, we’ll explain the process of submitting to an Uber background check before becoming a driver.
You’ll learn what it includes, how long it takes, what is expected of you, what the company is looking for, and other essential information that will ensure you’re prepared. You’ll also discover what could prevent you from getting hired as an Uber driver so you aren’t caught off guard.
- What Does the Uber Background Check Include?
- What Does an Uber Background Check Look For?
- How Does Uber Perform Its Driver Background Checks?
- How Long Does It Take for an Uber Background Check?
- What Could Prevent You From Getting Hired as an Uber Driver?
- What to Do if Your Uber Background Check is Denied
- What An Uber Background Check Can and Can’t Do
- Why Background Checks Don’t Always Catch Everything
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Does the Uber Background Check Include?
Before getting hired as an Uber driver, all candidates must undergo a background check. While some companies require a credit check as part of the hiring process, there is no credit card check involved with becoming an Uber driver. Fortunately, if your credit score and history aren’t as great as you’d like them to be, you don’t have to worry about it.
According to Uber support, the company’s background check includes a review of your motor vehicle report (MVR) as well as a criminal background check. It’s important to understand that Uber must follow specific rules that vary from city to city and state to state.
As such, some people might be disqualified for certain offenses on their driving record or criminal record based on local laws and regulations for rideshare drivers.
What Does an Uber Background Check Look For?
As mentioned, Uber’s background check process includes two main components — a report of your driving history and a report of your criminal history. Here’s a breakdown of what the company is looking for when reviewing candidates.
Motor Vehicle Report
A motor vehicle report includes your driver’s license details as well as information on your overall driving record, including moving violations, DUIs, and convictions.
To give rides as an Uber driver or make deliveries for Uber Eats, you must:
- Possess a valid U.S. driver’s license
- Have a minimum of one year licensed driving experience in the U.S. if you’re 23 years old or older
- Have three years of driving experience in the U.S. if you’re under 23 years old
- Maintain a clean driving record with no major moving violations (e.g., reckless driving or DUI) within the past seven years
- Have no more than three minor violations (e.g., speeding, failing to stop at a red light) in the last three years
Criminal Background Check
As its name suggests, a criminal background check searches for a candidate’s history of criminal misconduct, be it a misdemeanor or a felony. Depending on state and local law, a misdemeanor can range from property crimes to theft, perjury, reckless driving, and DUIs. These often incur monetary fines and don’t require jail time. On the other hand, felonies are more serious crimes. These offenses include burglary, arson, animal cruelty, sexual assault, murder, and terrorism.
How Does Uber Perform Its Driver Background Checks?
Checkr uses your Social Security number to acquire your driving and criminal records. The company screens all Uber driver applicant records within the past seven years. Once Uber receives the completed report from Checkr, the rideshare company will use the results to make its decision and inform you via email whether your job application has been accepted or denied.
It’s also worth mentioning that Uber will periodically run a background checks on existing drivers to ensure they continue to meet all safety standards and legal requirements for being a driver.
A driver may have gotten an email like this one regarding an annual check:
“We are reaching out to notify you that in the next 24-48 hours we will be re-running your background check as part of an annual safety initiative. Safety is of the utmost importance to Uber for our partner-drivers and riders alike, and these background checks are just one way to ensure that all partner-drivers have continued to drive safely since the initial report was run.
As a reminder, in order to pass the background check, you must have:
- A clean Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) with no more than 3 incidents in the past 3 years
- No driving with a suspended license or without insurance in the past 3 years
- No DUIs and no reckless driving
- A clean criminal background check with no felonies or misdemeanors involving theft, violence or drugs
Please Note: The above list is not necessarily comprehensive. Certain states and municipalities may have requirements that differ from the above.
Each of these companies is responsible for working with Checkr to make sure they conduct the kind of search that most closely corresponds to the type of work their independent contractors will be performing.
The key takeaways are:
How Long Does It Take for an Uber Background Check?
According to Uber, most background checks take 3-5 business days. However, this is only the average amount of time, not a hard and fast rule. The screening process can take longer depending on a variety of factors, including your location, county courthouse procedures, and more overarching circumstances such as the coronavirus health crisis.
Uber Background Check Taking Too Long?
If your Uber background check seems like it is taking too long, and it has been longer than 7 days since you applied, reach out to both Checkr and contact Uber support to see what is going on.
Once Checkr approves your application, the ball is in Uber’s court to approve or deny you. If your Uber background check is taking a while, reach out and ask why.
What Could Prevent You From Getting Hired as an Uber Driver?
There are several reasons why becoming an Uber driver wouldn’t be possible. Depending on the information found in your background check, the following factors could result in disqualification:
- Major driving violations: Driving with a revoked or suspended license, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Other major violations that would prevent you from getting hired as an Uber driver are reckless driving, negligent driving, or using a vehicle to commit a felony.
- Minor driving violations: More than three minor violations over the last three years, including (but not limited to) no-fault accidents.
- Convictions or felonies: Uber driver candidates cannot be convicted felons. If someone is convicted of a violent crime, sexual offenses, or is on the national sex offender registry, these are disqualifying factors. Pending charges for such crimes are also disqualifying, unless they are resolved in your favor.
What to Do if Your Uber Background Check is Denied
Uber is not consistent with letting rejected drivers know that they were rejected. You may or may not get an email from them about the rejection.
Uber says they will let you know within 7-10 business days. If you contact them before that time, they will probably tell you to keep waiting. If 10 business days have passed, you should contact Uber.
How to Contact Uber Before You Become a Driver
Uber frequently changes their contact methods. Right now, they’ve established a page where people can contact them without having an account. This is the easiest Uber has ever made it to contact them.
Just go to this page and look for the contact form at the bottom: t.uber.com/contact
However, there is no way of knowing when Uber might change, move or delete that page. If it’s no longer there, then below is a tried and tested method which you can use to contact them.
You’ll either need a rider or a driver account with them. Once you have a rider account, go to help.uber.com. This page is constantly changing so giving specific steps here won’t help. Instead, we’ll give you the general idea.
Click on any of the main question categories, and then do a page search for the word “other”. That will bring up all instances of “other” and “another”. And most of those links will say something like, “I have other questions” or “I have another question” and they will take you to a page where you can send them a message.
For instance, right now, from the first page after you login to help.uber.com, you can click on “Account and Payment Options”. On the next page search the word “other” and click on whichever result served first. I clicked on, “I have another payment question.”
If you’re a prospective driver inquiring about the status of your application, you’re not going to have a payment question, but that’s okay. Type your question into the box and click “Submit”.
When they reply – which can take up to 24 hours – you can then respond simply by replying to their email.
The Best Way to Get a Decent Answer from Uber
You should make your initial request very short and very simple. Uber customer service reps are so swamped with emails, with each rep answering hundreds a day. They simply don’t have time to read and comprehend anything more than a few sentences long.
When writing regarding your application status, state your name and email address you signed up with and tell them you’ve applied to be a driver and you want to know the status of your application.
There is a chance they will answer back with a pre-written response that won’t address your situation. Write them back again telling and politely let them know they didn’t answer your question, and then re-state it. Don’t be rude and don’t add anything more to your original question. Simply restate your original question.
You may have to go through this process two or three times before somebody gives you a real answer.
What An Uber Background Check Can and Can’t Do
Background checks only allow a company to learn if a person has been convicted of a crime in the past. There are two significant parts to that statement.
They can’t tell you for sure that a person has never committed a crime. A person could have committed crimes and never gotten caught or perhaps gotten caught but was never convicted. In those cases, even the most thorough background checks will not pick anything up.
Background checks can’t predict whether or not a person will commit a crime in the future. You might have a person who has never been caught or convicted of a crime in the past but who is now actively considering committing a crime.
Why Background Checks Don’t Always Catch Everything
One major reason is that background screenings are regulated primarily by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA does not allow employers to look at arrest records older than seven years.
The FCRA allows employers to search criminal convictions more than seven years old but some states don’t. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has guidelines which state that employers should not go farther back than the standards of business warrant.
This has pushed companies how far in the past they check in order to stay out of trouble with various governmental entities.
It has become an accepted standard for most companies, including Uber, to put into place a seven-year limit.
Counties and municipalities aren’t required to report every court action to their respective states and states aren’t required to report everything to the federal government. So, there is no single source of information for criminal background checks. Companies like Checkr end up checking places the applicant has informed them that they have lived.
To do a complete and thorough background check, a company would have to employ people to go into county and municipal courthouses and search through records, some of which aren’t computerized yet.
It might now make more sense why some people do slip through:
Uber drivers are required to pass a criminal background check in order to be eligible for employment with the ride-hailing transportation service, but drivers with serious criminal histories have slipped through the cracks, and some cities where Uber operates want answers.
In response to a rash of sexual assaults committed by Californian Uber drivers, California enacted a new law that took effect on January 1, 2017, that specifically exempts rideshare companies from the seven-year background check limit.
This law will also exempt rideshare companies from another new Californian law took effect on January 1, 2018, that further restricts companies’ abilities to do thorough background checks on job applicants.
Frequently Asked Questions
While you’re now up to speed on just about everything you need to know about the Uber background check process, we don’t want to leave any stone unturned. Here are answers to a few questions that might still be lingering.
1. Is the process for Uber background checks secure?
Yes. The company takes security and privacy seriously. Because you must provide personal, highly sensitive information in order to be considered as an Uber driver, the platform assures that it follows industry standards to protect your privacy. These measures include firewalls, Secure Socket Layers (SSL), and data encryption.
2. Can you dispute the information that is found in an Uber background check?
Yes, you can. If you receive a report that you think isn’t accurate or is otherwise faulty, Uber encourages you to contact Checkr, which is the third-party background check provider that conducts the screenings. Since Uber is not able to adjust your report, you can use the Checkr candidate portal to contact the company directly.
3. Can candidates give Uber a recent background check report instead of Uber running its own?
No, you cannot. Even if you recently applied to be a Postmates or Lyft driver and received a background check report, Uber still has to verify that you meet all requirements and its own internal safety standards. While it’s true that there are many similarities between rideshare and on-demand delivery apps, safety standards can change from one company to another as can local rules and regulations. Uber is very clear that it must receive all background check reports directly from Checkr.
It’s Possible to Pass Your Uber Background Check
A background check is a vital part of the hiring process for most employers. These reports verify that someone is who they claim to be, confirms their employment and education history, checks their criminal record, and authenticates other information that an employer requires.
While Uber doesn’t require an education or credit check, the company will do a thorough check on your driving record and criminal history. It’s an enormous responsibility to drive people around in your vehicle, and Uber wants to make sure that both drivers and riders are safe. Before taking your first drive, you must have a completed background check.
Now that you know the details about the Uber background check process, you can decide if you’d like to move forward with becoming a driver. Be sure to check out the Ridester Marketplace where you can browse through open jobs and available companies that are ready to hire you.
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.