So, you’ve gotten all your ducks in a row. You have gathered your documents and uploaded them to Uber and Lyft. You’ve waited three days and you have not yet heard a thing back from either one and now you’re starting to get worried.
- “What in the world is going on with my applications?”
- “What’s taking them so long?… Did they find a problem?”
- “Is there something in my background I’ve forgotten about?”
These are all questions you’re probably asking yourself as each day passes since you submitted your application.
You may visit a few websites to seek help and comfort from other drivers. And while you are there, you will no doubt hear horror stories that will make you even more stressed out. These writers will not offer any proof that their stories are true, but they will scare you nonetheless!
The questions you’ll be asking yourself as you wait to hear back from Uber and Lyft are normal, and they’re good. And we’re going to explore them. First, let’s talk about Uber and after that we’ll take a look at Lyft.
Quick Post Navigation:
- Uber Background Checks
- Lyft Background Checks
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What’s is Uber Doing with Your Application That’s Taking So Long?
First, before you begin to stress out too much, keep in mind that new Uber driver applications generally take “1 to 5 days for review.” And you would be correct to assume they mean ‘business days’, so that’s really 1 to 7 actual days. So you’re looking at up to a week as being standard, which means you shouldn’t begin to worry until a week has passed.
Since everything you send to Uber is sent electronically, that means you’ll be sending image and document files of all your documents. You would be wise to keep a copy of every file you send them in a special folder so you can reference it later if you need to.
If you’ve done that, now would be a good time to check that folder and make sure you sent them exactly what they asked for. This is the best first step you can take if more than a week has passed and you’re beginning to get worried.
If your Uber application status is taking longer than you expected, verify that you’ve sent them everything they need. You will want to verify the following:
1. Documents are updated and correct
Make sure all the documents you sent are up to date and have not already expired. Expired documents will be rejected and that will extend your wait time since you’ll have to re-submit them.
2. Documents contain your legal name
Your name must be clearly listed on your vehicle’s proof of insurance and driver’s license documents. Your name on these documents must match the name you use to sign up for your Uber account, which much match exactly on each document. “Roberto Rodrigo Gonzalez” is not the same as “Roberto Gonzalez” or “Roberto R. Gonzalez”.
The way the companies that will verify all your documents will see it – is that those are three entirely different names. So, make sure your name is exactly the same on each and every document you submit.
You must also submit your car’s registration documents. The car you’re going to use doesn’t have to be owned by you and the registration doesn’t have to have your name on it. But your insurance documents will need to reflect that you are being insured to drive that car.
3. Image quality is readable
Make sure uploaded images are clear and legible. Avoid using a camera’s flash when photographing documents. Flash creates a glare that can obscure required information.
In addition, ensure photos are uncropped. Check that all 4 corners of your documents are visible in the uploaded photos. If you crop the file, do not crop out the corners. That can cause your documents to be rejected and force you to have to resubmit them.
How Background Checks Could Hold Up Your Application
Uber’s background checks are digital and done by a company called Checkr. Because this step is vital to ensuring rider safety, the company may take extra time to get this portion correct.
By “digital” we mean everything they check is done electronically. They don’t do any physical searches, such as sending people to court houses to check paper records. And they never meet the applicants in person or fingerprint them. They receive digital records from applicants and conduct electronic searches based on those digital documents.
If you suspect that they are taking too long with your background check or that there is a problem, you can login at Checkr’s applicant’s page here.
A lot of things can delay background checks. For instance, if you’ve moved to a new state recently and gotten a new driver’s license there, Uber will not be able to see that you’ve been driving for more than a year. So they will inform you of that and ask you to send more information.
You’ll then have to contact your old state’s DMV office and have a copy of your driving record sent so you can forward it to Uber. That’s the only way they’ll be able to see that you’ve been driving for more than a year.
That’s just one of many problems that could crop up. Usually, if your application is delayed, it’s not a sign that you’re going to be rejected, it’s usually just a sign that they’re having trouble finding all your information through the maze of thousands of bureaucratic government entities that exist across the nation. Usually a response from you clarifying the situation is all they need to move ahead.
Keep in mind that a major part of Uber’s background check is looking into your Motor Vehicle Record. Of course they do a criminal background check as well, but since you’ll be driving for them, your driving record will be of major importance in whether or not you’ll be approved.
Interpreting Uber Background Checks
Drivers often ask about what Uber looks at when they do background checks. But, the real question is… how do they interpret what they find?
Of course they look for any criminal records, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be automatically disqualified if you have one. Generally, they don’t look for records more than seven years back. However, California recently passed a law that requires them to look at a driver’s lifetime record, no matter how far back it goes.
So, how they interpret what they find is largely controlled by local and state laws that govern the area where you are applying. Each state and sometimes even counties and cities within states have their own laws and regulations about how companies must handle background checks.
Uber has what they call, “internal safety standards” that also govern what they look at in background checks and how they interpret the results.
Here is what Uber tells us about their background checks, and the importance they put on the various aspects of it. Having a problem in any one of these areas could hold up your approval or could cause you to be denied.
- In general, drivers must have a minimum of one year of licensed driving experience in the US (3 years if under 23 years old).
- Major driving violations or a recent history of minor driving violations may result in disqualification.
- Convictions for felonies, violent crimes, sexual offenses, and registered sex offender status, among other types of criminal records, are also disqualifying.
- Pending charges for those categories of crimes are also disqualifying, unless and until such charges are resolved in a driver partner or potential driver partner’s favor.
So, they are pretty clear in telling us exactly what can cause problems and delays for your application. If you have anything in your background that is mentioned here or anything that is similar to what is mentioned here, you could have problems and that could cause delays in processing your application.
Who to Contact to Check the Status of Your Application
If you have questions about your Uber background check, you can contact:
What About My Application’s Status with Lyft?
Lyft’s process is very similar to Uber’s and like Uber, they also have to abide by state and local laws regarding background checks. So, the two companies have to have a similar process because it is so tightly regulated by law.
Lyft also uses an outside company to conduct the actual records search on a driver’s background. Lyft uses a company called here.
If you want to dispute the results or check on the status of your Lyft background check, you can do so on here. Or, you can call Sterling at 888-889-5248.
Like Uber, you have to send Lyft a copy of your:
- driver’s license
- proof of insurance
- car registration
- Your name as it appears on your driver’s license must match up exactly with how you gave your name to Lyft and with the name on your insurance documents. Your name does not have to appear on your car registration as you don’t have to own the car you’ll be driving with Lyft. But your car’s VIN number must appear on your insurance documents.
Lyft also considers your driving record to be a major component of your background check.
How to Find Out the Status of Your Lyft Application and Why It Might Get Delayed
There are a lot of things that could hold up or delay your Lyft background check. When an application is delayed drivers often worry that they’ve found some major crime in their past that the driver wasn’t aware of! However, that’s usually not the problem. The most common problem is checking on a driver’s driving history.
Lyft requires that drivers have at least one year as a licensed driver before they can be approved to drive and a lot of application delays are because they can’t easily obtain the information they need to verify a driver has been driving for more than a year.
There are many things that could make it difficult for Lyft and Sterling to get accurate information on your driving history. Mostly the reasons boil down to record mis-matches that make it impossible for them to piece together your actual driving history. Some of the reasons for this may be:
- Your license was renewed or reissued in the last year
- You have recently moved to a new state and updated your drivers license
- Your state does not provide the original issue date of your license
Ridester has written extensively about the Lyft background check process here.
Jonathan Cousar began driving for Uber in 2013 when the ride-hail company first began operations in New York City. He has booked more than 7,000 trips. In 2014 he created Uber Driver Diaries, which was the first blog by an Uber driver describing the highs and lows of driving as well as offering tips and tricks and information on the industry as a whole. In 2016 Ridester acquired the site, and Jonathan began writing full-time about the rideshare industry and the gig economy. He has also done extensive research into driver issues related to pay and working conditions.