Driving for Uber can be a great side hustle, and in a good area, you can even turn ridesharing into a decent full-time income. Signing up for Uber is simple. You just upload your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance, and pass the Uber background check.
The first part of the sign-up process doesn’t cause drivers too many problems, but the background check is often unexpected and takes people by surprise.
Because you’re going to be a self-employed independent contractor and not an Uber employee, you’re probably got some questions about the background check. New drivers commonly ask the following questions: Why is Uber making me do a background check? What’s Uber’s background check going to look at? How long does the Uber background check take?
Let’s look at some details and get you up to speed.
Why Does Uber Need To Do A Background Check?
Drivers are independent contractors working on a self-employed basis, but it’s the Uber brand that gets the bad press and a lawsuit if a driver attacks a passenger or causes an accident.
So it stands to reason that Uber will have certain standards that drivers have to meet. In addition to Uber’s internal standards, many jurisdictions have rideshare ordinances that platforms need to follow with specific background check requirements.
By carrying out background checks that comply with best practices and local laws Uber reduces its liability if a ride goes badly wrong.
Related Reading: Does Uber Eats Do Background Check?
How Far Back Does Uber Background Check Go?
Uber’s background check follows local and state laws and it’s impossible to say how far the background check will go in your case.
The background check will go back at least 7 years. Thirteen states have limited background checks to 7 years, but most others don’t place any limits on the amount of history that can be searched.
However, even in states with a 7-year limit, if a driving position is considered safety-sensitive, the limit won’t apply.
Many states and cities also have their own rideshare requirements, and platforms may be obligated to look at a candidate’s lifetime history and follow the disqualifying criteria laid down by local ordinances.
States with a 7-year background check limit are:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New York
Does Uber Check Your Employment Background?
No, they don’t check your past employment or current employment. They also aren’t interested in your credit report or your education record.
The Uber background check isn’t a typical pre-employment background check, it’s a driver screening check. And while many employers want those extra details, Uber doesn’t need them. Their sole interest is whether you’re considered safe to drive passengers.
Related Article: Can Felons Drive For Uber?
How Long Does Uber Background Check Take?
There’s no defined time limit for the background check. Uber says they aim to process background checks within 3 to 5 working days. Often checks take much longer than that but sometimes everything goes through in a couple of days.
Your background check has to go through two stages.
The first part of the check is carried out by Checkr, the agency Uber uses for background reports. Once Checkr has compiled data about you, they pass the report on to Uber, who will then approve you or deny you.
Hold-ups can occur at either stage for several reasons:
If Checkr has a larger than normal volume of reports to deal with, your background report will take longer than normal.
If Checkr is having difficulty obtaining records from any states or counties you’ve lived in, you’ll need to wait until they get those records.
Sometimes Checkr has completed the report and Uber is the cause of the delay because they’ve got a backlog to get through.
How To Keep An Eye On The Background Check Process
Few things are more frustrating than waiting for the outcome of a decision that you have zero control over.
And while you can’t speed the Uber background check along, you can keep an eye on its progress.
Look On The Checkr Portal
Login to the Checkr portal using the login and password you created when you submitted your details. Click on “Status” and you’ll be able to see if Checkr has completed the background check and passed it over to Uber, or if the check is still pending, or suspended.
Pending means that your check is underway.
Suspended means that you need to provide more information or documentation. Use the upload link to supply what they ask for.
If your background check is complete, Checkr has finished your report. A complete background check does not mean that you passed the background check only that the report is ready for Uber’s review.
When Checkr sends a report to Uber, it’s marked “consider” or “clear”. Clear means that no disqualifying information has been found. Whereas, consider means that a potentially disqualifying driving offense or criminal offense has been found.
Check Your Uber Account Profile Status
Onboarding – Your background check is underway and the documents you submitted are being reviewed.
Waitlisted – Your application is on hold. Your documents could be expired, you could have submitted incorrect details – mistyped your social security number for example – or information may have been altered. If you’re already an Uber driver, you’ll be waitlisted until your background check is renewed.
Consider – This means that Checkr has completed your background report but you haven’t been cleared yet because of criminal or driving offenses on your record. Your report is still waiting for review by the Uber team.
Rejected – Your background report contained adverse information and you don’t meet the required standards to drive for Uber.
Active – You’ve passed the background check and you’re all set to start driving passengers.
What Does Uber’s Background Check Cost?
Most Uber applicants won’t have to pay for the background check because Uber covers the cost.
However, if you’re planning to drive for Uber in New York City, you first need to get a license from the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), and that process requires an application fee.
Does Uber’s Background Check Include A Drug Test?
No, there’s no drug test for most Uber applicants, only a criminal records check and a motor vehicle report check.
Uber applicants in New York City will need to pass a drug test as part of the licensing process required for rideshare and taxi drivers in NYC.
How Strict Is Uber Background Check?
The Uber background check is pretty strict. Uber must make sure that you’re a safe road user, who won’t put passenger safety at risk by driving too fast, rolling through stop signs, running red lights, or driving under the influence.
They also need to know that you’re not a criminal who could be tempted to assault passengers, steal from them, or break into their property after you dropped them off at the airport.
A background check might seem like a big inconvenience when you’re eager to earn some money, but put yourself in the passenger’s shoes. They’re getting into a stranger’s car and trusting that they’re going to be safe with the driver.
The background check isn’t perfect and Uber is currently being sued by 550 female passengers who claim their Uber drivers sexually assaulted them.
Nevertheless, the Uber background check is a very important safety procedure, and background checks are part and parcel of being a rideshare driver.
What Would Make You Fail A Background Check For Uber?
You can fail the background check for a number of reasons.
If Checkr can’t verify your identity, your background check can’t proceed and they’ll contact you to get more information. If you can’t provide the information they need, your background check will fail.
The documents you upload must be clear and show your name exactly as you entered it on your Uber application. For example, Luke J. Carson is a different identity from Luke James Carson or Luke Carson.
Your driving record could be the reason that you’ve failed Uber’s background check. To pass the general driving record requirements, you must have held your license for at least 3 years if you’re under 25 (not including a learner’s permit), and for 1 year if you’re over 25.
You can’t have more than 3 minor violations in the past 3 years or any major violations in the past 7 years.
Minor violations include:
- Minimal speeding
- Failure to stop at a stop sign
- Improper lane changes
- Not paying a toll
Major violations include:
- DUI or DWI
- Hit and run
- Reckless or dangerous driving
- Excessive speeding
- Running a red light
- Failure to yield
- Vehicle-related felony
- Driving without a license
Some states may have stricter driving record standards. For example, California doesn’t allow a DUI in the past 10 years.
The other reason you could fail is because of information found during the criminal record search.
Certain offenses during the last 7 years are disqualifying, and older offenses may also be a problem if the background check went back that far and picked them up.
Within the last 7 years you cannot have the following offenses on your record:
- A felony
- Sexual offenses
- Violent offenses
- Other serious offenses
Offenses that result in permanent disqualification from Uber include murder, terrorism, and sexual assault. Registered sex offenders will not be approved for Uber.
Does Uber Do More Than One Background Check?
If you’ve heard that Uber carries out multiple background checks on drivers, you heard right.
Once you’re approved for the Uber platform, you’ll need to pass periodic background checks to keep your active status.
Uber will require a new background check at least once every 12 months, but if your state or city has more stringent requirements, you could be checked every 4 – 6 months.
Uber usually sends out notifications to tell you that your background check is going to expire soon and directs you to initiate a background check on Checkr. But drivers report that those notifications don’t always come through and when they do, they’re easy to miss.
If you don’t get your new background check done before your previous one expires, you’ll be deactivated until the background check clears you to drive. And this can leave you unable to earn an income on Uber for several weeks or several months.
The repeat background check is exactly the same as the first one you had to pass when you signed up to drive for Uber. Checkr will search for criminal offenses and driving offenses, and if anything new pops up, you could be denied access to the platform.
As a rideshare driver, it’s vital that you observe all traffic laws so you can continue to operate on Uber and other platforms. While you might shrug off a $75 speeding ticket, it could come back to bite you on your next background check.
If you get a ticket, it’s worth speaking to a lawyer to find out if you can fight the charge and keep your driving record clean.
Another reason you’ll need to pass a new background check is if you move to a new state.
Because of the lengthy deactivation that can occur while you’re waiting to get your Uber background check renewed, it’s a good idea to drive for multiple rideshare platforms so you don’t lose your entire income if you run into a problem.
What To Do If You Fail Uber’s Background Check
If you fail the background check, your next step depends on whether you failed because your background was accurate or because of a mistake on your report.
If you know that you’ve got offenses on your driving record or criminal record, you’ll need to see what you can do to remove those offenses before you apply again.
Minor driving violations may be eligible for removal if you take traffic school classes or complete a defensive driving course. Your local DMV will have more information about which driving offenses are eligible, or you can look up information about traffic schools online.
Some criminal offenses may be eligible for expungement after all sentencing requirements have been met. If you can get your offense expunged, it won’t appear on your background reports in the future.
Expungement requirements will vary from state to state, so you’ll need to contact a lawyer to see if you’re eligible and find out how to proceed.
If you failed the background check because of an error, follow the procedure detailed in the pre-adverse action notice Uber sends you.
You’ll need to obtain the free copy of your background report that they offer you so you can see what offenses are listed.
Then you have to file a dispute with Checkr and provide evidence that the offenses listed aren’t yours.
You can also appeal if you believe your offenses are outside the time frame that Uber considers in your area.
Background agencies are known to make mistakes, so you should always check the report.
You’ll need to pass Uber’s background check before you can drive passengers. The driver screening checks your identity, driving record, and criminal record.
The background check will go back as far as state and local laws allow, and different jurisdictions have different disqualifying criteria for rideshare drivers.
Uber aims to complete background checks quickly but delays are common and you can’t speed things up.
If you’ve been disqualified for a driving violation, you may be able to get the offense removed from your record – check with your local DMV to find out.
Robert Eric (a lover of Cats and Dogs) is the co-founder of HireFelonsJobs. In our search for a better life, after… A platform was created for the purpose of easing the search for ex-convicts.