About the Bureau of Criminal Identification

Bureau of Criminal Identification ("BCI")

Office of Attorney General
150 South Main Street
Providence, RI 02903
401-274-4400

Hours of Operation
Monday – Friday
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
(Fingerprint process stops at 4:00 p.m.)
No Holidays (for a list of state holidays, please click here)

Notice:
All BCI records are confidential law enforcement documents. However, these records may be released according to state and federal statute for specified purposes.

Credit cards are now accepted for in-person transactions at the BCI window in Providence.

Applicable transactions include in-person requests for state and national background checks, as well as security guard licenses and precious metal and pawn dealer applications.

Credit cards accepted include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

The cost for a state background check, or BCI as it is referred to, is $5.*
The cost for a national background check is $35.*

* Forms of payment include check, money order, or credit cards (cash not accepted). Please make check out to “BCI.”
* Credit cards are not accepted for mail or third party transactions.
* Please note: a processing fee of two percent plus 50 cents will be charged per transaction.

+ Expungement for Arrestee DNA Samples R.I. Gen. Laws § 12-1.5-13

Rhode Island General Laws chapter 12-1.5-1, et. seq. requires the collection of a DNA sample, upon arrest, from an adult who has been arrested of a crime of violence.

Section 12-1.5-13 provides for the expungement of the DNA sample upon exoneration or a conviction of a lesser offense. The expungement process is detailed below.

Expungement by Prosecuting Agency

If an individual:

• Is acquitted of the charges requiring them to provide a DNA sample;
• Is convicted of a lesser offense that does not require DNA submission, the person’s DNA sample shall be expunged from the DNA database.

Within thirty (30) days of acquittal, the prosecuting agency shall notify the DOH of the acquittal and within thirty (30) days of notification, DOH shall destroy the person’s DNA record and notify the individual of the destruction.

Expungement by Individual who Provided Sample

If an individual:

• Completes a diversion program;
• A deferred sentence; or
• Is granted a pardon.

The individual’s DNA sample must be expunged from the DNA database upon court order.

• An individual seeking an expungement in this scenario must file a motion for expungement with the Court with appropriate jurisdiction.

• The motion for expungement of the DNA sample must be served on both, the Attorney General and the arresting law enforcement agency, ten (10) days prior to the expungement hearing.

• The court must order expungement if court finds that the person has completed a diversion program, a deferred sentence or was granted a pardon.

An expungement shall not be granted where the person has a prior conviction or a pending arrest that required the submission of a DNA sample.

Background Checks

+ State Background Checks
Due to increased security measures in both the private and public sectors, the need for state criminal background check, or “BCI” as it is commonly referred to, continues to rise. A BCI is performed using the person’s name and date of birth and is only conducted within the State of Rhode Island. A BCI will not indicate if you have an out-of-state criminal offense.

Cost:
A BCI costs $5. Check, money order, or credit cards accepted (cash not accepted). Please make check out to “BCI.” Please note: a processing fee of two percent plus 50 cents will be charged per credit card transaction.

In person:
Appear at the BCI window with a valid form of identification and payment. Examples of acceptable identification include:
  • Valid state issued driver’s license
  • Valid state issued identification card
  • Valid United States passport

Please Note: One state background check per person at the BCI window. If you require state background checks for multiple individuals, please consider sending in the mail. Otherwise, you will be required to drop them off to be picked up when completed by BCI staff.

By Mail:
  • A signed and notarized release form (download here).
  • A copy of a valid form of photo identification. Examples of acceptable identification include:
    • Valid state issued driver’s license
    • Valid state issued identification card
    • Valid United States passport
  • Check or money order for $5.00, payable to “BCI.” Credit cards and cash not accepted by mail.
  • Self-addressed, stamped envelope for return
Please allow seven (7) business days for return

For Third Party:
  • A release to the third-party (Signed by the third-party and notarized). Please click here for the release. If you are a company, please attach the disclaimer to your company header.
  • Attached copy of one of the following valid forms of photo identification:
  • Valid state issued driver’s license
  • Valid state issued identification card
  • Valid United States passport
  • Check, money order, or credit card if presenting at BCI window. Check or money order if mailed.
  • A self-addressed stamped envelope for return (if mailed)

Please Note: One state background check per person at the BCI window. If you require state background checks for multiple individuals, please consider sending in the mail. Otherwise, you will be required to drop them off to be picked up when completed by BCI staff.

Background checks for overseas purposes:
  • Those applicants travelling outside the country needing a background check differ from the regular state issued background check. The applicant MUST state that they are travelling outside the country in order to receive the correct paperwork. The applicant MUST ask for the Attorney General's signature print out by letter or in person, then proceed to the Secretary of State’s Office for the Apostile.
+ National Background Checks
There are a growing number of Rhode Island laws that require individuals to provide a fingerprint-based national background for purposes of employment, operating a business or serving as a caregiver. Each statute dictates where individuals may obtain the national background checks: the Office of Attorney General, the Rhode Island State Police, and/or your local police department.

Must obtain national background check at Office of Attorney General:
  • Alarm companies
  • Financial industry agents
  • Private security personnel *
  • Precious metals, tools and electronic vendors (pawn shops)
  • Pre-school operators and employees
  • Nursery school operators and employees
  • Child care/day care operators and owners
  • Nurses *
  • Adult day care facilities owners and employees
  • Long term care facilities owners and employees

Must obtain national background check at the Rhode Island State Police or local police department:
  • Child care/day care employees
  • Massage therapists
  • Mental health facilities
  • Adoptive parents
  • Foster parents

Must obtain national background check at the Office of Attorney General, Rhode Island State Police or local police department:
  • Firefighter *
  • Medical marijuana caregiver
  • Dept. of Child Youth and Families (DCYF) employees
  • Public and private school employees (full time, part time, substitute teacher, school bus drivers and monitors)
  • Third party public and private school vendors

Must obtain a national background check at the Office of Attorney General or Rhode Island State Police:
  • Rhode Island Lottery employees, including Newport Grand and Twin River employees and vendors

(*) indicates national AND state background check is required by law

General Rules of Thumb:
To obtain a national background check through the Office of Attorney General, individuals must read and complete the following form (to save time, we suggest you print and complete prior to arrival at the Office of Attorney General):
Please bring any additional paperwork required by statute or employer with you. Be sure to bring valid identification. Examples of acceptable identification include:
  • Valid state issued driver’s license
  • Valid state issued identification card
  • Valid United States passport

Effective March 14, 2016, all Long Term Care Applicants seeking employment at one of the following Long Term Care Program Types:

Adult Day Care Program
Assisted Living Residence
Home Care Provider
Home Nursing Care Provider
Hospice
LTC Hospital- (Eleanor Slater Hospital)
Nursing Facility
Nursing Service Agency

MUST be registered by the place of potential employment and present our office with the letter of eligibility with the registration number in order to be fingerprinted for the national background check.  


Cost:
A national background check costs $35. If your employer requires a national background check AND a state background check, the cost is $40. Check, money order, or credit cards accepted (cash not accepted). Please make check out to “BCI.”

Please note: a processing fee of two percent plus 50 cents will be charged per credit card transaction.



How it Works:
Upon arrival to the Office of Attorney General, a trained and certified fingerprint technician will take your fingerprints using one of the LiveScan fingerprint machines. Your fingerprints are sent electronically to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

An FBI-generated criminal background report is sent back to the Office of Attorney General. Once received, the fingerprint technician will review the information and submit an email to the employer/state agency indicating if a “disqualifying offense” is found or not on the national criminal background report. (Please note: the “disqualifying offense” is not specified in the letter to the employer or state agency)

If a “disqualifying offense” is found on the person’s record, a letter is sent to the individual informing them of the offense, and upon request, may receive a copy of their criminal background report in person.

Out of State:
If you live out of state and require a national background check, please download and complete the forms below and submit with your fingerprints to the Office of Attorney General.
+ Fingerprints
The Office of Attorney General can provide you with a set of your fingerprints to use as you need. A trained and certified fingerprint technician will use the Livescan fingerprint machine to capture your fingerprints and provide you with a copy. The cost is $15, check, money order, or credit cards accepted. Please note: The fingerprints are NOT submitted to the FBI.

Pistol Permits

Rhode Island General Law §11-47-18 empowers the Attorney General to issue a license or permit to state residents 21 years of age or older to carry a pistol or revolver, whether concealed or not, upon a proper showing of need. In assessing the need of an applicant to carry a pistol or revolver, the Office also considers the issuance of a restricted permit for specified purposes.

Pistol Permit New Application, Policy and and Relevant State Statute
Pistol Permit Renewal Application Only

Precious Metals
How to obtain a Precious Metals, Tools and Electronics and Regulated Metals License

Precious Metals and/or Tools and Electronics License

  • Proper application for signed and notarized
  • Letter of Good Standing from the R.I. Division of Taxation. The fee is $50.00. Individual businesses do not need a letter of good standing unless you have an account with the R.I. Division of Taxation. For further questions please contact the R.I. Division of Taxation at (401) 474-8829.
  • If you are a Corporation or LLC, a certified copy of the latest annual report or a certified copy of the articles of incorporation for newly incorporated or LLC businesses from the Secretary of State’s Office is required. The fee is $10.15. For further questions please contact the Secretary of State’s Office at (401) 222-3040 ext. 1255.
  • A national background check (requiring fingerprinting) is required for a Precious Metals and/or Tools and Electronics licenses for all employees that buy and for corporate officers.

To obtain a national background check:

  • In person:
    • A copy of one of the following photo identifications:
      • State Issued Driver's License
      • State Issued Identification Card
      • Passport
    • Check or money order (NO CASH) for $35.00
  • By mail:
    Mail to: Office of Attorney General (BCI Division)
    150 South Main Street
    Providence, RI 02903
  • A signed and notarized release for information
  • A set of fingerprints on an Applicant card certified by fingerprint personnel obtained at local Police Department. (Additional costs to the local Police Department will apply.)
  • A copy of one of the following photo identifications:
    • State Issued Driver's License
    • State Issued Identification Card
    • Passport
  • Check or money order (NO CASH) for $35.00 for payable to Department of Attorney General BCI.
  • For out of state applicants, in addition to the form above, the following forms must be filled out and returned with the application:
  • If you have questions, please contact the Fingerprint Unit: (401) 274-440 ext. 2353, 2029, 2204, or 2023.

Regulated Metals License

  • Proper application form signed and notarized:
  • For all new and renewal Regulated Metals license applications, a $70.00 license fee is required, via check or money order.
  • Letter of Good Standing from the RI Division of Taxation. The fee is $50.00. Individual businesses do not need a letter of good standing unless you have an account with the R.I. Division of Taxation. For further questions please contact the R.I. Division of Taxation at (401) 474-8829.
  • If you are a Corporation or LLC, a certified copy of the latest annual report or certified copy of the articles of incorporation for newly incorporated or LLC businesses, from the Secretary of State’s Office is required. The fee is $10.15. For further questions, please contact the Secretary of State’s Office at (401) 222-3040 ext. 1255.
  • National background checks are not required for regulated metals licenses at this time.

Security Guard Licenses

Under Rhode Island General Law §5-5.1-13, the Office of Attorney General is responsible for the licensing of the private security guard businesses. The obligation is set forth in the Rules and Regulations established pursuant to the Private Security Guard Act of 1987. Federal guidelines now require that all security guards be fingerprinted for a national background check. BCI is charged with ensuring that all security guard companies, their employees and management personnel comply with the Act. Presently, BCI has 90 active security guard licenses on file.

Security Guard Application - Rules / Regulations - Applications for Individuals and Corporate/Partnerships

FAQs

+ What are your hours of operation?
Our hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. No holidays (for a list of state holidays, please click here. Fingerprinting stops at 4:00 pm.
+What forms of payment do you accept?
The Office of Attorney General accepts checks, money orders, or credit cards. Please make check out to “BCI.” Cash not accepted.
+ What forms of ID do you accept?
  • Valid State Issued Driver's License
  • Valid State Issued Identification Card
  • Valid Passport
+ Are you closed for lunch?
The Office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and remains open during lunch hours.
+ Is there parking?
There is metered parking along the street.
+ Can I obtain a state background check (“BCI”) at my local police department?
Many police departments provide state and national background checks. Please check with your local police department to find out if this is a service they provide.
+ Can a BCI or Fingerprinting be obtained through one of your satellite locations?
No. The Office of Attorney General provides background check services only at the main office, located at 150 South Main Street, Providence.
+ Can I get a background check for someone other than myself?
Yes, but only with a signed and notarized third party disclaimer form and a photocopy of a valid form of identification. You can download the disclaimer form here.
+ How long is my state background check (BCI) valid?
A state background check (BCI) is valid for as long as the employer or agency that is requesting it determines. Please check with the employer or agency as to how often you may be required to get an updated BCI.
+ Will my employer accept a photocopy of my state background check?
It is at the discretion of your employer or agency to decide to accept a photocopy of your state background check. Please check with your employer or agency.
+ Can you fax my national background check and fingerprint results to my employer?
No. The Office of Attorney General will mail a letter to your employer or appropriate state agency that indicates if the applicant is either “qualified” or “disqualified” as determined by the individual statute.