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.

* 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.

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 or money order only. Please make check out to “BCI.”

In person:
Appear at the BCI window with a valid form of identification and a check or money order for $5 made out to “BCI.” 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”
  • 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 or money order for $5.00 payable to “BCI”
  • 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
• Court appointed special advocates
• 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 your 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 checks 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 forms (to save time, we suggest you print and complete prior to arrival at the Office of Attorney General):
Fingerprint Form

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

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 or money order only. Please make check out to “BCI.”

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.
BCI fingerprint disclaimer
Certification of fingerprints
Fingerprinting form
Notice

Just need 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 or money order only.  Please note: The fingerprints are NOT submitted to the FBI.

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 or money orders only. Please make check out to “BCI.” The Office does NOT accept cash, credit cards or debit cards.
+ 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.