If you have any interest in driving for Uber, you probably already know about Uber’s infamous background checks. They’ve come under some scrutiny with the media, and potential Uber drivers tend to have a lot of questions.
Whether you like it or not, passing a background check is part of the process if you want to become a driver for Uber, or rent to drive for them. Uber has pretty stringent requirements, and a lot of people are concerned about whether or not this will affect their ability to get a job driving for Uber.
If you’ve been wondering what the deal is with these background checks, and what it will take to pass one, here’s everything you need to know!
What is Uber’s Background Check?
Everyone who drives for Uber must undergo a background check. As part of your application to Uber, you’ll fill out a background check consent form. This involves providing your social security number and checking the boxes that agree to their background check.
Checking these boxes confirms that you’ve read the lengthy legal documents that provide details on how the background check works, including Federal Fair Credit Act laws and Uber Disclosure agreements. Once Uber has your consent, they will use the company Checkr to do an extensive background check.
Checkr then takes your information and does an extensive check that is compliant with federal and state standards. Your information is safe with them, and is simply used to get the information Uber needs to approve you for driving.
Uber conducts yearly background checks on all of their drivers, so you’ll want to maintain your clean driving record to avoid being deactivated. They may also conduct background checks if your area has law changes that necessitate it.
Background checks are a necessity for almost any job, but especially for a career in which a company is trusting you with the safety of other people. Thus Uber’s background check, though frustrating to some, is a necessary safety measure for the ridesharing company.
What Do They Look At?
Once Checkr has your social security number, they use it, as well as the address you’ve provided, to trace your identity. They then run a series of checks through multiple databases (local, state, national) to look for any convictions over the previous seven year period. This includes checking:
- County courthouse records for every county of residence in that seven year period
- Federal courthouse records in that time period
- Multi-state records for that period
- Inter-state criminal databases
- Motor vehicle record
- PACER database (Public Access to County Electronic Records)
- Your social security records
- The national sex offender registry
- The FBI’s terrorist watchlist
As Uber is checking all of these databases, they are looking for the following.
- No less than one year with a valid license for ages 23 and over.
- No less than three years with a valid license for those ages 21-23.
- A motor vehicle report that shows no more than 3 minor violations in the previous 3 year period. Minor violations include:
- Speeding violations
- Moving violations
- Driving without a license
- Driving without insurance
- Traffic light violations
- A motor vehicle report that shows NO major violations in the previous 7 year period. Major violations include:
- Hit and run accidents
- Speeding in excess of 100 mph
- Reckless driving convictions
- Street racing
- No criminal convictions in the previous 7 year period. Criminal convictions include:
- Resisting arrest
- Child endangerment or abuse
- Violent crimes
- Driving related convictions
- Sexual offenses
The Uber background check is free, so it won’t cost you, assuming everything comes out clear. Uber doesn’t perform physicals or credit score checks. This is simply a background check that assesses your driving record and ensures that you have a clean criminal record.
As of 2016, Uber did change their restrictions to allow some felons with non-violent convictions to drive for them.
You should know that Uber complies with local and state laws concerning background check criteria, and restrictions may vary depending on where you are applying to drive.
For instance, in California, Uber drivers must have at least 10 years without a DUI in order to be cleared to drive.
How Long Does It Take?
According to Uber, the background check process should take between 7 and 10 days. As a rule, this is true, and most people pass their background checks within one week. However, there are many factors that can contribute to this taking more time.
If Uber has a high volume of applicants, it could cause the process to take a little longer, as they can only do so many background checks at once. There are also multiple factors that could cause the process to slow down. For example, if you’ve lived in multiple states in the last seven years, it will take longer for Checkr to gain access to all the information they need.
As you wait for your background check to be processed, you can keep track by checking your status on in your driver profile at partners.uber.com. Once you’ve consented to a background check, one of four statuses will appear here, and will tell you where Uber is in the process.
- The initial status is Onboarding, and means that your documents are being reviewed and Uber is in the process of completing your background check. If it’s been a week and this is still your status, you will want to contact Uber to make sure things are moving forward.
- If your status changes to Waitlisted, it can mean a number of things. It could just mean that Uber needed to run your information through the system again, or that there is some issue with the documentation.
- If your status changes to Consider, your background check has been completed and you should know shortly if you have been accepted. If it remains this way for long, you will likely be rejected.
- Once your status changes to Active, this means you are an active Uber driver and can begin accepting rides and driving.
Uber does not typically communicate status changes via email or message, so you will need to check regularly to know if you’ve been activated. If you are using a referral to earn a bonus as a new driver, this is especially important, as you’ll want to start earning your driving hours as soon as you’re active.
What Happens If I’m Rejected?
Uber may reject your application if you fail to pass one of the requirements listed above. Unfortunately, Uber does not typically communicate the reason for this rejection, and you must contact Uber directly in order to get an answer.
If you feel you have been rejected without good reason, you can use Uber’s help portal to try and communicate with them directly about your issue. You can reapply with Uber, but you will need to wait 2-4 months, and these applications are reviewed on a case by case basis.
You will also need to do this through support, and not through their online application, as you will already be in their system as a driver from your initial application.
How Can I Avoid Rejection?
If you are concerned that some aspect of your background check could potentially cause you to be rejected, there are a few things you can do.
First, you can request your motor vehicle record and go over it yourself before applying. If the are minor traffic violations that could be removed from your record by taking a traffic safety class, you can pursue this (this is usually only possible for a few months after your violation).
Another reason to request a copy of your records is that you may only need to wait a short time to apply if your violations or charges happened close to three years ago, and you can put off your application until that time.
In some cases you can apply for expungement of certain violations or convictions if you’ve paid your fine and a certain amount of time has passed. If charges are dismissed, they should not appear on your background check. You’ll want to check your state laws on expungement to find out if this is an option for you.
While it’s true that Uber’s background check is somewhat extensive, it’s necessary to ensure the safety of drivers and riders and protect the company as well. With scrutiny in places like Boston in recent months, Uber’s background check standards may change, but for now, the background check remains tightly monitored.
After reading this guide, you should have a clear understanding of what all goes into an Uber background check and know what to expect from your application process, as well as what to do if you have concerns about your background check. Once you see that active status, you’re ready to start accepting riders and earning money as an Uber driver!