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Everything You Need to Know About Military Background Checks

The United States military is one of the largest organizations in the world. It receives more than $400 billion in funding and has more than 481,000 active troops. The large size of the military makes it challenging to perform background checks on everyone. That said, the army continues to improve its background checks and they’re becoming more common in the military.

Plus, the United States military is getting more strict with the type of people it employs. Therefore, knowing what to expect from a United States military background check will help set you apart from other candidates. Read on to learn more below.

What Is a Military Background Check?

Military background checks are similar to traditional background checks that employers use. The difference between military background checks and traditional background checks is that the military is more in-depth. As one of the most powerful organizations in the entire world, the United States military considers almost everything when someone enlists.

Military background checks also become more serious when someone is applying for a high-level position. The military has security and clearance codes, so high-ranking officials need to have a clean record. It’s also worth noting that the military will access things employers can’t because it’s a government agency. Therefore, sealed court cases will appear on military background checks.

Another caveat to military background checks is that declining to answer questions will result in an automatic disqualification. With the United States military, it’s better to be upfront and honest about your background. In many cases, the military will still allow people with criminal records to enlist as long as the crimes are minor.

How Do You Pass a Military Background Check?

A common misconception is that background checks are either pass or fail. While this applies to some jobs, this is not always the case. Even if your background check reveals a criminal record or other problems, enlisting in the military is possible. So the best way to conduct yourself in a military background check is to be open and honest. Always answer all questions honestly for the best chance at success.

What Information Shows Up on a Military Background Check?

Unlike traditional background checks, military background checks have access to more information. More often than not, these checks are also more comprehensive. Therefore, not much is omitted from these background checks. When going through one, expect all information to be made available.

Below we cover the information that appears in military background checks. The basics include:

  • Social security number verification (SSN validation)
  • Criminal records
  • Financial records
  • Personal information
  • Licenses
  • Army records
  • Employment and educational background

SSN Validation

The first thing that the United States military does in a background check is social security number (SSN) validation. Social security numbers are assigned to all United States citizens, so they’re a great way to verify someone’s identity. SSN validation also includes someone’s tax history, citizen status, and more. Failing this part of the background check will result in immediate termination.

Criminal Records

Criminal records are one of the biggest components of a background check. A criminal record makes it more challenging to enlist in the United States military, but it’s not always the end of the world. In the United States, the military treats felonies and major crimes more harshly than misdemeanors and violations.

That said, the military has specific red flags they look for when examining someone’s criminal record. The biggest red flags include offender status, murder charges, incarceration records, and more.

Also, the military looks at records that are sealed, expunged, or otherwise removed from your criminal record. While this information won’t show on traditional employer background checks, it will show up when enlisting in the military. Therefore, honesty is the best policy when speaking with recruiters about your criminal record.

Credit and Financial Records

The military also looks into credit and financial information. Some examples of information the military looks at include bankruptcies, credit scores, credit history, debts, and other financial records. Depending on the type of position someone is enlisting for, this information can be crucial.

Personal Information

The United States military also takes personal information seriously more than employers. Therefore, the military will look through public records pertaining to spouses, families, children, parents, and even friendships. The military also looks into driving or traffic infractions to check for speeding tickets and felony driving incidents. Lastly, the military will check social media accounts like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.


Like other background checks, a military background check will look for licenses. Those with business or other professional licenses will then be reviewed. In some cases, a license like a CDL or a pilot’s license will help someone enter a unique position (mechanized infantry, airforce, officer roles).

Employment and Educational Background

Someone’s employment records and educational background will also show up in a military background check. The military will use this information to assess how well someone will fit in. Typically, the military doesn’t require higher education, but it’s better to list higher education when applying for officer roles. Additionally, employment history is useful in determining how reliable a soldier will be.

Army Records

Military background checks will also verify army records. People with prior military service will be vetted, including many things, like awards, length of service, and active duty or veteran family members. Depending on how long someone served, military rank is also taken into consideration.

How to Check Your Background Before Joining the Military

It’s always best to be prepared, especially when making a life-changing decision like joining the military. Fortunately, running a background check on yourself before you even enlist in the military is easy. To do so, all you need is a reliable public records search engine like’s people search tool allows you to search for public records about anyone – including yourself. All you need is your full name, phone number, and address to use the tool. Inputting this information into the search bar will allow you to view a full report about your public records.

What Information Do People Search Engines Reveal?

People search engines combine data from thousands of public records databases to provide you with a full report. In fact, a good people search engine like will show you everything that comes up in a background check.

With you’ll learn the following about yourself:

  • offender status
  • Criminal records
  • Traffic violations
  • Court records (unsealed)
  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Social media accounts
  • Dating profiles
  • Date of birth
  • Spouses
  • Marriage records

These are only some of the things you’ll find when you use

The only information you won’t find with is sealed court records. Otherwise, you should be able to view most of what will appear on a military background check.

Check Your Background Today!

The United States military has one of the strictest background checks around. After all, the military protects the people of the United States from outside threats, so members need to be trustworthy. Fortunately, the background checks they use efficiently weed out bad recruits.

That said, if you want to join the United States military, it’s best to know what to expect so that you can answer any questions about your background. To be informed about your background or what may come up on your military background check, it’s best to use a tool like to prepare.

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