Criminal Background Check

Prior to registration, mortgage loan originators (MLOs) must submit fingerprints to NMLS (unless they already have fingerprints on file with NMLS) and authorize NMLS to process a criminal background check (CBC) with the FBI. The results of the CBC are returned to the employing institution through NMLS.

Step 1: Am I required to complete a Criminal Background Check to be federally registered through NMLS?

Any individual who meets the definition of a mortgage loan originator and must be registered on NMLS is required to have a Federal Criminal Background Check (CBC) processed with the FBI.

In addition to initial registration, an individual will also need a new CBC when making an employment change. See the Changing Employers Quick Guide for instructions on this process.

Step 2: Authorizing a Criminal Background Check Request

A CBC authorization must be completed prior to scheduling a fingerprint appointment. This authorization is processed through the MU4R filing on NMLS.

In order to determine the best method of authorizing a CBC request, an individual should consult with their institution to identify who will be submitting the CBC authorization via the MU4R. The following two options are available:

  • An individual will complete and submit the MU4R form: See the Submitting Your MU4R: MLO Initiated Quick Guide.
  • The institution will initiate and submit the MU4R on behalf of an individual: See the MU4R Attestation Quick Guide.


Step 3: Scheduling a fingerprint appointment via Fieldprint

Once an individual or employer has paid for the CBC request through NMLS, the MLO will be able to schedule a fingerprint appointment. Go to Schedule a Fingerprint.

NMLS has developed the following options for submitting fingerprints:

1.  Submit New Prints via fingerprinting vendor, Fieldprint.
NMLS has developed a nationwide network of approved live scan and paper card fingerprint sites, administered by NMLS’ fingerprinting vendor, Fieldprint. After providing necessary demographic information, authorizing and paying for the background check in NMLS, MLOs are directed to the Fieldprint scheduling site to schedule an appointment at one of over 700 live scan locations where fingerprints can be captured and submitted electronically. If none of these sites are geographically convenient to an MLO, a visit can be scheduled at one of more than 6,000 local police departments where fingerprints can be taken on cards provided to the MLO by Fieldprint and then mailed to Fieldprint for scanning and submission to NMLS. See Livescan Locations.

Note: After authorizing a new CBC and selecting to submit new fingerprints, fingerprints must be taken within 180 days.  If fingerprints are not submitted within 180 days, the background check window will expire and a new CBC will need to be authorized and fees paid.

2. Use existing fingerprints already on file with NMLS.
If an individual has held a state license or federal registration in the past year, it is possible that NMLS already has fingerprints on file and new prints do not need to be submitted. The election of “Use Existing Prints” can be made via the MU4R to conduct a CBC for the purpose of federal registration.

Note: The option to use existing prints will only be available if the fingerprint records on file are less than 3 years old. Due to FBI rules, individuals will need to provide new fingerprints when requesting a new CBC if previously submitted fingerprints are more than 3 years old.

3.  Authorizing existing fingerprints via Fieldprint.
NMLS also offers employers to use existing equipment or network as a method for providing MLO fingerprints to NMLS. This option can only be offered under certain conditions.  An individual should contact their employer to determine if the authorization of existing fingerprints will be available.


Step 4: Viewing CBC Results

Fingerprints are automatically processed with results reported back to NMLS from the FBI, usually within 48 hours of submission. Some exceptions to this may occur if an individual has been sent to Name Check processing where results may not be returned from the FBI for up to 90 days.

CBC status can be viewed through Composite View from your individual account. See the View CBC Status Quick Guide.

To help you determine where you are in the CBC process, please see the Fingerprint Status Reference Chart below:


Fingerprint Status Reference Chart

Fingerprint Status in Composite View

Action Required by MLO?

Pending Fingerprint

Yes, an individual needs to schedule through the Fieldprint website to have fingerprints taken.

Processing Fingerprints

No action is needed from individual.
A CBC request has been submitted, prints have been taken. The background check is being performed.

Processing Name Check

No action is needed from individual.
A background check is being performed using the “Name
Check” method.


Yes, if a CBC is required an individual needs to authorize a new CBC again via the MU4R in order to schedule a fingerprint appointment or fingerprints were not taken within the 180 day allotted time.

Note: Expired prints does not suggest that new prints are required to be submitted for the purpose of a CBC. To determine if a new CBC is required, please contact your employer.

Closed but the "Reason Closed" field shows illegible

Yes, a new CBC must be authorized via the MU4R in order to schedule a fingerprint appointment again. Payment is not required during CBC authorization.
Prints were categorized as illegible by the FBI.

Closed but the "Reason Closed" field shows received

No action needed from the individual.
Process is complete.

Note: If the FBI determines that the prints are illegible, you will receive a system notification and will be required to authorize a new CBC.




Live Scan
(electronic)                                      $36.25  CBC Processing Fee


Paper Card Capture*
(if Live Scan is not selected)              $36.25  CBC Processing Fee
                                                       $10.00  Card Packet Fee
                                                       $46.25  Total

*Paper Card Capture costs more due to the manual processing of fingerprints. For more details see Electronic vs Paper.


Refund Policy

Payments collected through the NMLS are non-refundable and non-transferable.


FBI Privacy Act

 FBI-Required Privacy Act Statement