Human Resources
Finance & Administration

Required Criminal Background Checks

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All Lehigh faculty and staff are required to undergo background checks in order for the University to remain compliant with Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law (also known as Act 153). Individuals in every office or department of the university are required to recertify these checks every five years.

The background check process consists of three checks:

  • Pennsylvania State Police Access to Criminal History (“PATCH” or Act 34 Background Check)
  • Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Child Abuse History Clearance (Act 151 Child Abuse Background Check)
  • Federal Criminal History Record Information  (Act 24 Federal / FBI Criminal History Background Check or “FBI fingerprint check”)
FBI Fingerprint Checks

FBI Fingerprinting is quick and requires pre-registration online.  To find a list of FBI Fingerprinting locations please click here. ON CAMPUS FINGERPRINTING: University Business Services, in partnership with Human Resources, the Office of the Provost and Student Affairs, is pleased to announce that fingerprinting for background checks is now available at the Parking Services Office. Parking Services now offers fingerprinting on an appointment basis for faculty, staff and students. If fingerprinting is required of you, an email with instructions and payment code will be sent to you. Please select the Parking Services office (using Code SP-LHV in place of a zip code) as your fingerprinting location and follow instructions to schedule an appointment. REMINDER: this location is on campus and you must follow all campus COVID-19 safety protocols. Masks are required at all times and you are required to complete the Hawkwatch COVID-19 self assessment before coming to campus on the day of your appointment.

Fingerprint Check Waiver Option

Faculty and staff hired prior to January 1, 2015 have the option to waive the fingerprinting portion of  this process if they meet all of the following criteria: 

  1. The faculty or staff member does not have “direct contact with minors” as defined in the Protection of Minors Policy; AND
  2. The faculty or staff member has been a Pennsylvania state resident for the entirety of the past 10-year period, or, if they have not been a Pennsylvania state resident for the entirety of the past 10-year period, they have completed a full background check certification (i.e., all three checks listed above, including the FBI fingerprint check) at any time since establishing Pennsylvania residency and can provide such certification to the University; AND
  3. The faculty or staff member swears or affirms in writing that they have not been convicted of any of the 22 criminal offenses that disqualify a person from activities having “direct contact with children” pursuant to Pennsylvania Act 153, nor have they been convicted of any offense similar in nature to the Act 153 disqualifying crimes under the laws of any other state or past laws of Pennsylvania.

You will be asked during the background check process whether you are able to certify your compliance with ALL THREE prerequisites above.

Direct Contact With Minors

“Direct Contact” is defined by the Policy as: “Contact between an adult and one or more minors that:

  • Involves the instruction, care, supervision, guidance, or control of a Minor and routine interaction with Minors;
  • Involves an overnight stay (with the exception of Lehigh University students hosting high school students, such as prospective student-athletes and those participating in pre-enrollment visits); and
  • Occurs in Lehigh Facilities on five or more occasions in any three-month period.”

If you have any questions about whether a class, activity or program you are planning or participating in will involve Direct Contact with Minors, please consult the Office of the General Counsel at or 610-758-3572.


Previously Completed Background Checks From New Hires

Lehigh will accept previously completed background checks from new hires under the following circumstances:

  • The checks have been completed within the last 5 years
  • The FBI Clearance was completed by the Department of Human Services (not the Department of Education)
  • The employee can provide the original documents
  • The reason indicated on the request is employment (not volunteering)
  • The employee signs the Affirmation Statement available at this link
Non-Employee Adults with Direct Contact with Minors
  • Non-Employee Adults in Lehigh Sponsored Programs or Athletic Camps: The Program Director is responsible for obtaining criminal background checks for Program staff and Volunteers who will have Direct Contact with Minors and who are not employed by Lehigh University. The Program Director shall follow the Procedures for Obtaining Criminal Background Checks as provided in Appendix E to the Lehigh University Protection of Minors Policy.  The criminal background checks must be dated no more than one year prior to the individual’s first contact with Minors in the Program.  The cost for completing criminal background checks for non-employees will be the responsibility of the individual, unless the Program Director specifically authorizes payment to be made from their program budget. For more information, see sections 8.5 through 8.8 of the Protection of Minors Policy for more details.

  • Non-Employee Adults in Third Party Programs shall undergo criminal background checks in accordance with applicable law, and it is the responsibility of the Third Party to ensure that such criminal background checks are completed in a timely manner in accordance with the requirements of their contract with the university and the Protection of Minors Policy.  An authorized signatory of the Third Party must complete and sign the Attestation Form set forth on Appendix F of the Protection of Minors Policy and submit the completed Attestation Form to the individual responsible for managing the Third Party contract (the “Contract Manager”) prior to the start of the Program. For more information, see section 8.9 of the Protection of Minors Policy for details.

Additional Resources
Sample Clearance Check Documents
For More Information
  • If you are a staff member, please contact Human Resources at or 610-758-3900
  • If you are a faculty member hired before January 1, 2015, please contact the Office of the General Counsel at or 610-758-3572
  • If you are a faculty member hired after January 1, 2015, please contact the Office of the Provost at or 610-758-3605