National Service Criminal History Checks (NSCHC) is a baseline screening requirement established by law to protect the beneficiaries of national service.

NSCHC is required under the National and Community Service Act of 1990, as amended by the Serve America Act (SAA). The statutory requirement at 42 U.S.C. § 12645g is supplemented by regulatory requirements at 45 CFR §2540.200 through §2540.207 as well as the terms and conditions of AmeriCorps grants. 

Quick Links

Training Opportunities

Join the Office of the Chief Risk Officer and Monitoring for additional trainings on the NSCHC rule and vendor usage. 

NSCHC Rule Quick Summary

Please refer to the NSCHC Manual for complete information on NSCHC and its compliance requirements.

What grants are required to comply with NSCHC?

Organizations that receive one of the following grants, as a recipient or subrecipient, must conduct NSCHCs:

  • Operational grants provided by AmeriCorps State and National
  • Foster Grandparent Program Grants
  • Retired and Senior Volunteer Program Grants
  • Senior Companion Program Grants
  • Senior Demonstration Program Grants that receive funding from CNCS
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Grants
  • September 11th Day of Service Grants
  • Social Innovation Fund Grants
  • Volunteer Generation Fund Grants
  • AmeriCorps VISTA Program Grants
  • AmeriCorps VISTA Support Grants

What individuals are required to comply with NSCHC?

The following individuals who work/serve on a grant specified above must comply with NSCHC:

  • AmeriCorps members serving in State and National programs
  • AmeriCorps Seniors Volunteers serving in the Foster Grandparent program who receive a stipend;
  • AmeriCorps Seniors Volunteers serving in the Senior Companion who receive a stipend; or
  • If staff, individuals in positions in which they will receive a salary, directly or reflected as match, under a cost reimbursement grant.

NSCHC is not required for individuals who are under the age of 18 on the first day of work or service and for individuals whose activity is entirely included in the grant recipient's indirect cost rate or cost allocation plan. 

AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serving in the RSVP program and AmeriCorps members serving in the VISTA program are not required to comply with NSCHC. AmeriCorps members serving in the VISTA program will undergo a separate criminal history check process managed by the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Grant recipients may choose to conduct criminal history checks on AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serving in the RSVP program.

Who is ineligible to serve/work on an AmeriCorps NSCHC-required grant?

Individuals shall be ineligible to work or serve in a NSCHC-required grant if the individual

  • refuses to consent to NSCHC;
  • makes a false statement in connection with NSCHC;
  • is registered, or is required to be registered, on a state sex offender registry or the National Sex Offender Registry; or
  • has been convicted of murder, as defined in 18 U.S.C. 1111.

What checks are required? 

Three checks are required for individuals required to comply with NSCHC: 

  • National Sex Offender Public Website nationwide check;
  • state of residence and state of service criminal history check(s); and
  • FBI fingerprint-based check.

When must NSCHC be completed?

All three checks must be conducted, reviewed, and an eligibility determination made by the grant recipient or subrecipient no later than the day before a person begins to work or serve on an NSCHC-required grant. 

How can the checks be conducted? 

Grantees can use the following sources:

  • NSOPW checks: NSOPW.gov or AmeriCorps approved vendor Truescreen
  • State checks: AmeriCorps identified state repository or AmeriCorps approved vendor Truescreen
  • FBI fingerprint checks: AmeriCorps identified state repository or AmeriCorps approved vendor Fieldprint

AmeriCorps Approved Vendor Information

Truescreen (NSOPW and State checks)

Fieldprint (FBI fingerprint checks)

NSCHC Guidance

How to Conduct NSCHC