How Long Does Instacart Background Check Take: Duration, Information Required, Reasons For Delays & Status Interpretations

Anyone interested in becoming an Instacart shopper needs to undergo a background check. How long this will take depends on several factors. Nevertheless, most applicants get feedback within a few days or weeks. 

During this period, your information is vetted across diverse public and private databases to spot any criminal or violation history. 

This guide explains how long it usually takes Instacart to complete a background check and what the procedure looks for. You will also discover the factors that can delay a background check and how to dispute a questionable result. 

How Long Does Instacart Background Check Take? 

Applicants often get their background check results within 3 to 7 business days. It is safe to say it is one of those procedures that requires time. 

This is partly because it is executed by two third-party agencies – Checkr and Sterling. Both agencies will inform you that they will be responsible for your background check before proceeding. 

You will also be prompted to create a user portal on their platform. This is where you can check for updates regarding the procedure.

Instacart executes background checks annually to ensure the continuous safety of its employees, business partners, and customers. However, subsequent assessments are usually faster. 

What Does Instacart Background Check Look For? 


Instacart background check focuses majorly on the applicant’s driving and criminal record. 

1. Driving history 

The third-party checker will request your Driver’s license number to verify your driving history and eligibility to drive for Instacart. Specifically, they are on the lookout for driving violation history such as: 

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or hard drugs. 
  • Behaviors that demonstrate negligence to the safety of a vehicle. 
  • Other moving violations such as exceeding the speed limit and disobeying traffic indicators. 

2. Criminal record 

The checking agency will request your Social Security Number (SSN) to access your criminal records. With this information, they can verify your identity and run a check across diverse criminal databases for: 

  • Felony convictions 
  • Any history of violence and the severity 
  • Sexual abuse or the possibility of being a sexual offender 
  • The possibility of an established criminal pattern, which can indicate a relapse

Other information that will be checked for accuracy include your: 

  • Date of birth: To verify your age and ensure it is eligible for the position you are applying for. 
  • Employment history: Allow the checker to confirm if you have worked with different companies. They may also proceed to contact some of those companies. 
  • Education: Your education history helps the checker confirm if the applicant has attained the required level of education for the role or not. 
  • References: References or referees may also be contacted to verify your claim as an upright applicant.  
  • Professional licenses: Applications that require a professional license(s) or certifications will be verified for authenticity and validity. 

Why is Your Instacart Background Check Taking So Long?

There are several reasons why an Instacart background check may take longer than a few days. Before breaking them down, it is worth noting you can only be patient while the procedure is ongoing: 

1. Huge backlog 

The truth about third-party companies is that they do cater to numerous corporations, not just Instacart. If for some reason, they are dealing with more than they can chew, backlogs are a possibility. 

Clearing these pending tasks may result in applicants waiting months before they receive their results. 

2. You have a criminal record 

Applicants with a criminal history will undergo further checks across multiple databases. Your record will be assessed across the FBI’s fingerprint database and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), to name a few. 

This is to help the checker verify the severity of the crime committed and the punishments. However, if you have a clean slate on standard databases, further investigation may be unnecessary. 

3. Background checks for special qualifications

While most Instacart applications are for delivery drivers and shoppers, some applications require special qualifications, such as a food safety certificate. Verifying such a certificate or other proof of special qualifications usually takes time. 

Different Background Check Statuses and Their Interpretation

While waiting for the outcome of your background check, here are the various updates you may see and what they mean: 

  • Pending: This means your background check is yet to be completed. 
  • Complete: This means the third-party company has completed your background check but has yet to draw any inference from it.
  • Clear: This means your background is devoid of any violation that can make Instacart reject your application. 
  • Consider: This means something was spotted during your background check, and the third party is yet to decide if it is enough to disqualify you.
  • Dispute: This means you are currently disputing the result of your check. 

What Happens if You Fail a Background Check?

You can appeal or dispute the result of an Instacart background check, especially when you are sure it is incorrect. 

All you need to do is to request a copy of your result and review it. If the reason(s) you were not cleared seems inaccurate, please complain directly to the third-party checker via their customer service. 

If your case is compelling or has additional proof, the initial result could be reversed. This is because most checking agencies are not always sure they are right. 

They may reject you at the slightest hint of a violation, especially if they cannot find out. If you can convince them, you might just be cleared. 


What are the basic requirements for Instacart approval? 

You must be: 

  • At least 18 years old.
  • Eligible to work in the United States.
  • Able to operate a smartphone (a minimum of iPhone 6s or Android 5.0)
  • Able to lift 50 lbs 

How much can you earn as an Instacart shopper?

You can earn up to $8/hour as an independent contractor and up to $24/hour if you shop and deliver to the customer. These figures can vary depending on your location or delivery radius. 

How early can you start Instacart?

It depends on when Instacart stores open in your area. This can be as early as 6 am or as late as 10 am. 


How long it takes Instacart Background checks relies on several factors. Nevertheless, certain things you can do to help yourself include: 

  • Ensuring you provide correct and accurate information. 
  • Providing a valid ID when requested. 
  • Exercising patience. 

You should be cleared within a few days without backlogs or criminal history. On the other hand, checks that feature any violations will likely be delayed or rejected. 

I hope you found this guide helpful. If you did, please see how Instacart shoppers pay for groceries and make profits

Thanks for reading.