Does Instacart Hire Felons? (All You Need to Know)

A felony conviction can be tough to overcome in U.S. society, but it is not impossible. A record of good, upstanding behavior since the conviction and release from prison is a must.

People with felony convictions might look to the gig economy, and jobs like shopping for Instacart, as a good opportunity to get their foot in the door and start making some money.

But does Instacart hire felons? Will a stain on your record serve as a black mark against employment with this company? Here’s what you need to know.

Does Instacart Hire Felons In 2024?

Instacart will bring on people who have felony convictions as shoppers, provided the conviction is not within the last five years and the candidate has since demonstrated rehabilitation of their behavior. Instacart runs background checks on all potential shoppers and even reruns them annually on existing ones. Applicants are encouraged to be truthful.

To learn more about what might disqualify someone from working for Instacart, what their background checks look for, and even if having a DUI is a deal-breaker keep going! I’ve got all you need to know.

What Disqualifies You From Working for Instacart?

Instacart is an equal opportunity employer, and from my research, I do believe the company makes a good attempt at inclusive hiring practices.

They aren’t going to chuck someone’s application just because they have a felony on their record, especially if that person was open and honest about it.

However, they appear to look less favorably on felons with convictions that occurred less than five years ago.

That’s because the individual hasn’t had quite enough time at that point to show true rehabilitation of their behavior.

It takes a good deal of time to rebuild and regain the public’s trust after a felony conviction.

The nature of Instacart shopping is rife with opportunities for any aspiring criminal – theft, in particular, is ever a possibility, and not just of groceries.

In some cases, shoppers may be given access to garages or other buildings that house people’s possessions. Instacart has to know they can trust you not to steal.

There is also the driving aspect of the job for full-service shoppers. If you’ve had a DUI in the past five years, that doesn’t look great to Instacart.

They need to be able to trust that you can get groceries to people’s houses – safely and in one piece, and without causing an accident on the roads.

A major dealbreaker for Instacart is going to be if your license is currently suspended. You absolutely have to have a valid, non-expired license to deliver groceries.

At the end of the day, if you’re not sure that Instacart will bring you on but it’s what you really want, submit your application and then follow up by getting in touch with them.

Explain your situation, how hard you’ve been working to overcome your felony, and how much you want this chance.

You can do this through the Instacart Shopper app after you have created an account.

Does Instacart Do Background Checks on Shoppers?

Instacart does perform background checks on all prospective shoppers, as well as on current shoppers.

Applicants must consent first to the background check, after which one of two third-party companies (Checkr or Sterling) will begin the process.

Current, active shoppers are background checked annually to ensure those associates who represent Instacart to the public continue to remain on the up-and-up.

What Does Instacart Look for on Background Checks?

What Does Instacart Look for on Background Checks?

Instacart background checks tend to comb through up to a decade’s worth of criminal and driving history.

(If you’ve never been convicted of a crime, or been caught driving under the influence, the process should be pretty short.)

While we can’t confirm it, it’s also likely that the background check includes a peek into your prior employment history.

Particularly for those with felony convictions, a solid work history that shows longer, stable periods of employment are going to indicate true rehabilitation and trustworthiness.

The company might also take into account your educational history.

Convicted felons who went back to school and obtained degrees or certifications show a willingness to assimilate back into society.

Why Is Your Instacart Background Check Suspended?

If your Instacart background check status says that it has been suspended, don’t panic!

It’s likely not because of any previous convictions.

Rather, it’s more likely an indication that some documentation has been requested, but you have not sent it over yet.

This is why it’s important to look into the status of your background check from time to time so that you can address any questions or requests in a timely manner.

How Long Does an Instacart Background Check Take?

One of Instacart’s third-party background checkers, Sterling, purports that the vast majority of reports can be compiled in 24 hours.

However, that’s under ideal circumstances; the reality is that the companies can get backed up on reports, so that it can take as many as 10 days (or more) to finalize a check.

If you’re sitting around worrying, because you know the company has turned up a previous crime or a poor driving history, know this: it’s likely not that causing the delay.

It’s much more likely that the company performing your background check is backed up with requests.

If you still haven’t received word after 10 days, you can reach out to Instacart support to Sterling or Checkr.

Can You Have a DUI and Work for Instacart?

A DUI on your record doesn’t equal an instant refusal, provided it was somewhere along the lines of five or more years ago.

More recent convictions – especially multiples – are going to be a lot tougher to overcome, because full-service shoppers must be responsible drivers.

If your DUI is from more than five years ago, and you have maintained a spotless record since there is a good chance it shouldn’t affect your ability to get hired.

To know more, you can also read our posts on Instacart background check, if Instacart markup prices, and if Instacart pays daily.


Instacart is not averse to hiring felons as shoppers, provided there has been ample time between conviction/time served and the present.

It’s also very important that during that time, the applicant has shown sufficient effort at rehabilitation, and has since established a history of trustworthiness and responsibility.

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Cara Suppa

Cara Suppa has been freelance writing for over a decade and holds a BA in English and an MS in Integrated Marketing Communications. Outside of work, she is an avid cook, gardener, and discount shopper.

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