As an AmeriCorps VISTA candidate, you are expected to attend to important legal administrative tasks related to your enrollment, and to make vital decisions to maximize your benefits.


AmeriCorps VISTA and its sponsoring organizations strive to maintain a safe and productive environment, assigning members who do not present a risk to their service partners, particularly vulnerable members of our communities. In addition to comprehensive interviews and personal reference checks, criminal history checks assist sponsors and AmeriCorps VISTA in determining the suitability of applicants.

AmeriCorps VISTA requires a review of the National Sex Offender Public Registry, maintained by the Department of Justice, before a VISTA applicant can be approved for service. The review occurs at the state office when the application is received from the sponsoring organization. Any records found on this registry for an applicant will result in deselection.

The VISTA program will also conduct a comprehensive Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history check on all VISTA candidates. This check will require you to submit fingerprints at Pre-Service Orientation. The FBI record check takes approximately six to eight weeks to complete. You will be provisionally sworn in as a VISTA member until the research is completed. Until the background check is completed and you are cleared, you will not be permitted to work with children, individuals with disabilities, or individuals more than 60-years-old, without supervision.

Reenrollees who have undergone a criminal history check and have no lapse in service need not undergo a second check. Reinstated VISTA members and Leaders who have a lapse in service greater than 60 days will be asked to submit fingerprints to VISTA. Your Corporation State Office will provide instructions.

Potential and current AmeriCorps VISTA members are expected to cooperate fully with criminal history checks. Cooperation includes, but is not limited to, providing fingerprints when required, providing written consent to conduct a criminal history check, and responding with truthful and complete information to inquiries made during the criminial history check process. Failure to cooperate in these respects, or any attempt to interfere with implementation of this policy, will result in denial of your application or early termination from AmeriCorps VISTA service.


Alcohol abuse and illegal drug use adversely affect health and performance on projects, create potentially dangerous situations, and serve to undermine the community's confidence in AmeriCorps VISTA. Therefore, AmeriCorps VISTA prohibits illegal drug use and alcohol abuse by its Leaders and members. Some sponsoring organizations may require AmeriCorps VISTA Leaders and members to pass a drug screening test before or upon arrival, or during service at the project site. Failure to submit to drug screening, or a positive test result for illegal drugs, may lead to deselection of the AmeriCorps VISTA candidate or early termination of the member.


Before or during the Pre-Service Orientation for AmeriCorps VISTA candidates, you must complete various forms and administrative tasks to establish your AmeriCorps VISTA benefits tax withholding, and other conditions of service.

Unless otherwise noted, all forms must be completed in the My AmeriCorps portal and must be completed prior to Pre-Service Orientation.


Other personal matters may also become relevant during your year of service. If you have:


Prior to attending Pre-Service Orientation, you must complete the following four courses and tutorials you must complete at the VISTA Campus:

** Revised 06/27/2012