June 13, 2024

    Background Checks for Use Abroad

    As a U.S. citizen, you may be asked for a certificate of lack of criminal record or of good conduct for abroad use. This includes details of employment, school attendance, adoption, and more. The procedure is quite unfamiliar to most U.S. enforcement authorities, unfortunately. Thankfully, however, there are plenty of was for you to complete background checks on yourself to prove to foreign authorities that you do not have a criminal record.

    Local Police Background Checks

    Firstly, you can attend your local police department and ask them for a document that shows you are not on their files and therefore do not have a criminal record. It is common for the police departments to require you to put in this request in person. Additionally, you may need to have the records authenticated, which you do have to look into.

    FBI Records Check

    The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations) is home to the CJIS (Criminal Justice Information Services) division. They have a centralized database of criminal justice information and it is possible to request them to provide agencies with proof of someone’s criminal record. However, they will usually not provide these documents to individuals requesting them. Rather, the request must come from an international, federal, state, or local law enforcement agency, government agencies, academia, or the private sectors. In other words, you will have to ask the right people to ask on your behalf. If the FBI does not have any records on you, they will provide a report that shows this.

    If you do want to have an FBI report on yourself, then it is possible to put in a request by speaking to a Channeler that has been approved by the FBI. Channelers are private, often for profit businesses, that have registered themselves with the FBI. They are therefore allowed to receive data, including fingerprints, collect fees for searches, forward information to the FBI itself, and receive information to give to individuals looking for searches. Often, those organizations do have their own list of requirements in terms of whether or not to provide you with information, however, so do look into that.

    If you require an authenticated or apostille of your FBI Identification Record, which is likely to be the case if you require it for international purposes, then you have to speak directly to the FBI’s CJIS division. The apostille will be placed on the document by the U.S. Department of State Authentications Office and this means the document will be officially recognized in any country that is part of the Hague Apostille Conventions. If the country is not part of this, a certification can be placed over the FBI seal by the U.S. Department of State Authentication Office. Naturally, all of this will come at a cost.

    As you can see, if you have to prove to a foreign authority that you do not have a criminal record, there are numerous things that you can do. It is generally best to speak to them first, finding out exactly what kind of proof they require, before moving ahead and contacting the FBI.


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