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Proper Bostonian
03-11-2007, 10:51
Does anyone know how qa U.S. citizen goes about getting a criminal history report from the U.S.? Where to apply/ask? I have no criminal history, but understand I need some kind of notarized report stating so in order to apply for residency here. Please respond only if you are in the know - no guess work! Thanks in advance.

VladSkywolf
04-11-2007, 07:24
Does anyone know how qa U.S. citizen goes about getting a criminal history report from the U.S.? Where to apply/ask? I have no criminal history, but understand I need some kind of notarized report stating so in order to apply for residency here. Please respond only if you are in the know - no guess work! Thanks in advance.

Basically you can opt for one of two criminal history record types: federal (FBI) or state (State Police). You didn't mention which state you're from (i.e., where you have legal US residency) so it could be slightly different depending, however this is what I had to do in NJ.

First I had to visit my local police department to get myself fingerprinted. These fingerprints are put on to special cardstock forms, one for the state (SBI-19) and another for the FBI (FD-258). They will ask you what the application is for since these are also used for other types of things, such as gun permits, certain types of employment, etc.

Once you have these fingerprints, you send the correct one along with a cover letter listing the purpose of the request, the individual's (your) name, and the mailing address you want it sent back to, with a money order or certified check for processing amount to the appropriate agency. It cost me $30 for the state report and $18 for the FBI report. Since I'm not sure of your state I won't bother including that address, however the FBI request goes to:

FBI CJIS Division Record Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306

My state police report came back as a letter (on official letterhead) while the FBI report was simply a stamp on the back of the fingerprint form which stated "No arrest record". For reasons I'll outline below, I am going to submit my state record rather than the FBI record.

Anyhow, once you have received your criminal record, you must then have it notarized. This is important because you must have it Apostille'd in order to use it in Russia, and (at least in NJ), they won't apostille this document unless it's been notarized. As I mentioned, after it's notarized, you must then get it Apostille'd. The state agency which handles this will vary from one state to the next - check on the internet since that's how I found it for mine. :)

Okay, so now your back in Russia and have your Apostille'd criminal record. Before you can submit this with your residency application, it must be translated into Russian by a qualified translator, and this translation must be notarized.

Anyway, this is why I decided to use my state criminal record rather than the FBI record. The fingerprint card has a lot of useless standard information printed on it in a format which makes it relatively difficult to translate neatly, whereas the state record is a nice, relatively simple letter. :)

I visited the US earlier this year, got the fingerprints done, and received my criminal records. However I did NOT get it Apostille'd (since we weren't aware of this requirement) and had to send it back to my family to firstly sign an affidavit (for the notary) then send it to the state agency for an Apostille. An unnecessary delay and expense (for int'l courier), so do yourself a favor and do it all while you're there!

Btw, the US embassy/consulate here will NOT notarize this for you here, nor can they issue Apostilles. I've already checked. ;)

Best of luck to ya...

P.S.
The usual processing time for FBI requests is 16-18 weeks, however you can ask for expedited service - but there's no guarantee of this.

Proper Bostonian
04-11-2007, 10:30
OY! What an ordeal. Any idea if it's possible to do this without returning to the States since I have near future plans to be there? Can the Embassy or local police do acceptable fingerprints to be mailed off? Or is it a problem because they have to be on a special card?

My legal residence is Florida.

Big thanks for such detailed info.

VladSkywolf
05-11-2007, 03:43
OY! What an ordeal. Any idea if it's possible to do this without returning to the States since I have near future plans to be there? Can the Embassy or local police do acceptable fingerprints to be mailed off? Or is it a problem because they have to be on a special card?

My legal residence is Florida.

Big thanks for such detailed info.

I agree with your sentiments... certainly an ordeal, especially if you're here and without plans to go stateside anytime soon. I delayed my residency application for a year because of this, and now it's coming back to haunt me due to the recent changes with the ME business visas. :(

What I do know for certain is that the embassy cannot issue criminal history reports, however I'm not sure if they're unable to do the fingerprints. Something tells me no. Regardless, at least for the FBI, these fingerprints must be on a special card.

But, there does seem to be hope for you. :) A quick google showed this link (1st link on 1st page) using these search parameters: +Florida +"criminal history"

Obtaining Criminal History Information (http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/CriminalHistory/)

This appears to be official and apparently Florida law does not require fingerprints. Man, you lucked out! :)

Don't forget though, that it MUST be Apostille'd, but if you have friends/family in Florida, they can help you with that.

Proper Bostonian
05-11-2007, 08:36
Thanks a million - you've been extremely helpful! I didn't even think to look on FL's web site.

What's really interesting is that the FBU accepts scanned fingerprints. Doubt it will help any of us, but it would be a nice service if the U.S. Embassy offered authorized, scanned fingerprints!

Is your residency application in the process? How's it been so far?

Periwinkle
05-11-2007, 10:49
Thanks a million - you've been extremely helpful! I didn't even think to look on FL's web site.

What's really interesting is that the FBU accepts scanned fingerprints. Doubt it will help any of us, but it would be a nice service if the U.S. Embassy offered authorized, scanned fingerprints!

Is your residency application in the process? How's it been so far?
Yep thats the question - how to get accurate scanned finger prints unless they were from a stint in jail/arrest..... I can see many things wrong with that process:eh:

nyinrussia
06-11-2007, 18:40
just one thing to add you can get fingerprinted at the us embassy and then send it to fbi with money order or certified check, you will need to make an appointment though

thva
06-11-2007, 23:20
however, when I called about fingerprinting, I just asked if I could come by in 40 minutes, and they said fine - took about 20 minutes - the irony is that they didn't even check any ID to insure that the name I wrote on the form was actually the name of the person being fingerprinted ;-)

I mailed those fingerprints from the embassy to the NJ state police, and they actually notarized it for me themselves upon request - then someone sent it onward for me to get notarized there in NJ, and I am just trying to figure out now how to get it to me safely - don't dare to risk it getting lost!!

VladSkywolf
13-11-2007, 06:24
Thanks a million - you've been extremely helpful! I didn't even think to look on FL's web site.

What's really interesting is that the FBU accepts scanned fingerprints. Doubt it will help any of us, but it would be a nice service if the U.S. Embassy offered authorized, scanned fingerprints!

Is your residency application in the process? How's it been so far?

You're very welcome - I personally know how useful getting first-hand information can be.

Unfortunately my residency application process has not formally started. I had to send my criminal history record back to the states for an apostille (shame on me for not verifying this requirement before I traveled to the states!) and due to unfortunate circumstances (no sense boring all with the details :)), I'm still waiting for it. Best estimate is maybe two weeks before I have it in my hands, at which point we'll promptly go and submit the application. Everything (and I mean everything!) else is ready!

Then again, no one suspected these changes to ME visas so I admit I took more time that I should have to start the process, wasting 1.5 months. :( Now I have to hope that I'll get my temp res before my visa runs out (May 2008) since it appears we may have to travel back to country of origin for new visas - something I'd rather avoid due to the expense. Definitely more expensive to fly home from the Far East than it is from Moscow (I've done both).

Proper Bostonian
13-11-2007, 16:28
Couple of questions:

1. To anyone who's received a criminal record report from the FBI - how long did it take to receive it?

2. I see on the FBI's Web site you can request expedited service, but must give them a date. Did anyone do this? How much time did you give them and did you receive it within the requested time period? If not, how much longer did it take?

3. Where can one get a US dollar money order in Moscow since they won't accept credit cards for expedited service?

Thanks for your help!

VladSkywolf
14-11-2007, 04:06
2. I see on the FBI's Web site you can request expedited service, but must give them a date. Did anyone do this? How much time did you give them and did you receive it within the requested time period? If not, how much longer did it take?


I was in the US this past spring and requested expedited service - I stated my impending departure from the country as the reason and had listed the flight date. They accommodated my request - as I recall it took maybe two weeks but since I'm not home at the moment I can't double-check the exact amount of time.

Also as I recall, you can request expedited service but there's no guarantee they'll honor it by the date you want. However I think this is basically CYA mode in case they get backed up or are just going through a lazy period. :D

Edit
Home now and checked the timeframes. I sent the FBI my fingerprints on April 28, they processed my request on May 14th and put it in the mail the next day. Add a couple of days for postal delivery and it took a total of 2.5-3 weeks. I had stated a departure date of May 21st. Hope this helps!