Seems there are lots of questions about the FBI background check. I'll try to answer them all here as well as others I've been hearing; if I miss any, let me know. Some of these questions I've answered a few times before, so if in the future you guys see any more questions about the FBI background check, could you redirect people here?
1. How to apply:
Go here and follow the directions - http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks
2. How to get fingerprints done:
They can be done at many police stations or you can do a search for fingerprinting places in your area. Either electronic or ink-stamped fingerprints are acceptable. If you can't find any place to take your prints (or if you want to save money), you can print off the card (plain paper is fine) and do them yourself. I recommend reading through "Recording Legible Fingerprints" page: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/fingerprints_biometrics/recording-legible-fingerprints
(it's very, very common for prints to be rejected, which can slow down the process of getting the FBI background check in; even if you get them taken by a police station, you should follow the suggestions on that page to make sure the prints are legible).
3. Send to FBI or send to Channeler:
The FBI-approved Channeler option is much faster, but unfortunately they do not produce results that are acceptable for submitting to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Therefore, you will need to send your application and prints to the FBI.
4. Who pays:
5. Where do the results get sent to:
The results should either be sent back to you or to the consulate/embassy associated with your interview location. Follow the instructions given to you by your coordinator (the normal instructions are for you to receive the FBI background check and forward the UNOPENED envelope to your coordinator; some of us are experimenting with having results sent to us directly to cut down on time; do whatever your coordinator has told you to do). Do NOT send results to the Embassy in Washington, DC unless that is where you interviewed. From now on, send all documents to the coordinator connected with your interview location.
6. When to apply:
This depends upon whether your coordinator has contacted you to begin the application process now or not. If you have been contacted to start the process, it is advised that you do (although it is your choice if you want to wait until finding out if you are accepted as a short-listed or alternate candidate first). If you have not, your coordinator is likely waiting to hear results from the Tokyo office before notifying people of whether or not they should apply for the FBI background check. Being told to apply for the FBI background check at this point is not necessarily an indication that your have been accepted, nor is not having been told to apply for it an indication that you have been rejected.
7. Should applicants who already submitted FBI background checks reapply:
There are several answers to this one depending upon the reason for having already submitted an FBI background check:
a) Early Departure applicant (selected)
- if you submitted an FBI background check because you were applying for Early Departure and you were chosen for Early Departure, you do NOT need to reapply for the FBI background check (same with the Certificate of Health)
b) Early Departure applicant (not selected)
- if you submitted an FBI background check because you were applying for Early Departure and you were NOT chosen, you might have to reapply for a new FBI background check. If your FBI background check was received ON OR BEFORE the December 2 deadline, you WILL have to reapply for FBI background check (and Certificate of Health). If it was received AFTER the December 2 deadline, you will NOT have to reapply for an FBI background check or Certificate of Health.
c) Criminal Background
- if you submitted an FBI background check because you have a criminal record and needed to declare it, you will most likely have to reapply for a new FBI background check (check with your coordinator; I'm not positive, but the December 2 cutoff may apply to you as well)
d) Submitted for no reason
- if you do not fit into one of the previous categories and you submitted an FBI background check without before required to, you should check with your coordinator. Most likely you will have to reapply for a new one.
8. What to do if FBI background check doesn't come in on time
- The reason some of the coordinators are pushing to apply for FBI background checks now is because the deadline to submit them to Tokyo moved up to mid-June. That isn't a lot of time, and so far this year the results have been very delayed. If the FBI background check does not come in by the deadline, you may be asked to apply for and submit for a state background check. Those often take about 1-2 weeks (it may be longer depending upon the state) to come in. You would be responsible for any costs involved with the state background check as well.
9. What to send to your coordinator
- Keep a copy of the application form to send to your coordinator. We need to send that form on to the Tokyo office to prove that you have begun the process of applying for the FBI background check. It also gives us a general idea of when the application was submitted and when the document will arrive. If you have been instructed to have the FBI background check sent to you, then send the envelope UNOPENED to your JET Coordinator. There is no inner envelope to protect the results, and if you open the envelope, you may have to send it back to the FBI to be resealed (call your coordinator first and ask for instruction).
10. What to do if your results are rejected
- If your coordinator notifies you that your results were rejected, we will send back the results so that you can see what the problem was (usually the prints are unclear, but sometimes the payment was not received or the form was improperly filled out). You are permitted to resend results without having to pay an additional fee 1 time (possibly 2), but after that you may have to pay again. If you have a condition where your fingerprints are nonexistent or illegible or if you are missing fingertips, notify your coordinator and ask for your options. See also the Recording Legible Fingerprints page: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/fingerprints_biometrics/recording-legible-fingerprints