FBI Police Check Update!

15 Nov

This is more for my personal records than anything else, but hey, some of you might be sitting in Australia twiddling your thumbs as you await some sign that the FBI actually got your record check request. Here’s a bit of a timeline for you.

Today, November 15, payment left my US account for my FBI record check.

That’s the record check that I sent off on September 24. So, from the time it left my hands at an Australian post office to now, it’s a bit over seven weeks. The FBI website claimed that processing times are around 5-6 weeks, but keep in mind that my application likely reached them the day the government shut-down started, and they weren’t processing requests at that time. The shut-down lasted what, three weeks? Which puts this application somewhere around the 4-week processing mark. Not bad.

Now, here’s hoping that I get a little sheet of paper that says “you have not committed any crimes” rather than a sheet of paper that says “please submit more fingerprints, yours were not of good enough quality” like last time.

For those of you who haven’t been following my “Woe Is Me Requesting FBI Record Check” saga, it’s gone something like this:

MARCH: Sent off first record request with just one set of fingerprints. Did not send via registered post, but payment went out of my account shortly thereafter.

APRIL 22: Received papers in the mail from FBI. “Sorry, we need more fingerprints, but don’t worry, you don’t have to pay an additional fee. Just send the fingerprints in.”

APRIL 26: Get fingerprints redone at the police station; send in one set of fingerprints with paper saying no further pay necessary. Did not send via registered post. FBI waiting time estimate: 8-10 weeks.

MAY – AUGUST: Waiting game. Did not hear anything at all from the FBI. Have no idea if fingerprints even reached them. Couldn’t find phone number to call to check (don’t worry, I’ve since located it!). Waited a little extra while, then gave up on them and made the decision to get fingerprints redone. Again.

SEPTEMBER 24: Get two copies of fingerprints done. The very nice people at the police station, who at this point are getting sick of seeing my face, give me the second set for free after I explain how fail-tastic my government is at communication. I finally think to send the things via registered post. However, I was confused about which envelope to use, so I went up to the post office lady and said, “I need to send some sensitive documents to the FBI and need to know that they get there. Which envelope will show me where my package is at all times and inform me when someone signs for it at its destination?” Post office lady points to envelope. I send documents off.

SEPTEMBER 25: I learn upon attempting to enter the tracking number that this envelope doesn’t actually have any tracking or confirmation of receipt. Great.

OCTOBER 1: Government shut down. Add three weeks. Do not pass go.

NOVEMBER 15: Payment for request leaves US bank account.

Fingers crossed I get an envelope from the FBI within a week or so. Fingers crossed it does not arrive on a Thursday during a thunderstorm (our mail box is not that big, and that is the only day I’m not at home). Fingers crossed it contains an actual record check rather than a request for more fingerprints. If the latter, I will a) cry b) finally fork over the money for 10 sets of fingerprints and say, “If this isn’t good enough for you, FBI, I don’t know what is.” (It costs $25/fingerprint card at the local police station, or I would have done this already.)

Meanwhile, my Australian police check, which I requested in March and which arrived within a week, is going to expire in four months.

What’s your FBI record check story? Or police check story in general? Leave tips and tricks to speed the process up here! If you’re interested in seeing more updates from me about my partner visa, follow these links:

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25 Responses to “FBI Police Check Update!”

  1. Bri February 19, 2014 at 12:33 am #

    Hi there,

    Thank you for this blog it is very helpful. I have a quick question. What kind of paper did you use for your fingerprints? I can’t seem to find a solid answer anywhere on the best material to use.

    Thanks!.

    • inkhearted February 19, 2014 at 12:44 am #

      Hi Bri! I’m glad you’re finding the blog useful. 🙂 We just used regular printer paper for mine–just a cheap pack we picked up from Kmart. You can also use cardstock if you want something a bit hardier. As long as you provide several copies of the prints and use an envelope that’s large enough that you don’t have to fold the paper with the prints, you shouldn’t have too much of an issue no matter what kind of paper you use.

      Good luck!

      • Bri February 19, 2014 at 1:00 am #

        Perfect. Thanks!

  2. Sonja April 27, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    The FBI police check is painful…. I am in Melbourne and they charge me $44 to have my fingerprints taken. Did you get all your fingerprints taken by the police? And the paper cannot be folded at all? Did you include a return envelope in your application? Many questions…. 🙂

    • inkhearted April 27, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

      Hi Sonja! Yes, the FBI police check is incredibly painful. I did get all of my fingerprints done at my local police station. They ended up giving me a “2 for 1” deal when I asked about potential discounts because they were for the same thing, but I’m not sure if that’s something everyone does.

      As for the paper, I’d recommend that you don’t fold it at all. Folding can interfere with the quality of the prints. If a crease falls across your prints, it could be picked up by the FBI when they scan them and make your prints unreadable. The post office has large cardboard envelopes you can use that will fit the paper perfectly. They’re a little more expensive, but worth it!

      I didn’t include a return envelope. I’ve seen a lot of people saying that you have to include one, but I think it’s an old practice. On the FBI website, they actually say that any return envelopes will be shredded, so there’s no use sending one anyway!

      Let me know if you have any other questions!! 🙂

      • Sienna February 9, 2015 at 7:07 am #

        Hello there, I have enjoyed and sympathised with you whilst reading your blog. I am applying for my partner visa at the moment, I am a UK citizen applying with my AU citizen boyfriend here in Australia. I have paid and applied for my Visa (820) But have now been told I need to get a USA police check as I spent a period of time over there. I am a bit confused about how to do this, where I send it to..what the cover letter is! ANY help will be greatly appreciated 🙂

      • inkhearted February 12, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

        Hi Sienna! Sorry it’s taken me a few days to get back to you. Check out this link to find the application for the FBI check: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks/submitting-an-identity-history-summary-request-to-the-fbi

        It has all the information you need there, step-by-step–application form, address, payment information. There’s no need for a cover letter for the FBI check. You can head over to your local police station to get fingerprinted (usually–most do this!). Good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions.

  3. C. Trotter February 27, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

    Hi. I’ve had the same drama as you, same timeline. Submitted second set in December and fee is yet to come out of my account. One thing though, I was able to check the status the first time around…but they’ve unpublished the phone number from the website – have it handy by chance?
    Thanks

    • inkhearted February 28, 2015 at 9:46 am #

      So sorry to hear about your trouble getting the FBI check! 😦 It’s so, so frustrating. Unfortunately I don’t have the number any more–it seems so strange that they would take that off their website (maybe they were getting too many complaints!). I would suggest looking around a few visa forums and seeing if it’s been posted there, though if they’ve taken it off their website it’s possible they just don’t take calls anymore which would be even more frustrating!

      Good luck and I hope you receive it soon. Let me know if you find that number and I’ll put it up on this post for others in the same situation.

      • Britt March 4, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

        Hi, thanks for your post. I would also really appreciate a contact number if someone had one. I have been waiting 8 weeks to hear back from the FBI (no payment has yet been deducted) and still nothing. I don’t even know if my parcel made it to them!

        Thanks in advance.

      • inkhearted March 4, 2015 at 8:59 pm #

        Hi Britt, sorry but I haven’t saved the number! It sounds like they’ve taken it off their website, in which case whatever number I used probably is no longer functional anyway. 😦 I’ll be keeping my eye out for a number you can use and will update you if I can find one! Good luck with getting your check… hopefully the wait isn’t much longer.

  4. Zuzana March 17, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi all,

    I am reading my story here. Done my fingerprints in September 2014 ! The payment came out off my account maybe 4 week after i sent it off. And then waiting drama started. In mid January I received the envelope from FB saying my fingeprints are not clear enought!!!!!! after almost 5 moths????
    Is anyone working there? what can possibly take 5 months? and why is it not clear enought? Sorry but the entire world is digital AND YOU ARE STILL SENDING DOCUMENTS VIA MAIL??? Whats the point of having digital fingerprints when you’re still sending them over via mail???

    Has US ever heard about email? or technology?
    If you commit a crime, the FBI is able to find out who you are even from the smallest fingerprint you left behind.

    Anyway, with a lot of tears and anger I visited police station again. Did my fingerprints again 31 of January and the payment still hasn’t come through yet. Not sure if the envelope was delivered, or lost on the way, eaten by a dog, forgotten in Australia, forgotten at the airport, on the plane, lost in America….anything could happened.

    So its 17 March 2015 and I’ve been waiting on my FBI police check 6 months.

    I really wish those complaints and ideas are heard by US Government or FBI, so America can probably learn from the entire world how technology works.And maybe become the gretest country in the world again? hehe

    Is anyone here know more, any numbers or email I can possibly contact to speed up or at least check my application I would be very happy.

    Good luck everyone.

    Zuzana

    • inkhearted March 22, 2015 at 8:28 am #

      Hi Zuzana, so sorry to hear of your FBI troubles! 😦 It’s so, so sad that they have such an antiquated system that seems to barely work. It looks like they’ve taken the number that you used to be able to use to call them down, so I have no idea how to get in touch with them any more. :/ It’s really ridiculous that it has such long waits. My recent police check in Australia was approved in ONE DAY. Makes me happy I’m living here instead!! Hope your FBI check comes through soon.

      • Zuzana March 30, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

        Thanks for nice words. Hopefully soon. So have you received your FBI police check and visa finally?

  5. Pauline March 30, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

    Hi ,

    i just have a question about the FBI form
    When they said ” last four digits of social security number” is it my French ( i am from France ) because even though i lived in NYC for just over a year i have never had on social security number

    what am I supposed to do ?

    thanks for your help 🙂

  6. Alexis July 6, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

    Hi! I don’t know if you’re still active here, but I am currently going through the partner visa process and found your blog so helpful compared to other sites I’ve found. Thanks so much for this!! I’m still waiting for my FBI check to come back, it’s been about 6 weeks. I’m just wondering how you explained your relationship in the paperwork…did you write an essay about how you met and maintained a long distance relationship, or did you just let the evidence speak for itself? Anything helps xoxo

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