Certain jobs and institutions will require an in-depth look at a person’s criminal records and activity, such as applying for a federal job, one that requires a high clearance level, requested from a consulate for visa applications, or in situations such as adopting a child. Sometimes a person will request their own check to see what records are on their report.
What is a Federal background check?
A federal background check looks at crimes that have been committed and prosecuted at a federal level. This would include things like kidnapping, bank robbery, fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, or counterfeiting. It’s different from a national background check, which looks at state prosecuted crimes.
Details, such as any case records and data of federal convictions, your social security number, any state or national criminal history, work history, lawsuits, and any other relevant data needed can be included in a federal background check. You can obtain a federal background check using the FBI Criminal Background Check Form, Form I-783.
What you need to know about Form I-783
Form I-783 allows a person to access a certified report of their criminal history from the FBI. You will need certain documents alongside Form I-783, such as Form FD-258, which is a certified scan of your fingerprints. Copies of a person’s criminal background history can cost $50 and can take between four to six business days to receive.
Form I-783 is for entering all of your personal details, such as your social security number, citizenship, and other basic information.
How to obtain and submit form I-783 and FD-258
You will first need to download forms I-783 and FD-258, which you will need 2 copies of. For more information, you can visit the FBI’s website (https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks).
You will also need to create a cover letter that includes your full name and mailing address and your signature.
Form FD-258 will have your fingerprints, date, and place of birth, and your name on it for proof of identity. You will need to locate a certified fingerprint scanning office, such as LiveScan. Using LiveScan will allow you to send off your application to the FBI electronically. Otherwise, you may use a standard certified fingerprint scanning service and mail your application in. It’s important to make sure that all 10 fingerprints on the FD-258 form are clear, which is why they request 2 copies. (you may send more than 2). A fee of $20 is charged for obtaining your fingerprints.
Your next step is to mail in your forms I-783 and at least 2 copies of FD-258. The application fee is $18 and can be paid using a credit card authorization form, or with a certified money order or check. You cannot use a personal or business check for payment. In some cases, it can take up to 13 weeks to process once the FBI has received the application.
You can download a free sample or template from us to help you better understand what is required with each form.
Frequently Asked Questions
Generally, it’s a person’s criminal history that is being looked for, such as any felony convictions and federal misdemeanors. Information about any charges and convictions may also be included.
It can take between 12 to 14 weeks or, in some cases, 1 week if you have used a “channeler,” which is a private firm used by the FBI. A channeler will submit your fingerprints and will receive your criminal history on your behalf.
This will depend on the reason for obtaining an FBI criminal background check and what type of security clearance is needed. It can go as far back as 10 years.
An FBI background check can only be requested by the subject on the record.
While it may seem time-consuming to request an FBI background check, the information it provides can be very helpful in a number of situations, from renting one of your properties to hiring someone for a high-security job. The application and processing are fairly straight forward, and this is something that our free forms and samples can help you with.