Frequently Asked Questions

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FBI Criminal Background Checks— source: fbi.gov

Can I use the same fingerprint card I used for my previous Identity History Summary?

No. The FBI requires a current fingerprint card to process your Identity History Summary.

What if my fingerprints are continuously rejected?

Have multiple sets of fingerprints taken, preferably by a fingerprinting technician. (This service may be available at a law enforcement agency). Mail all fingerprint forms to the CJIS Division with your request. For more information on taking legible fingerprints, refer to the Recording Legible Fingerprints brochure.

Note: The FBI does not provide name checks for DO requests.

Will my fingerprint card be returned?

No. Due to concerns related to the protection of personally identifiable information, fingerprint cards are no longer being returned either for a “no summary” response or with an Identity History Summary.

How will my Identity History Summary be sent back to me?

The FBI will return all results, both foreign and domestic, by U.S. First-Class Mail via the United States Postal Service.

Does the FBI provide arrest records at the request of private citizens?

Yes. You can obtain a copy of your own ”Identification Record”—often referred to as a criminal history record or a rap sheet—by submitting a written request to our Criminal Justice Information Services Division. We check various systems for any arrest records, a process that is generally known as a criminal background check. Your request must include proof of identity and payment of an $18 processing fee by credit card or by money order or cashiers check made payable to the U.S. Treasury. The FBI does not provide copies of arrest records to individuals other than the subject of the record (in other words, you can’t request someone else’s records). See our Identification Record webpage for information and forms.

What type of applicants does the FBI investigate?

We conduct background investigations on all those who apply for jobs with the FBI. We also conduct background investigations on those who have been selected for jobs in certain other government entities, such as the White House, the Department of Justice, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and some House and Senate congressional committees.

Who can obtain the results of such background investigations?

You can request the results of your own background investigation through the Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts. See our FBI Records webpage to learn how to make such a request. The results of our background investigations may also be given to requesting government agencies that need to determine if a person is suitable for a job or should be given access to secret government materials.

Does the FBI exchange fingerprint or arrest information with domestic and foreign police agencies?

Yes. Identification and criminal history information may be disclosed to federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies or any agency directly engaged in criminal justice activity. Such information also may be disclosed to any foreign or international agency consistent with international treaties, conventions, and executive agreements, where such disclosure may assist the recipient in the performance of a law enforcement function.

What is the FBI’s policy on sharing information in its files with domestic or foreign investigative agencies or with other governmental entities?

Through what is known as the National Name Check Program, limited information from the FBI’s central records system is provided in response to requests by other entities lawfully authorized to receive it. These entities include other federal agencies in the Executive Branch, congressional committees, the federal judiciary, and some foreign police and intelligence agencies. The FBI’s central records system contains information regarding applicant, personnel, administrative actions, and criminal and security/intelligence matters. Dissemination of FBI information is made strictly in accordance with provisions of the Privacy Act; Title 5, United States Code, Section 552a; FBI policy and procedures regarding discretionary release of information in accordance with the Privacy Act; and other applicable federal orders and directives.

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