Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information.
U.S. citizens may be asked to present a “certificate of good conduct” or “lack of a criminal record” for a variety of reasons for use abroad including adoption, school attendance, employment, etc. U.S. law enforcement authorities may not be familiar with such a procedures since it is not commonly requested in the United States. There are a variety of options available to U.S. citizens seeking to obtain proof of their lack of a criminal record.
Local Police Check
Go to your local police department where you reside or last resided in the United States, request that the police conduct a local or state criminal records search and provide you with a document reflecting that there is no history of a criminal record. Local police departments may require your personal appearance in order to conduct the search. Your local police department can phrase this in whatever way it deems appropriate. The document should then be authenticated for use abroad following Department of State guidance on Apostille-Authentication of documents.
FBI Records Check
The Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) centralizes criminal justice information and provides accurate and timely information and services to local, state, federal and international law enforcement agencies, the private sector, academia and other government agencies.
The FBI offers two methods for requesting your FBI Identification Record or proof that a record does not exist. The subject of an identification record may obtain a copy of that record by submitting a written request to the CJIS Division. The request must be accompanied by satisfactory proof of identity (consisting of name, date and place of birth and a set of rolled-inked fingerprint impressions) and a certified check or money order for the current processing fee.
The FBI will not provide copies of arrest records to individuals other than the subject of the record. Requests should be directed to the:
FBI CJIS Division
Attn: SCU, Mod. D-2
1000 Custer Hollow Rd.
Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306
If there is no criminal record, a report reflecting this fact is provided. See FBI.gov information on Identification Record Request/Criminal Background Check and Submitting an Identification Record Request to the FBI.
The subject of an identification record may also submit a request through an FBI-Approved Channelers, which is a private business that has contracted with the FBI to receive fingerprint submissions and relevant data, collect the associated fee(s), electronically forward the fingerprint submissions with the necessary information to the FBI CJIS Division and receive the electronic record check results for dissemination to the individual. See FBI.gov for the list of FBI-Approved Channelers.
An individual requiring an apostille or authenticated copy of his/her FBI Identification Record, or any non U.S. person who wishes to request his/her FBI Identification Record must submit a request directly to the FBI CJIS Division. The U.S. Department of State Authentications Office can then place an apostille document for use in a country party to the Hague Apostille Convention. For countries not party to the Hague Apostille Convention, the U.S. Department of State Authentication Office will place a certification over the FBI seal.
Getting Your Fingerprints Taken
The U.S. Embassy does not provide fingerprinting services. In order to have your fingerprints taken, you must take a fingerprint card to a local enforcement agency to request this service. Fingerprint cards can be downloaded from the FBI’s website: Finger Print Card (PDF 464kb).
Once the prints have been taken, you must follow the instructions on the FBI website regarding a Criminal Record Check.
Authentication of Police or FBI Certificates of Lack of a Criminal Record
The FBI’s CJIS Division will authenticate U.S. Department of Justice Order 556-73 fingerprint search results for international requests by placing the FBI seal and signature of a Division official on the results, if requested at the time of submission. Documents prepared in this matter may then be sent to the U.S. Department of State Authentications Office by the requestor to be authenticated if necessary. Please be sure to indicate the country in which the document is to be used.
The FBI procedure became effective 1/25/2010 and will apply to only documents finalized after that date. Requests to authenticate previously processed results will not be accepted. See the FBI FAQ on this website.
Documents obtained from your local police will require additional authentication after you obtain the local police seal. Contact your state Secretary of State’s office or other official designated in your state to authenticate state issued documents. See our guidance on authentication or legalization of documents.