This post is very different from my other posts. I am writing this up just in case the information will be useful for someone out there.
I need to get a US Criminal History check a.k.a FBI Background check for migration purpose. I had actually done this once, but I was still in the US back then, which made things so much easier. Now I had to obtain the document once again when I am physically in Australia.
In order to get the background check, it is actually quite straightforward. The complete information is available on the FBI website. The only problem is to get the fingerprint sets. I have no clue where I can get some help on this. From the US Embassy’s website, it says the local police station provides this kind of service. I also googled a bit, and some people have different opinions and problems, from unreasonable cost to unbearable waiting time.
I started considering the option to do it myself. But then, I have no ink that I can use. Not to mention, the possibility of doing it wrong is still high despite having experienced how the fingerprinting was done (the finger must be rolled to get the whole impression). I was back to square one.
I decided to find out the closest police station in the city. A phone number also showed up on Google search. That’s it! I should call them to find out first.
A lady picked up my call, and when I mentioned I need to do some fingerprinting for police check in the US, she mentioned the FBI check right away. I felt confident that they must have done a zillion times, so everything would be alright.
So, if you decide to do fingerprinting at the Sydney City Central Police Station, this is what you need to do:
- Only go during the weekend from 10 am to 5 pm (walk-in)
- Bring and complete all the documents needed: FBI background check application form, credit card payment form/money order, and your passport for identification purpose at the police station. Print the FBI fingerprint Card as well although you won’t use it. On the top of the card, there are some information that may be needed by the FBI (i.e. social security number).
- Bring debit/credit card to pay for the fingerprinting. Do not bring cash as they don’t accept it. As of the publication of this post, it costs AUD 42.
- Get a prepaid envelope for international mail. The fingerprint sets and the rest of the documents will be mailed directly by the police.
- Call the police station before going to verify the above information.
The fingerprinting is apparently done digitally. Yes, I know that we live in a digital world now, but I still expected ink-rolled fingerprints (That’s why we don’t use the FBI fingerprint card). A police officer assisted me in the process, and he kept asking to relax my fingers. I instructed my brain to do so, but the order in my body was messed up. My fingers were so stiff. I just hope that the result will be accepted and processed by FBI (Fingers crossed!).
Do not forget to find out when the you first came to Australia (look for the stamp in your passport) as they will ask this information in the end.
That’s all. Easy stuff but can be troublesome if we are not prepared for it.