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 digital fingerprinting (live scan)at the Sydney City Central Police Station, this is what you need to do:
- Only go during the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) from 10 am to 4 pm (walk-in)
- Bring and complete all the documents needed: FBI background check application form, credit card payment form/money order, your Australian visa, 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. As of July 14, 2016, it costs AUD 44. Day St police station may accept cash but only if you bring the exact amount.
- Get a prepaid envelope for international mail (I used Registered Post International B4 with size 353 mm x 250 mm for letters up to 500 g, but it is not trackable). Some suggest using International Registered Express or other trackable services such as FedEx, but get the prepaid mail it first before going to the station. You won’t be given the fingerprint scan results. The fingerprint sets and the rest of the documents will be mailed directly by the Australian police to the FBI. For the background check results from the FBI, you do not need to prepare for any prepaid envelopes. The FBI will cover costs incurred from shipping the result for both domestic and foreign destinations.
- Call the police station before going to verify the above information.
Day st Police station address: 192 Day St, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone number: (02) 9265 6499
F.A.Qs (compiled from the comments)
Is there any other police station that provides the fingerprinting service?.
Yes. Some had their fingerprints taken in Hurtsville, Balmain station on Darling St (ink-rolled on FD-258 and it is free of charge), and Queanbeyan (ink-rolled on FD-258). Please call the local police station to check if they provide the service.
Can people who hold tourist visas get their fingerprints taken in Australia?
When I called the police station and asked about this, they said ‘no.’ However, Thomas who held tourist visa at that time and was waiting for his partner visa to be processed actually got his fingerprints taken and processed. So, I would say check with the police station yourself.
Can the police station send the scans to an approved FBI channeler?
Marlene Jones and Anderskr had their fingerprints sent to their FBI channelers from Day St. station and Balmain station.
How long will the whole process take?
It varies. Anderskr claimed that he got his result in 10 days using ink-rolled form in Balmain station sent to a FBI Channeler, but many said it took them about 13-15 weeks. So, be prepared and get it done ASAP.
(Updated on October 14, 2016)