Sunday, October 10, 2010

National Criminal Background Check- for teachers already living in Korea

    A statewide criminal background check is no longer acceptable for Americans living in Korea with an E2 Visa. An FBI check is required and it can take up to 12 weeks to process so I recommend applying right away if you are a current resident in Korea. The apostille also takes up to 15 days. So plan for this to take 14 weeks total! Apparently these changes were made in September, but many teachers like me weren't notified by their bosses until October (Hopefully we won't get deported in January.)

As of Jan. 1, 2011:
All Americans must get an FBI level background check. Fingerprints can be done in Korea and the application can be mailed home and paid via credit card or check. ATTENTION: FBI checks must be notarized and apostilled before returning them to the Korean government. Keep reading for more details.

1. First download the required documents for the FBI check from the FBI Website.
  1. A Check list so that you don't forget anything.
  2. A fingerprint card (FD-258)
  3. The Fingerprint card instructions
  4. Credit Card payment form
  5. Application Form
2. Next go to the biggest police station in your city. This will ensure that your fingerprints are legitimate enough to be sent to the FBI. I went to a smaller station and they had no idea what they were doing. The fingerprints were terrible and I literally did them myself while the Korean police man just stood there. Finally I had my boss make an appointment with the CSI division of the police. This guy used better ink and knew what he was doing.

3. Next you will need to send the documents to the US. Write a note to the FBI asking them to use their official seal for the document. This will make things easier so that your family will not have to get the document notarized before sending is to the US State Department to receive an apostille

Send fingerprint forms here:
FBI CJIS Division – Record Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306

4. When the government finally returns the documents to you or your family they should send them to the following address for the apostille:

U.S. Department of State
Authentications Office
518 23rd Street NW.
Washington, DC 20520

The U.S. Department of State recommends that the documents be sent with the following cover letter: Office of Authenications cover letter.

5. Have your family send the final documents back to Korea. Then you need to have your company deliver the documents to the nearest immigration office.

    Personally I think the new requirement should have been enforced a long time ago. I was told by my company that I would need a local police check in April of 2010, and then a state wide background check in June of 2010, and now an FBI background check in October 2010. Korean immigration is driving us crazy!
    I also don't like that the only way to pay is by filling out a credit card form which will go through the mail. Your social security number is also required on the FBI check application. Because fingerprints are required, it is impossible for your family members to fill out the applications for you and mail them into the government. Thus, your private information will be traveling across seas through mail. (This is super sketchy in my opinion!)

29 개의 댓글:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the insights. Very helpful.

Unknown said...

Hi Marie! Im a South African teaching in Daejeon. Hope u dnt mind if i "borrow" the above information to let my American friends know about what they need to do if they are renewing their contracts :)

Thanks a bunch! and great site by the way!


Marie W said...

Hi City Girl!

Just simply give this article's url to your friends! This way they can search the website for more info and ask me any other questions about teaching here!


Henceforth said...

Hi Marie,
Good information and is written more clearly than other blogs, good job. I however have a quick question.

What is the "fingerprint card instructions" you have typed in your checklist? I downloaded all the documents linked on the FBI site. Sorry I am just trying to double check everything and I am a little confused on this.


Marie W said...

Hello Henceforth!

The fingerprint card instructions is just another page attached behind the fingerprint card. It is just so that you fill everything out correctly! If you go to the website you can see the instructions sheet.

Good luck, and make sure you get the fingerprints done by a professional so that they look as best as they can!


Anonymous said...

I have a question Marie,

Can my friend in Washington go with my FBI fingerprint card to the Department of State and get my apostille for me?


Marie W said...

Yes, I am pretty sure your friend can get the apostille for you. As in pick it up for you or drop it off, because your fingerprints cannot be faked. However, I am not sure if they do them in person! You should definitely call before hand to check on this.

Anonymous said...

3 questions:

1.) I have an FBI criminal background check that I have, but never got to use last year because I did a state clearance while waiting for the FBI one to come back. So my E-2 visa will expire in August 2011, can I use this FBI clearance I have to renew my current E-2 visa, when the FBI check is dated July 23, 2010? or does it have to be more no older than 6 months?

2.) I came to Korea on May 2009 for the first time. I then went back home to the U.S. in May 2010 and got hired for a job teaching at a University. I then did the entire e-2 visa process again like I had to the first time. Here is the question: when I renew my E-2 visa in August 2011, do I need the FBI criminal background check again, when I will not even go back home to the U.S.?

3.) If I am required, as well as, other foreigners to submit another FBI clearance even though I've been living in Korea for a year,(and have obviously submitted a cleared FBI check in order to get my current E-2 visa), then can you tell me what the people in the Korean government is smoking, because I want some? How can they require us current E-2 visa holder and Foreigners already living in Korea, to get another FBI criminal background check, when it's obvious it will come back "no record" since we've been gone from our home country for a year or more.

Marie W said...

Hey anonymous.

Great questions.

1. Your July 23rd 2010 should suffice for the E-2 renewal. They are not very strict on renewals as it is, just make sure your document has the apostille and notarization and you will be fine.

2. Yes you still need the new FBI background check to renew.

3. I agree! There is no clear description of the new requirements! They keep changing them every month from what my company tells me, and my office isn't even quite sure what the most up to date ruling is. You can be sure that with the FBI check and apostille you are fine, its best not to take any chances. And yes, its completely silly that they are making people that have lived in Korea for over a year get the check. However, if you only had a state-wide before, you could technically be a criminal so now they want to find out.


Anonymous said...


I've heard mixed information on this topic and I was wondering if you can verify some things? Some said that the Federal FBI check can be send to the regional FBI office of the state you are in, which may be faster. Is this true?

Also, others mentioned that the Apostille itself does not need to be a federal Apostille, so can be done at the Office of the Secretary of State of our perspective state?


Marie W said...

Great questions anonymous,

If your state has a regional FBI Office this may be done. But make sure you are getting the National Criminal Background Check, and not the State Wide Criminal Background Check. The State Wide FBI Check only checks violations of your individual state's laws, not every state in the entire country.

For the apostille you have to check with the Office of the Secretary of State. Each state is different. California does not do apostilles on federal documents as far as I'm concerned. So I had to send mine back to Washington. Check with your state secretary to see of they will apostille a Federal FBI Check by simply calling their main office.

Either way going through your state will be much faster than sending it to Washington. But be extremely careful that the right documents are going through!


Unknown said...

Question: Does the FBI Background check that has been signed and certified by the CJIS need to be notarized before sending it to the department of state for the apostille? Or, can I send it directly to the Department of State to get the appostille without having it notarized?

Marie W said...

Hi Aaron

Yes. It needs to be notarized first. Good luck! The notarization is very fast, so don't stress about it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Marie -

Do you know if there is an expiration date on fingerprints? I got some when coming to Korea and still have the fingerprint cards with me as a "just in case". They are dated July 2010 - about ten months ago. Have you heard of anything like this being a problem? Can I just mail them in or do I have to do a redo?

Marie W said...


This is a tough one, I haven't heard any problems about using old fingerprint cards, because they are your fingerprints and they cannot be faked! They should be ok, so go ahead and send them in!

Would you do me a favor and let me know if how it goes!??


AnnCherise said...

I've been in Korea on a tourist visa, and decided I would like to stay and get a job.
Do you know the fastest way to send the documents from Korea?
Do I need to send envelopes enclosed so they can send it from the FBI office to the Department of State?
Do I have to have them send it to my family rather than myself if I am in Korea?
Thanks for any help you can give me!

Marie W said...

The fastest way to send the documents is by Express mail in any Korean post office. It costs more, but it will get to your destination within 2-4 days. Usually you have to send the materials you receive from the FBI office to the Department of State on your own. So having your family do it is the best thing since it is too difficult to keep mailing things internationally! Just be patient with the whole process and don't get stressed, that's my best advice! It takes quite a while and patience is key!

Anonymous said...

I am about to send my documents to the FBI to get my check done, but they say I should include a prepaid envelope/ pre-addressed envelope. Can I get one in Korea that works in the US, or do I have to mail the FBI stuff first to my family, to add the envelope, then to the FBI, then back to my family to add the cover letter, then to the apostille agency, then back to Korea?

Anonymous said...

My friend said the criminal background check must be within several months of renewing the VISA. My visa expires not February, but I wanted to get the criminal background check done and submit it midway into my current VISA. Will that create a problem?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the simple breakdown and good information. Big help!

Anonymous said...

I have the CBC and the cover letter ready to go. I am in Korea. Do I need to notarize the CBC? If I notarize it, the notarization would not be legal in America. A Korean notarization would not be recognized without an Apostille. So do we neet to norarize and Apostille in Korea before sending the documents to the FBI

gone seoul searching said...

hello anonymous. You have to send the documents to back to America to get the Apostille. If you follow my recommendations about writing a letter than you won't need to get it notarized as well before sending it for the apostille.

Anonymous said...

Can one send non-US cashier's check to pay the fees ?

Handle said...

Great website. Thank you for all your great info. I have a question about the FBI check. I got a bunch of parking tickets while living in Colorado about 6 years ago. I received so many that i was scheduled a court date. Unfortunately, I forgot about my court date and ended up being arrested because of this ridiculously minor offense. When I ran a state level background check to teach in Vietnam, this came up on my record. I am worried that this will also show up on my FBI background check. So my question is, if i do have such a minor offense on my FBI record, will I be turned down for a visa because I went to jail over unpaid parking tickets? any information would be very helpful.

Marie W said...

Hello! Its very unfortunate that you went to jail over unpaid parking tickets. But I would think there is a 50/50 possibility they would turn you down in Korea for a visa. I worked with a guy who had gotten a DUI over 25 years ago and they still made him leave the country even though he had worked there for over 6 years. You better talk to your company about this before you go through all of the hassle.

Handle said...

Is it possible to work while I am waiting for my FBI background check to arrive in Korea from the United States?

Anonymous said...

I'm in Korea and already have my visa and arc, but my employer told me that I need a teaching license now, after working here 1.5 years. I actually applied for it when I first got here at the board of education in Yongin, but I called them and they said they must have lost my file or something. :P So I have to get a new fbi check for the teacher license since mine is already more than 6 months old, right? Also, does the fingerprints card have to be printed on card paper or is regular paper ok? One more thing, how neccessary is a teaching license anyway?

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