The U.S. FBI website has all the information they thought we needed to get our FBI Criminal Background Check for our E2 visa renewals. However, having gone through the process, with WAY too many bumps and frustrations along the way, I have chosen to make a guide to help others out. If my miserable experience will help even one person to avoid going through the same, I think it was worth it. SO, feel free to share this with your friends, co-workers, acquaintances, etc. (Anyone you think might benefit from it.) Things I have learned: *If the person (giving me the info) didn’t experience it himself, DON’T LISTEN TO IT! Word of mouth is a great way to get information in Korea. However, I was given too much misinformation by too many different people whom had not actually done it themselves. They simply “heard” that’s how to do it. *NOT waiting until the last minute is best. (And by last minute, I mean less than 3 months from your renewal date) You WON’T likely be able to get this done in one day. The paperwork states that it will take 4-6 weeks to process. HELPFUL phone numbers: US Embassy 02-397-4114 (Seoul) M-F 8:30a-4:30pm Seoul Global Center (for those of you who know me personally, I call these folks my “phone friends”) 02-120 dial 9 then 1 for English. This line is amazing and will make your life easier! They can translate for you, look stuff up (bus info, subway info, costs, doctor locations, etc.) Korea Tourism Organization (can do the same as the Seoul Global Center but not as friendly–in my opinion): 02-1330 dial 2 for English FedEx (English speaking available) 080-023-8000 (see FedEx account section below for more details.) FBI office in West Virginia 304-625-5590 (Fingerprints division: 304-625-2000)
- Print & fill out the application form. You cannot save an edited copy so scan and save it if you want a copy for your own records.
- Go to the embassy/consular and get enough Fingerprint card. There is an office is BUSAN and in SEOUL. The “fingerprint card” link is on the website. *NOTE: as of July 2011, you need an APPOINTMENT to even pick up the fingerprint cards. An easier way though, is to print out the fingerprint card [on regular A4 paper is fine– I verified with the FBI today]. Ironically, they recommend 5 copies: so go with that. She did say that they recommend they “milk” your fingers— sliding the blood from the bottom of the hand to the tips– in order to ensure better prints.
- Go to a major police station in your area. Since you likely won’t know where that is. I recommend calling one of the two helplines I mention in this blog. 02-1330 or 02-120. Tell them where you are located and that you need to find a DISTRICT POLICE OFFICE or the local CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION OFFICE. This service is free. I would get 2 sets just to be safe. There are pretty strict requirements about the quality, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Fill out the Credit card payment form for payment. You CAN send an $18 (US) cashier’s check but I haven’t been able to find any place (even banks) that do CASHIER’S CHECKS. To be on the safe side, use the credit card form.
- OPTION 1: Snail mail Now take the fingerprint card(s), the application form, the credit card payment form, and an envelope with your current address (in Korea). It can be in English/Romanized or written in Korean. Go to the DISTRICT POST OFFICE. Again, if you don’t know where this is in your area, call the numbers mentioned above. You’ll need to go on a WEEKDAY as they don’t do the international return stamp on the weekends. Tell them you want: 반신권 (Pan Shin Gwan) —Return service– They will give you a large international stamp. It costs 1,100 won. Mine looked like this:
Place it into your return addressed envelope. You can mail it regular mail, which will cost about 1,030 won; or you can EMS it, which will costs about 16,500 won. Regular mail will take 7-15 days and EMS will take 3-5 days.
“Due to changes in processing, effective October 12, 2013, the FBI will no longer accept return self-addressed stamped envelopes with Departmental Order requests. This includes pre-paid Priority Mail, FedEx account numbers, United Parcel Service, etc., foreign postage coupons, and requests to forward correspondence to the Department of State for the apostille process. Envelopes received postmarked after this date will be destroyed. The FBI will return all results, both foreign and domestic, by U.S. First-Class Mail via the United States Postal Service. Thank you for your patience as we try to streamline our processes to improve our service to you.”
- Option 2: IF you have a FedEx account, you can have the results sent back via FedEx by entering your FedEx account number on the application form.
- Option 3: IF you do NOT have a FedEx account but want to use FedEx. *You can set up an account by phone/email. You must have a fax or scanner, but it is fairly easy. Here’s what ya do: Call FedEx 080-023-8000 (English service available- they will answer in Korean, just start speaking English.) Tell them you want to get an account number. They will send you an email with two forms: FedEx cc and the FedEx application. Fill them out and send a copy/scan of your credit card (front and back), your ARC (Korean id– Alien Registration Card), and a scanned/filled out copy of those two documents to the email address. They will give you an account within 2-3 business hours!! PUSH THE EASY BUTTON!! — I am so happy to know this now, but why couldn’t I have discovered this before?? Oh, that’s right.. I got misinformation from people who said they knew. 😦
- [You may also go to a HUB FedEx location and create an account. I was TOLD this is easy — since I didn’t do it myself (see my blunder blog if you want to know the story), I cannot speak with authority on how easy that way is.] I do know that FedEx tends to be much quicker but also a lot more expensive. It depends on what options suit your needs best.
FBI CJIS Division – Record Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306
- Results The paperwork says that the processing time is 4-6 weeks. If you use snail mail, you can expect 2 weeks there and 2 weeks back, for a total of 8-12 weeks. Yea, 2 months!
If that is not enough information, here is the FBI Checklist posted on their site. ——————————————————————————————-
~ APOSTILLE ~
*Apparently, there is yet more!! *You must get your results APOSTILLE stamped. Yep- That means: you have to send it BACK to America!! If you don’t have anyone in the DC area, I highly recommend http://www.usauthentication.com/as a courier service. They can get it completed and shipped on its way back to you (if you have a FedEx account) within 2-3 business days. The fees is around $45-60. You must fill out a request form for the apostille as well as a check or money order for the fee ($8 per) as they do not accept credit cards at this point in the process. The address for this is: U.S. Department of State Authentications Office 518 23rd Street NW. SA-1 Washington, DC 20520 The apostille should look something like this scroll halfway down the page, on the right. ——–Ok~ you did it! Take this hard-earned piece of paper with all your other documents to the immigration office and get yourself renewed!! ——– oooof!!