Criminal Background Check FAQs

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fbibackgroundcheck1What’s the deal with this CRC/criminal background check? If you are an American citizen applying to EPIK, part of your application must include an apostilled FBI background check (also known as a Criminal Record Check, CRC, for non-Americans). Basically they want to make sure they’re not letting a crazy outlaw loose on the future of their country.

Worried about a traffic ticket ruining your application? Don’t stress. The only offenses that will get you denied are those related to drugs, drinking, stealing, assault, etc. All you really have to be concerned with is that the background check/CRC is issued within 6 months of your E2 Visa application date.

How do I make sure my CRC is within the 6-month range? It normally takes anywhere from 6-8 weeks for the CRC to be processed and returned to you, so it’s important to order in advance/at the right time. *As of September 2014, the FBI is saying processing time is closer 12 weeks, due to an IT upate. But who knows how long that will last.* If you are applying for the fall intake, you should order your background check in mid-January so it has an issue date of February 15th or later (of the same year). Similarly, spring intake applicants’ background checks should have an issue date of August 15th or later, so orders should be made in early mid-July. *These dates are based on the 6-8 week processing timeframe.*

Is a state-level CRC okay? Nope. It’s gotta be from the national level.

Can I put a rush on it? Yes, it’s possible. If you’re a little late to the application party, you can talk to your recruiter to see if they work with/know of a private service that can do that. Generally, CRCs conducted by third parties or private services are not accepted. Korean immigration wants the document to come right from Uncle Sam’s desk. But there are recruiters out there who say they can speed things up for you.

What do I need to have to order my FBI background check? To order your background check, fill out the form in step one of this page, obtain at least two copies of finger print sets, complete a money order for $18.00 made out to the Treasury of the United States, the Checklist found in step four of the same page, and an envelope addressed to:

FBI CJIS Division – Summary Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306

What’s a money order? Basically it’s the same as a personal check, but your bank issues it for you. By having the bank write the check instead of you personally, it’s essentially proof that you do in fact have the money you claim to have. To get a money order, go to your nearest bank branch and ask for one in the amount needed. They’ll type in the recipient for you too.

How do I get my finger print sets? I first checked with my local law enforcement office, and they directed me to the County Sheriff’s Office, where I had a finger print technician take my prints. You can have as many sets made as you like, and they only cost $5 or so (you can’t have just one done and then make copies of it). I got three sets.

How do I order my FBI background check? Follow the steps outlined on this page.

What’s an apostille and how do I get one? An apostille is a fancy way of proving that a document is legit so that the Korean government will accept it. I used US Authentication Services, but US Legalization is $10 cheaper per document. I sent them my CRC and a copy of my college diploma at the same time, killing two birds with one stone. Both of these services will notarize the college diploma copy for you as well, in addition to apostilling both documents. The CRC is already notarized when it first arrives in your mailbox, so it only needs to be apostilled. The whole process of sending the documents, having them processed, and receiving them took about a week and a half.


The above is based on my experience applying for the EPIK program and is supplemented by information found on the Reach to Teach Recruiting website.

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