Criminal, child abuse, FBI…what’s it all about?
The adoption process can seem especially invasive at times, but try to keep in mind that it is the agency and government’s responsibility to ensure the absolute best, safest environment for every child. Background checks are just one step. There are several types of clearances (verification of criminal background, child abuse background) that may be required for your international adoption. If you are not asked to provide these clearances, you may not need to. Your adoption counselor will advise you.
Criminal Background Checks – State Level
Every state has its own process for obtaining criminal background checks. Criminal background checks will contain information on arrests, charges, crimes committed. Provided below are links to every state with the information you need to proceed. Many adoptions require a criminal background check for each state you have lived in since your adulthood. This report has an expiration date, depending on which adoption program you are working on so sometimes you may need to request this clearance more than once during the adoption process. Your adoption counselor will advise you exactly what you need and when. Although there are many on line services that provide background checks, the document for your adoption must be an official report from the agency that handles it in your state.
Child Abuse Checks
Child abuse checks are done through the appropriate agency in each state. This is a different report than the criminal background check discussed above. This report will contain information relating to child related investigations, charges and crimes only and is required for international adoptions. Many times this document may expire while your dossier is being processed in which case you will need to order a new one. Your adoption counselor will advise you on this. The following link has information on how to obtain a child abuse check for each state:
State Listing of Child Abuse Clearance Procedures
An FBI Identification Record—often referred to as a criminal history record or a “rap sheet”—is a listing of certain information taken from fingerprint submissions retained by the FBI in connection with arrests and, in some instances, federal employment, naturalization, or military service. The process of responding to an Identification Record request is generally known as a criminal background check. The FBI clearance requires a specific procedure, especially if you need this document notarized and apostilled. In the adoption process, the USCIS (immigration) requires fingerprints for an FBI check. This is NOT the same as the FBI clearance required for your adoption dossier! Not every program requires FBI clearance for the dossier so please confirm with your adoption counselor.
ORDERING YOUR FBI CLEARANCE:
If you are required to have an FBI check: FBI Criminal Background Check
NOTARIZATION & APOSTILLE OF FBI CLEARANCE:
Notarization and Apostille for FBI checks must be requested AT THE TIME YOU ORDER the report! This document cannot be notarized by anyone other than the Notary Public at the FBI. You need to submit a letter along with the application (see usable samples below) requesting the document to be notarized. If you skip this step, your report wlil arrive without being notarized and you will not be able to obtain an apostille for it.
Sample letter to enclose with your application for FBI check:
Once you receive your notarized FBI clearance report, it must be sent to the US Department of State in Washington DC for Apostille. The Secretary of State in your home state office CANNOT provide this service for this particular document. It can take two or more weeks for the document to be apostilled.
EXPEDITED SERVICE: If you need your FBI document apostilled quickly, KTA has expedited service available for an additional fee. Contact us for more information on expedited apostille service for your FBI document.
(Note: the US Department of State apostille office is ONLY for federal documents (FBI, for example), not the bulk of your dossier documents. )