How to get FBI Clearance Certificate – Visa Immigration

FBI clearance certificate for Australia / Canada visa, immigration. Processing time 3-5 days. Fees $18. Fingerprint FD-258 form at home on A4 white paper.

Written by Anil Gupta
  By Anil Gupta          Updated  15 Oct, 19


FBI clearance certificate can be applied using 3 different options. FBI Police clearance certificate is same as FBI clearance Certificate. We list them according to cost and time required.
FBI calls it Identity History Summary Checks.

All 10 fingerprints are required for running a background check and receiving FBI Clearance Certificate.

You can apply FBI clearance for Canada permanent residency, USA Green Card or Australia PR using 3 options:

  1. Apply online on FBI Website, pay fees online, mail fingerprints – Cheapest, very good options. Get Certificate in 3-5 days.
  2. Mail FBI application and fees by post – Slowest method takes up-to 14 to 16 weeks.
  3. FBI approved third party agent – 3-4 days Fast processing but most expensive.

#1 Apply Online on FBI Website

The FBI Police clearance certificate processing time with online application is 3 to 5 Days.

#A Create FBI Clearance request online FBI Police clearance certificate online request.
Open the link in Mozilla or Internet ExplorerChrome and Safari do not work.

I am not sure why but, the FBI website link throws invalid_request error in Chrome browser and website does NOT open.

#B Enter email to start application
Follow the steps under the section Obtaining Your Identity History Summary->How to submit a request. To start your application, enter your email and click submit button:


#C Email from FBI
Once you submit, you will receive an email from FBI with your log in password and unique FBI page link. Click this unique link and fill the FBI application form.

Enter your PIN (from email) and click Log in. ‘Accept’ the terms and conditions.


#D Fill Online Application

You have option to receive a response by First-Class Mail via the USPS too.FBI Police clearance fees is $18.
Pay FBI fees online by credit card. No extra fees for postal mail response.

At this time, the STATUS on FBI website will show as ‘INSUFFICIENT’ for your case as FBI is waiting for your fingerprints.


Print FD-258 form on a plain A4 size white paper.

You can also buy FD 258 card from Amazon prime (pack of 3) or pack of 25 FD 258 cards. The fingerprint card needs to be printed on a hard white paper. I recommend buying it from Amazon than printing it at home.

This form needs to be filled with BLACK ink including fingerprints.You can pretty much take the fingerprints yourself if you are outside USA like in India or any other country.

I strongly recommend to get the fingerprints from your local Police station if you are currently in USA.

Fedex and other local postal mail vendors in USA also provide fingerprinting services for a price starting from $25+ per person. I tried for me and my wife as it seemed pretty easy using this official FBI fingerprint guide. But the ink was just messing up the fine finger lines and merging them. If the fingerprints are not good, FBI will simply reject your application.

Local police station in USA charges anywhere between $5 to $10 for each person’s fingerprints and they are EXPERTS. They provide the form FD-258 too. So, you do not need to print it yourself.
Most of them will do it for free again, if the first prints are rejected by FBI.

This is a sample FD-258 form that was fingerprinted using Plano, TX Police station’s fingerprinting service:


#F Print and Mail
Print the order confirmation email that you would have received from FBI.Send the email confirmation and form FD-258 (with your fingerprints) to FBI CJIS division by postal mail. You can mail them to FBI from outside USA too.

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


#G FBI clearance certificate Tracking
Once the mail is delivered to FBI, they usually take about 48 hours to update the tracking status on their website and inform you by email.


#H FBI clearance certificate Issue
FBI will then scan your fingerprints to complete your criminal record background check.

You can download the FBI clearance PDF file once available.
The whole process of FBI background check is automated and you can expect to receive the clearance certificate within minutes of their acknowledgment email (for your fingerprints).

If you opted for postal mail FBI clearance certificate too, then it will arrive by USPS mail between 6-7 days. The paper hard copy and one available for download are exactly same.

#2 FBI Clearance by Postal mail

FBI police clearance request by postal mail processing time is 14 to 16 weeks.

  1. Download the FBI police verification application form from here. Print and fill up the form.
  2. Get a Cashier’s check or Money Order for $18 per person as fees, payable to “Treasury of the United States”.
    You can pay by credit card too. Print this payment form and fill your credit card info to send with your application.
  3. Get your fingerprints. Follow the same process as listed above for FINGERPRINTS.
  4. Send application, payment and fingerprints to FBI office via traceable postal mail. Address is mentioned above.
  5. Note: This is the SLOWEST method of getting police verification from FBI.
  6. The ONLY difference between this method and the first option above is that you make the payment online in first method. The first one is lot faster than this one.

#3 FBI Approved Third Party Agents

FBI Police clearance processing time with third party provider is 3-4 days. This is the fastest and most expensive option.

  1. Choose one third party vendors from FBI approved list.
  2. They take your fingerprints electronically and transmit them to FBI electronically too. This makes the process the fastest among the 3 options. They are available outside USA too in a country like India.
    This is probably the fastest method to get FBI clearance certificate for Canada immigration or Australia PR if you are located outside USA.
  3. The fees varies with each vendor and normally starts from $200 per person. They collect the total fees from you, including the FBI’s $18 fees per person.
  4. FBI officially says that this third party service is ONLY available for USA citizens and Green card holders.
    But, I know from reliable sources who are neither US citizens nor green holder and have used it to get FBI clearance within 3-4 days.

Validity of FBI certificate?

There is no expiry date mentioned on FBI certificate. Check Validity of FBI certificate for different countries.

FBI Police Verification at Home Address

There is no physical police verification done by FBI at your home address.

FBI uses your fingerprints to find your criminal records. If you have ever been arrested or fingerprinted by FBI, they will have your record.

You would have been ten printed (meaning 10 fingerprints given) while applying for USA visa in your own country, at US embassy’s OFC center.

I am not sure if FBI has access to the fingerprints that you gave at US embassy for Visa or if they verify that database. They have not disclosed it on their website.

Multiple applications in same postal mail?

You can send multiple cashier check, multiple fingerprint cards and multiple confirmation email copies in single postal mail. This is useful if you are applying FBI certificates for family.

Re-Use Fingerprint Card

The FBI requires a current fingerprint card to process your Identity History Summary. You cannot use any old or already used FD-258 cards.

FBI does not return your fingerprint cards.

SSN Last 4 Digits on FBI report

You can choose to have your SSN last 4 digits printed on FBI report.

You should write full nine-digits or last four digits of your Social Security number on the fingerprint card to have last 4 printed on FBI clearance.

Address Change

You should sign the Address Change Request Form and fax it to (304) 625-9792, or scan the form and e-mail it to to change your address.

If you submitted your request electronically (Option 1 above), you may change your address either by using the secure link and personal identification number received during the request process or by e-mail.

Return Envelope

You are not required to send any ‘return shipping’ envelope. FBI takes care of return shipping and mailing.

Australia Canada

   87 Useful Questions & Answers from comments

  1. Arpan
    Arpan 29 Jun, 19 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Anil

    Do we need to provide employer details too? Since this FBI clearance is for immigration and not Employment am not sure. Also would FBI inquire anything with the employer if we give details?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 29 Jun, 19 at 1:47 pm

      There is no employer information required. FBI uses only your fingerprints to give clearance report. They do not call anyone.

    NIKHIL KULKARNI 30 May, 19 at 5:30 pm

    Hi Anil,

    I got fingerprinted from a nearby police headquarters but in the ORI section, they did not put anything. Is that a problem? I searched the forums but the best advice there was only-“fill the form to the best of your knowledge”. Can I fill in the police station and it’s address in that section?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 30 May, 19 at 9:57 pm

      You van fill it with Police station name and its address.

  3. swagath patil
    swagath patil 7 May, 19 at 4:40 am

    Hi Anil,
    Thanks for a very good post. I have a question. My wife is on H1B and I am on H4 staying in Denver CO. The leasing agreement is in her name(My name is not added). I do have address in bank statement and in my DL. Shall I have to add my name in leasing agreement for FBI clearance certificate or is it just OK as I have address in my DL and bank statement? Please suggest.

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 7 May, 19 at 5:46 am

      I don’t think any address proof is required for FBI application.

  4. Ganesamoorthy Pandian
    Ganesamoorthy Pandian 6 May, 19 at 9:57 am

    Hi Anil,
    Thanks for all your good works in guiding us with your expertise.
    Could you please help me getting clarifications reg the police clearance.
    I have about 15 yrs experience; staying the last 5 years in USA. If I apply for family PR on July 2019, What is the advance time, I can apply for FBI clearance? Shall we take this clearance now itself since family has a plan to go back to India. What is the validity for the clearance?
    Thanks in advance for your clarification in this regard.

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 6 May, 19 at 9:58 am

      All your questions have been already answered in above article. Please read.

  5. Reddy Harish
    Reddy Harish 18 Apr, 19 at 12:02 am

    Hi anil, I’m about to do FBI for australian pr. I want to do it by myself getting fingerprint Do I still need to get it signed by authorised person. As, I am not taking any help.
    Thanks in advance

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 18 Apr, 19 at 7:35 am

      No need for getting anybody’s sign if you are doing it yourself.

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