How to get FBI Clearance Certificate (Online, By Mail, Outside US?)

FBI clearance certificate for immigration. Processing time 3-5 days. Fees $18. Fingerprint FD-258 form at home on A4 white paper. Use for Australia, USA Green card, Canada PR etc.

Written by AM22Tech Team
  AM22Tech Team    Updated 23 Jun, 21

FBI clearance certificate can be applied using 3 different options. FBI Police clearance certificate is the same as FBI clearance Certificate.

  1. Apply online: FBI Website, pay fees online, mail fingerprints – Cheapest, very good options. Get a 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.

FBI certificate is officially known as Identity History Summary Checks.

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

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

Apply Online on FBI Website

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

Step 1: 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 an invalid_request error in the Chrome browser and the website does NOT open.

Step 2: 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 the submit button:

FBI clearance - Enter email to start online application
FBI clearance – Enter email to start online application

Step 3: Email from FBI

Once you submit, you will receive an email from the FBI with your login password and unique FBI page link.

Click this unique link and fill the FBI application form.

FBI clearance unique link
FBI clearance unique link

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

Step 4: Fill Online Application

FBI clearance - Enter personal Information
FBI clearance – Enter personal Information
FBI clearance - Enter mailing address
FBI clearance – Enter mailing address
FBI clearance - Enter preferences
FBI clearance – Enter preferences

You have the option to receive a response by First-Class Mail via the USPS too.

  • FBI Police clearance fees are $18.
  • Pay FBI fees online by credit card.
  • No extra fees for postal mail response.

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

Step 5: Get Fingerprints

Print FD-258 form on a plain A4 size white paper and write with Blank ink.

You can buy FD258 card from Amazon:

The fingerprint card needs to be printed on a hard white paper. I recommend buying it from Amazon than printing it at home.

Take Fingerprints Yourself?

You can pretty much take the fingerprints yourself if you are outside the USA like in India or any other country.

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

Fingerprints at FedEx Mail Office?

FedEx and other local postal mail vendors in the 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, the FBI will simply reject your application.

Local Police Station in USA

The local police station in the 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:

Sample FD-258 form for FBI fingerprints
Sample FD-258 form for FBI fingerprints

Step 6: Print and Mail

Print the order confirmation email that you would have received from the FBI.

Send the email confirmation and form FD-258 (with your fingerprints) to the FBI CJIS division by postal mail. You can mail them to the FBI from outside the USA too.

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

Step 7: Tracking & Processing

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

FBI will then scan your fingerprints to complete your criminal record background check.

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

  • You can download the FBI clearance PDF file once available.
  • 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 is exactly same as the PDF.

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 the “Treasury of the United States”.
    You can pay by credit card too. Print this payment form and fill in 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 the FBI office via traceable postal mail. The address is mentioned above.

This is the SLOWEST method of getting police verification from the FBI.

The ONLY difference between this method and the first option above is that you make the payment online in the first method. The first one is a lot faster than this one.

FBI Approved Third Party Agents

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

  1. Choose one third-party vendor from the FBI-approved list.
  2. They take your fingerprints electronically and transmit them to the FBI electronically too. This makes the process the fastest among the 3 options.
  3. They are available outside the USA too in a country like India.
  4. This is probably the fastest method to get an FBI clearance certificate for Canada immigration or Australia PR if you are located outside the USA.
  5. The fees vary with each vendor and normally start from $200 per person. They collect the total fees from you, including the FBI’s $18 fees per person.

FBI officially says that this third party service is ONLY available for USA citizens and Green cardholders.

But, I know from reliable sources who are neither US citizens nor green holders and have used it to get FBI clearance within 3-4 days.

Sample FBI Clearance Certificate

Sample FBI police clearance certificate
Sample FBI police clearance certificate


What is the validity of the FBI Clearance Certificate?

There is no expiry date mentioned on the FBI certificate.

The FBI certificate is valid for 6 months for Canada Permanent residency application.

The FBI certificate is valid for 12 months for Australia Permanent residency application.

Is FBI Police Verification Done at Home Address?

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

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

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

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

Can we send Multiple FBI clearance requests in the same mail package?

You can send multiple cashier checks, multiple fingerprint cards, and multiple confirmation email copies in a single postal mail.

This is useful if you are applying for FBI certificates for family.

Can we Reuse FD 258 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.

Can we get the last 4 digits on FBI clearance Report?

You can choose to have your SSN’s last 4 digits printed on the FBI clearance report.

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

Can we change the Mailing address after submitting the FBI clearance application?

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.

Do we need to send a return post envelope?

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


Written by AM22Tech Team
  AM22Tech Team     

Recent discussion on forum

  1. Chelsea_Jeheber

    When printing this form at home on A4 white paper, do I need to print it front and back, including the Privacy Act Statement? I read somewhere forms without that printed on the back wont be accepted, wondering if this is true and needed?

  2. anil_am22

    Yes, you should print it on both sides.

    I suggest to buy the FD-258 form from Amazon than printing to avoid issues.

  3. jgnana

    Hello Anil,
    Do I need to take FBI clearance certificate to my 13 yrs old daughter who is born in india and she is on H4 visa and our priority date is going to be current soon. Please advise

  4. anil_am22

    FBI clearance is optional.

    Also, FBI clearance is not required for kids.

  5. rajeshkumarsk

    Hi there, Any one knows what is the current processing time for completing FBI validation after the fingerprints are submitted? This has been over 10 days since Fingerprints have been delivered to FBI…

  6. Summa_Tenth

    Hi There!

    I received the FBI clearance yesterday.
    But it is written there that FBI clearance does not preclude criminal record at the state level.
    So do I need to now apply for the state level police clearance certificate?

    Thanks in advance

  7. anil_am22

    Normally, state police clearance is required separately.

  8. Summa_Tenth

    Thanks a lot.
    I have been looking for the process of getting state specific clearance.
    I was in Arkansas and the website of their police dept. says only AR state specific criminal data search does not need finger prints; only needs to fill up some forms.
    However, they show sample of criminal search outcomes like how the result should look like.
    There it is mentioned on top of the sample report:
    “There is no guarantee that the result here relates to the person you are interested in without independent fingerprint verification. This report includes a check of Arkansas criminal history files only.”

    I am anyway having FBI clearance which was obtained through using my finger prints.

    I am bit confused about these two types of clearances and their statements like:
    FBI is saying they do not preclude criminal record at the state level and state police dept is saying ‘There is no guarantee…as record obtained without finger prints’!

    Hope, submitting them together will serve the purpose that I do not have any criminal record both at federal level as well as at state level.

    Just wanted to discuss the situation with an expert like you.
    Thanks in advance!

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