How to Request a Background Check

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A background check is used by institutions or companies to verify whether a person has committed an offense in the past. If a person has ever been arrested or committed an offense, this information usually is disclosed during a background check. Most companies conduct background checks as part of their employment process. Similarly, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, conducts background checks on all applicants before they receive any immigration benefits. The FBI facilitates the background check process by compiling fingerprint records from various federal and local agencies that have arrested individuals in the U.S.

Write an official letter to the FBI requesting a background check from them. Your letter must be signed and dated. If you are requesting this information urgently, be sure to mention that in your letter, as well as how soon you would like to receive this information. If you are requesting this information urgently, you also must write the deadline by which you would like to receive this information on the envelope.

Download and print Form FD-258, Fingerprint Form. To download and print this form, see the resources section. All FBI background checks must be completed on this form. You must include your birth date and name on the form.

Check the FBI's Web site to find out the amount you need to send for the processing fee. Get a money order or write a certified check for the processing fee. The money order or certified check must be made payable to the Treasury of the United States.

In your request, you must include your complete mailing address. You should provide your telephone number and/or e-mail address, if you have one.

Mail your request, fingerprint form and fee to the following address:

FBI CJIS Division -- Record Request 1000 Custer Hollow Road Clarksburg, WV 26306


  • When attaching your payment for the processing fee, be sure to only send a money order or certified check. Personal or business checks will not be accepted.
  • Only the subject of the identification record can request a copy of his own FBI Identification Record.


  • It is advisable that you mail your request for a background check to the FBI as soon as possible, given that it could take eight to 10 weeks upon receipt of your request for the FBI to process it.



About the Author

Eric Som has been writing professionally since 2002, contributing to various websites. He is certified through the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Som holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Laws from Handong Global University. He also has a Juris Doctor degree from an Ohio law school.