FAQ: How do I get a copy of my Criminal Record?
Another edition of Frequently Asked Questions at O/R: How do I go about obtaining a copy of my criminal record from the FBI?
Introduction An FBI Identification Record, often referred to as a Criminal History Record or 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. If the fingerprints are related to an arrest, the Identification Record includes name of the agency that submitted the fingerprints to the FBI, the date of arrest, the arrest charge, and the disposition of the arrest, if known to the FBI. All arrest data included in an Identification Record is obtained from fingerprint submissions, disposition reports and other reports submitted by agencies having criminal justice responsibilities.
The United States Department of Justice Order 556-73 establishes rules and regulations for the subject of an FBI Identification Record to obtain a copy of his or her own Record for review. The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division processes these requests.
Reasons for Request
An individual may request a copy of his or her own FBI Identification Record for personal review or to challenge information on the Record. Other reasons an individual may request a copy of his or her own Identification Record may include international adoption or to satisfy a requirement to live or work in a foreign country (i.e., police certificate, letter of good conduct, criminal history background, etc.)
Can I request my own record for an employment background check?
If you are requesting a background check for employment or licensing within the United States, you may be required by state statute or federal law to submit your request through your state identification bureau, requesting federal agency or other authorized channeling agency. You should contact the agency requiring the background check or the appropriate state identification bureau (or state police) for the correct procedures to follow for obtaining an FBI fingerprint background check for employment or licensing purposes.
Who May Request a Copy of Record
(or Proof that a Record Does Not Exist)
Only the subject of the identification record can request a copy of his own FBI Identification Record.
How to Request a Copy of Record
1. Complete cover letter.
2. Obtain proof of identity, which consists of a set of your fingerprints
- If for a couple, family, etc., all persons must sign cover letter
- Include your complete mailing address
- If you have a deadline (e.g., an immigration deadline), please include the deadline in your cover letter and on the outside of the envelope.
(original card, no copies), with your name, date of birth and place of
birth. Fingerprints should be placed on a standard fingerprint form
(FD-258) commonly used for applicant or law enforcement purposes.
3. Include $ 18 - U.S. dollars in the form of a money order, certified check
- Include rolled impressions of all ten fingerprints and impressions of all ten fingerprints taken simultaneously (these are sometimes referred to as plain or flat impressions.)
- If possible have your fingerprints taken by a fingerprinting technician (this service may be available at a Law Enforcement Agency.)
- Previously processed fingerprint cards will not be accepted.
made payable to the Treasury of the United States, or you may pay by
4. Mail the items #1, #2, #3 (listed above) to the following address:
- Be sure to sign where required
- No personal checks or cash
- Must be exact amount
- If for a couple, family, etc., include $18 for each person
- If paying by credit card you must include the completed credit card payment form
- Credit cards will not be used for expedited mail services
FBI CJIS Division – Record Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306
Please Note: If any of the above items are missing or incomplete, the request will be returned. Allow approximately 3-4 weeks for processing, upon receipt to the FBI.
What You Will Receive
1. No Record Response – Consists of the original fingerprint card
stamped with the stamp “No Record.”
2. FBI Identification Record
How to Challenge Your Record
Since the FBI's CJIS Division is not the source of the data appearing on Identification Records, and obtains all data thereon from fingerprint submissions or related identification forms submitted to the FBI by
local, state and federal agencies, the responsibility for authentication
and correction of such data rests upon the contributing agencies.
Therefore, the rules set forth for changing, correcting or updating such
data requires that the subject of an Identification Record make
application to the original contributing agency (e.g., police
department, county court, etc.).
An individual may challenge the information contained in the FBI
Identification Record by contacting the original agency that submitted
the information to the FBI or the state central repository in the state in
which the arrest occurred. These agencies will be able to furnish the
guidelines for correction of the Record. The FBI is not authorized to
modify the Record without written notification from the appropriate
criminal justice agency.