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Written by Jessie McNaughton
on February 23, 2016

When adopting internationally, you will sometimes have to go through an FBI clearance process.  The FBI calls this an Identity History Summary Check, but it is also known as a criminal clearance or getting your “rap sheet.”  For instance, if you adopt from Ukraine you will have to add an FBI criminal clearance to your dossier.  This can feel intimidating at first, but it is a relatively straightforward process if you know the sequence of events. 



1.  Fill out an application.

To begin, you must fill out an application for the FBI.  This form can be found here, or if you are our client we will provide you a copy.  Each adult (over 18) in your household will have to fill out an application and be fingerprinted.


2.  Get fingerprinted.

Next, you must be fingerprinted.  In New York, you can find a fingerprinting location at http://www.identogo.com/FP/NewYork.aspx. You can also call your local, county, or state law enforcement agencies to ask if they will take your prints for you.  Agencies will charge a fee for fingerprinting services, which will vary by agency.  You can either get inked prints on paper or an electronic reading- either one is acceptable.  If you get electronic scan fingerprints, make sure you ask for a paper copy.  You can find the official fingerprint form here.


3.  Mail application, fingerprints and payment to the FBI.

Next, you will send in your applications.  Attach your fingerprints to your completed application.  Send the applications, fingerprints and a check or credit card payment form for $18.00 per person to:


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


4.  Get your results. 

The FBI will mail your results back to you via first-class mail.  The results will include any criminal history, or lack thereof, that you have.  Processing could take up to 15 weeks.  If you want to get your results faster, you can go through an FBI approved channeler.  Channelers are agencies that the FBI has a working relationship with who you can hire to expedite your clearance.  They do charge an extra fee, and this is the only way you can get your results faster.  You can learn more about them here.



When your results are returned to you, you will have to get them apostilled by the Department of State.


5.  Fill out another form. 

 To begin, completely fill out the Request for Authentication Service Form from the Department of State. Be sure to specify the document’s country of use in Section 4.


6.  Mail in form, FBI results, SASE & payment to the Department of State.

Then, mail in your FBI Identity History Summary Check along with the Request for Authentication Form, a check made out to the U.S. Department of State for $8.00 per document and a self-addressed stamped envelope for use in returning your apostilled documents to you. Mail the complete package to:


Office of Authentications

U.S. Department of State


44132 Mercure Cir, P.O. Box 1206

Sterling, VA  20166-1206 


7.  Wait. Again. Then deliver apostilled documents to your agency.

They will mail your apostilled documents back to you.  When they arrive, give them to your adoption agency to add to your dossier.  The Department of State has more detailed information on apostilles here.


Although there are a few steps and even more waiting, the FBI clearance process is fairly straightforward as long as you follow the correct sequence of events. 



In closing, here is a checklist for getting your FBI criminal history check results and getting the results apostilled:


  1. Get all adult household members fingerprinted. (Form here.)
  2. Fill out an Identity History Summary Checks Review application for each adult household family member. (Form here.)
  3. Send in your fingerprints, application and $18.00 (check or credit card payment form) per person to:

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

  1. Wait for your results to be returned to you.


When the FBI results are returned:

  1. Fill out the Request for Authentication Service Form.
  2. Send the following to the Department of State:

            Request for Authentication Service Form

            FBI Identity History Summary Check Review(s)

            $8.00 per document (check only)

            Self-addressed stamped envelope

                         To this address:

Office of Authentications

U.S. Department of State


44132 Mercure Cir, P.O. Box 1206

Sterling, VA  20166-1206

  1. Wait for the apostilled documents to be returned to you.
  2. When documents are returned, forward them to your primary provider to be added to your dossier.


If you have any questions about the process or filling out the forms, don’t hesitate to ask your adoption agency for guidance.  It is better to ask for help than fill something out incorrectly and have to wait even longer for your documents to come back!


Click Here to Download Your Free  Guide to International Adoption!

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