By: Katherine On: December 7, 2016 In: Uncategorized Comments: 17
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Background checks have long been a part of the immigration process. But since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the US — as well as countries all over the world — has paid more attention to people crossing the borders.

A background check is an important part of the immigration process that every potential US immigrant must go through. Immigration background checks are performed on every applicant, regardless of ethnicity, national origin or religion.

Immigration Background Checks: Process

Immigration background checks are comprised of three parts:

  • Interagency Border Inspection System (IBIS) name check
  • FBI fingerprint check
  • FBI name check

All potential US immigrants must pass these three tests to secure a visa interview.

The IBIS screening is a check run by immigration officials at a port of entry. IBIS name checks utilize a centralized system and quickly produce findings. US Customs and Border Protection knows instantly whether or not additional system searches are required for the immigration applicant.

Fingerprints are obtained by USCIS at a biometrics appointment. FBI fingerprint checks are then performed by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) located in West Virginia. Fingerprint checks generally take between 24 and 48 hours. If an applicant’s fingerprints are associated with a criminal record, the immigration application is almost always denied.

The FBI name check should only take up to two weeks, but current backlogs have resulted in some cases pending for over a year. FBI name checks are conducted by the National Name Check Program in Washington DC. The potential immigrant’s name is checked against several databases of known criminals and suspects.

If none of these background checks produce a positive result for criminal activity, interviews for visas are scheduled.

This three-part immigration background check procedure is for United States immigration applicants. Several other countries — such as Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom — have similar procedures in place with their respective immigration agencies.

Consider Getting Your Own Preliminary Background Check

If you have had previous dealings with the police, a preliminary criminal background check will give you reassurance.

There are always people with small offenses on their record who are otherwise qualified to immigrate to the US. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services won’t automatically deny your application if there is a small crime that you have paid for, either with fines, jail time, court-mandated classes or some combination of those — especially if your offense was many years ago and you have had a clean record since then.

If you aren’t sure if your record has been expunged, or if you have any other concerns, you may opt to run a background check on yourself. Contacting a private investigator is the best way to obtain a background check.

When to Contact an Immigration Attorney

Immigration attorneys can help if something does appear on your record and you aren’t sure how to proceed. Experienced immigration lawyers will know exactly how to handle minor offenses as well as how to deal with larger and more problematic crimes.

Sometimes there are errors in background checks, such as offenses that were supposed to be expunged. Take steps to remove inaccurate information in your background check before filing immigration paperwork with USCIS.


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17 Comments
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Jaime Sanchez
3 years ago

How can i obtain a background check on myself. I had many years ago a civil case wich i won and i would like to inow if that may or may not affect an aplucation for tourist visa. I am a citizen of Mexico with no criminal background.

liz
3 years ago
Reply to  Jaime Sanchez

what kind of background check do we need to do, i need to know too

Rohan
3 years ago

I have a misdemeanor (dui arrest) in the year 2014. Will I be eligible to apply for GC ?

Chid
3 years ago
Reply to  Rohan

Rohan,
I had the same issue as you same year and have applied for a GC renewal. Is this your first time applying or renewal ?. I have been waiting for the past 7 months. Were you arrested / convicted or charged for your case?.

Ana
2 years ago
Reply to  Chid

Did u get ur green card renewed finally?

Flavio
11 months ago
Reply to  Rohan

Heyy rohan i have same situation in New York did u get your GC?

Amanda
2 years ago

Are immigration background checks the same as a regular background check?

walid
2 years ago

Hi,
i have a wire fraud back in 1991, my sentience was 14 month in orison and 3 years probation , my daughter is us citizen, can she apply the I 130 for me and her mother, will this crime affect my case?
Thank you

Nuvia Gonzalez
2 years ago

My husband and I have been married for almost 6 years. I am a US citizen and he entered the country illegally. I have started the process of applying for him a green card. My question is he entered the country about 20 years ago and he was caught and deported once. How can we check his background to see if this comes up. Does it matter that he was only 16 when he crossed the border?? Will a FBI background check catch this??

DELSHAD Othman
2 years ago

I have been Applied for a grant card I have been waiting almost 2 years just for background check I just want to know how mum take this process thank you so much

tony
2 years ago

I have a pending case in Brazil that is in the courts now. But I’ve been in the US on a green card for the past 9 years and nothing in the US. this happened before I moved to the US. Is this something that can effect my naturalization process?

Fatima Zuniga
2 years ago

how do i find out if I have any immigration issues or courts that i went to , need info for citizenship ?

bernie.
1 year ago

how can I do a background check on a immigrant in the states

Pradip Lamsal
1 year ago

Hi, I am in F1 visa status right now (internation Student) and last month something bad happen to me I was in the club and drinking suddenly I got passed-out and when I wake up I was in a Jail of Doraville City of Georgia(USA), they ran my finger print and found my information as immigration, the police officer said I was drunk and passed out found me on a highway and he also saying I was yelling on them, they file a case public drunk(State Law 11:11) and pass-out and I pay $160 for the court. On the receipt it is under title name “Uniform Traffic Citation Summons and Accusation” . and mentioning my details under section “Offense other than Above” , Now I talked with other people and they are saying I have to clear my record by hiring the lawyer. At my court day I asked to the judge is it going to ruin my job getting process in future he said this is going to stay only into this city. I don’t have any idea whether it will show up into getting my H1b or in Green Card Process in future and need advice for it, what I need to do. Help will be appreciated.

a
3 months ago
Reply to  Pradip Lamsal

By adding some many indepth details about your place of living and criminal offense, u actually left the record on internet