Instant Criminal Reports


FBI rap sheet Request

An FBI Identification Record—often referred to as a criminal history record or a “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. The process of responding to an Identification Record request is generally known as a criminal background check.

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 the 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 information submitted by agencies having criminal justice responsibilities.

The U.S. 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. 

Who May Request a Copy of a Record (or Proof That a Record Does Not Exist)

Only you can request a copy of your own Identification Record.

Individuals typically make this request for personal review, to challenge the information on record, to satisfy a requirement for adopting a child in the U.S. or internationally, or to satisfy a requirement to live, work, or travel in a foreign country (i.e., police certificate, letter of good conduct, criminal history background, etc.).

Background Checks for Employment or Licensing

If you are requesting a background check for employment or licensing within the U.S., you may be required by state statute or federal law to submit your request through your state identification bureau, the requesting federal agency, or another 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.

How to Request a Copy of Your Record

Step 1: Complete the Applicant Information Form (pdf).

  • If the request is for a couple, family, etc., all persons must sign the form.
  • Include your complete mailing address. Provide your telephone number and/or e-mail address, if available.

Step 2: Obtain a set of your fingerprints.

  • Provide the original fingerprint card. Previously processed cards or copies will not be accepted.
  • Your name and date of birth must be provided on the card. Fingerprints should be placed on a standard fingerprint form (FD-258) commonly used for applicant or law enforcement purposes.
  • Include rolled impressions of all 10 fingerprints and impressions of all 10 fingerprints taken simultaneously (these are sometime 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.
  • To ensure the most legible prints possible, refer to the Recording Legible Fingerprintsbrochure.

Step 3: Submit payment.

  • Option 1: Obtain a money order or cashiers check for $18 U.S. dollars made payable to the Treasury of the United States. Please be sure to sign where required.
  • Option 2: Pay by credit card using the Credit Card Payment Form (pdf). Don’t forget to include the expiration date of the credit card that you are using.
  • Important note: Cash, personal checks, or business checks WILL NOT be accepted.
  • Payment must be for the exact amount.
  • If the request is for a couple, family, etc., include $18 for each person.
  • If you are making multiple requests per person, include $18 for each request.

Step 4: Review the FBI Identification Record Request Checklist (pdf) to ensure that you have included all the information we require to process your request.

Step 5: Mail the required items listed above—applicant information form, fingerprint card, and payment—to the following address:

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

What Happens Next

If we find no record, you will receive a “no record” response. If you do have a criminal history record on file, you will receive your Identification Record, or “rap sheet.”

Note: Although the FBI employs the most efficient methods for processing these requests, processing times may take up to 12 weeks depending on the volume of requests received.

 

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