With the new E2 visa regulations well under way it seems everyone (Americans) is now in a hard place. We all know the great U. S. of A. is out of money for it's government programs and offices are understaffed so getting your FBI check done in a timely manner is going to be difficult. I don't plan on starting a new job till February or March, but that doesn't mean I'm not panicking already about my documents.
Here's the deal, get it done now. If you are thinking of renewing or looking for a new job anytime within the next six months get this done pronto! I spent some time on Dave's ESL cafe looking over people's complaints and comments about the process. Some say it took them 7 weeks to get their response from the FBI, while others it took them 10 weeks. Recruiters are giving it a maximum 12 weeks to get done, and I bet they are calculating in the apostille process.
To get it started you need to do many things of course. Kiss My Kimchi gives you a great breakdown of the whole process and includes other regulations you need to be concerned with. Today I am going to give you insight into the fingerprinting process itself, and what it is like to do it inside Korea.
This is actually my second time doing this from Korea and I found both to be quite similar. Here we go.
Download and Print the Necessary Documents:
- Application Form which you can find here.
- Fingerprint Card from the same website. Print up to 5 of these. The FBI will accept only 5 completed cards. I printed and completed 3. You don't have to print these on card stock paper. However I recommend printing via a color printer.
- If you choose to pay by credit card (makes the process faster) than print out the credit card form from the same website link above.
- FBI Identification Record Request checklist. This will help you get through the steps and make sure you filled everything out correctly. (From the same website).
- Find a sample of a completed FBI card online (I used this google search).
- If you are not going to bring a Korean person with you to the police station then have a Korean person write you a letter about the request.
What you are going to do is head to a large police station in your area or in Seoul. Either take with you a Korean person to help you along or bring a letter in Korean (as mentioned above). I have a feeling though you can go in and just do your best. Definitely bring the example page so they have an idea of what your requesting.
KoreaInsider website lists several police stations that would work well for this process.
- Seoul Metropolitan Police Foreign Affairs: 738-9997, 739-6848
- Seocho Police Station: 533-0607
- Sodaemun Police Station: 362-3366 English site: Korean:
- Songbuk Police Station: 923-3560
- Yongsan Police Station: 714-0113 (2nd floor)
- Police Central Interpretation Center (English): 313-0842
Let's go through the process of being fingerprinted in Korea. I went to the Seocho Police station (Korean site). My boyfriend took me so we went by car, but I will provide a map and subway directions.
When you go inside the lobby there will be a desk to your left. Go there and make your request. Once they figure it out they will direct you to the Criminal Investigation unit, which is down a hallway on the same floor. It kind of feels like you are in a crime drama.
We were greeted by two tall Korean men who looked excited and interested to see us. My boyfriend explained the whole deal. We showed them the documents and finally they nodded their heads yes and got it ready. They folded the paper where the different prints were to be taken. I was told to wipe my hands on my pants. Next time I would recommend you either wash them before you go in or bring a wet tissue as back up.
He next demonstrated the rolling himself. This was because he was going to blot my fingers in ink, but I was to roll them on the paper. Thanks to my new iPod touch I was able to get photos of it in action.
This is why it is necessary to get at least 3 - 5 cards done. You don't want to rely on one card. I did 3 because I didn't want to make it too laborious for the officers.
When taking the rolled impression, the side of the finger bulb is placed upon the card or platen. The finger is then rolled to the other side until it faces the opposite direction. Care should be exercised so the bulb of each finger, from tip to below the first joint, is rolled evenly. Generally, the weight of the finger is the maximum pressure needed to clearly record a fingerprint. In order to take advantage of the natural movement of the forearm, the hand should be rotated from the more difficult position to the easiest position. This requires the thumbs be rolled toward and the fingers away from the center of the individual's body. Roll each finger from nail to nail in the appropriate space, taking care to lift each finger up after rolling to avoid smudging.
Tips for rolling your fingers:
- Don't press too hard.
- Roll from "end" to "end" and lift up gently.
- If another finger is in the way (my pinky kept on intruding) then use your other hand to hold it down.
- The officer will roll your fingers in ink over and over to keep it fresh.
- Try not to sweat. I did a good job at this.
After we completed all three documents I was told to go and wash my hands. When I came back they were making copies of one of the cards. They requested to copy of my identification card and so I handed that to them. I am sure this is for their records. Also, they filled out the part of the form where the person who took your fingerprints is suppose to write.
We said our "thank you's" and "good bye's" and went home. It all took about 30 minutes and was a pleasant experience.
At the very next opportunity put together your package to send to either the FBI or a relative. I say a relative because to insure it will get back to you faster you need to include a return envelope that is stamped. I didn't want to bother with that from here so I am requesting my dad to that.
Make your package:
- Cover letter to the FBI requesting them to put on their seal and why you need it done.
- Letter to family (if necessary) letting them know the procedure and so-on.
- Fingerprint cards.
- Credit Card form.
I'm just glad it is off and over with, for now. Hopefully, by December I will expect something back in the mail from them. At which time I will be home and can do the apostille myself. For now I am double checking the apostille process and keeping my fingers crossed this doesn't delay my next job hunt.
If you have any questions or comments let me know. I hope this was helpful to other applicants out there and good luck with your own fingerprints!