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U.S. Criminal Records Checks
February 15, 2022

How do I obtain a federal criminal record check from the United States? 

U.S. citizens or South African citizens who resided in the U.S. may be asked to present a “police clearance certificate” or criminal records check from the United States for employment, temporary or permanent residence applications, etc.

Detailed information on requesting a U.S. federal criminal records check is available from the Federal Bureau of Investigation website at http://www.fbi.gov

Bear in mind, while the U.S. Consulate Johannesburg does not conduct FBI fingerprint clearance checks, If you have been asked to present a clearance certificate or criminal records check from the U.S. government, the following guidance may be helpful:

  • Follow this checklist for submitting fingerprint cards for clearance.
  • Download and complete an application form (PDF, 600kb).
  • The consulates in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town do not provide fingerprint cards. Instead, please follow the instructions below to download and print your own fingerprint card.
  • You may download and print fingerprint cards (PDF, 74kb) on your own heavy card stock; DO NOT print on regular letter paper, as your fingerprints will smudge and be rejected.
  • Take your fingerprint cards to a South African Police Service office, where your prints will be taken. The U.S. Consulate does not take FBI clearance fingerprints.
  • Payment of $18 U.S. dollars per request by certified check, money order, or by credit card using this form must be sent with your request.
  • You must seal and mail the completed fingerprint cards to an FBI office in the U.S. Any correspondence about the clearance will be between you and the FBI office exclusively. The U.S. Consulate will not follow up on your fingerprint clearance for you.

In addition to federal criminal records checks, you may also contact local police departments where you permanently reside or last resided in the United States. You may request that the local department conduct a local criminal records search for that jurisdiction and provide you with a document reflecting your criminal record, if any, in that jurisdiction.

Transportation Security Agency (TSA) clearance requests

If the TSA has asked you to be fingerprinted for a clearance, please call +27 11 290 3295 or visit https://www.tsa.gov/contact for assistance