Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 3.36 1. FBI Criminal History Reports

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Since the DHS is a federal agency and relies, often exclusively, on FBI criminal history records, it is most important to obtain the FBI rap sheet concerning the client.  This is most easily done directly by the client, who can receive the FBI record by writing a letter to the FBI asking for a “background search.”  S/he must submit the following: (1) full name; (2) date and place of birth; (3) a set of fingerprints (which can be obtained from most police departments or “photo/fingerprint” shops);[119] and (4) an $18 fee (certified check or money order payable to the “Treasurer of the United States”).[120]  The request must contain a return address and the client’s authorization to release the information to counsel.  This information should be sent to:


Federal Bureau of Investigation

Criminal Justice Identification Services Division

Special Correspondence Unit, Mod. D-2

1000 Custer Hollow Road

Clarksberg, West Virginia 26306. 


The telephone number is (304) 625-3878.  Check to see if any changes of fee, procedure, or forms have been adopted.  If the client cannot afford the fee, s/he may apply for a fee waiver by including a claim and proof of indigence.  The client’s letter can request that the FBI criminal history report be sent directly to his or her attorney, if desired.  It generally takes six to eight weeks or so to receive the report.

[119] The police department may charge a small fee, usually no more than $10, for the service of taking the client’s fingerprints and providing a completed fingerprint card to the client.  (E.g., California Penal Code § 13300e.)  The client should be instructed not to inform the police department, DMV, or other official source of fingerprints that the prints are sought for immigration purposes, as it is not contemplated that these fingerprints will be submitted to the DHS and the agency may refuse to provide the prints under those circumstances, since the immigration authorities have especially demanding requirements for obtaining fingerprints for immigration purposes.  The client should simply state s/he wants to see his or her own criminal record.

[120] A check from a personal or law firm account will be rejected.




The Immigrant Legal Resource Center and United We Dream has issued a new Practice Advisory that provides information on common issues that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal applicants face after traveling outside of the United States with advance parole. See DACA recipients who traveled on advance parole report a variety of problems when they attempt to renew, including delayed adjudication and denials. This advisory provides information on how to prevent those problems and successfully renew DACA. DACA recipients are urged not to travel before or after the dates of their grant of advance parole; and are urged to apply early for renewal (before 150 days) if they traveled using advance parole.