Comprehensive Guide to Obtaining an Apostille for Your FBI Background Check

Securing an apostille for an FBI background check is a critical step for those seeking international work, study, or residency. This guide provides a step-by-step approach to streamline the process, ensuring that your documents are authenticated in compliance with the Hague Apostille Convention.

Step 1: Obtain Your FBI Criminal History Summary

The first step is to request your FBI Criminal History Summary, often referred to as an Identity History Summary or an FBI Background Check. This can be done through the FBI's official website or through an approved FBI Channeler. Ensure that your fingerprints are taken accurately and submitted alongside your application to avoid any delays.

Step 2: Verify the Document's Authenticity

Upon receiving your FBI Background Check, verify that all personal information is correct and that the document contains the official seal and signature of the Department of Justice. Any discrepancies can lead to complications in the apostille process.

Step 3: Requesting the Apostille

By Mail:

To request an apostille by mail, send the original FBI Background Check to the U.S. Department of State's Office of Authentications. Include a completed DS-4194 form specifying the country in which the apostille will be used, and provide a self-addressed, prepaid return envelope.


For expedited service, you may visit the Office of Authentications in Washington, D.C. Check the office's walk-in hours and be prepared to present your original documents, a valid government-issued ID, and the completed DS-4194 form.

Through an Expedited Service Provider:

If you are unable to request an apostille in person or prefer not to do it by mail, authorized service providers can manage the process on your behalf. Notarize offers document processing services for apostilles and FBI background checks. We will handle the submission and retrieval of documents, often ensuring a faster turnaround.

Step 4: Translation Services

If the apostilled FBI Background Check is intended for use in a non-English speaking country, certified translation services are necessary. The translation must be accurate and adhere to the standards required by the destination country's consulate or embassy. Notarize offers a one-stop-shop for translation, notarization and apostille services.

Step 5: Verify the Apostilled Document

Once you receive your apostilled FBI Background Check, verify that the apostille certificate is attached, usually in the form of a stamped certificate fixed to your document. This certificate should contain a unique number, through which its authenticity can be confirmed online or by contacting the issuing authority.

Diagram: Flowchart of the Apostille Process

How to Request an FBI Background Check Apostille Today

Final Steps: Preparing for International Submission

Before submitting your apostilled FBI Background Check internationally, ensure that all steps have been followed correctly. Double-check the requirements of the country in question, as some may have additional stipulations beyond the apostille.

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