Criminal Record Checks

U.S. citizens may be asked to present a “certificate of good conduct” or “lack of a criminal record” for a variety of reasons for use abroad including adoption, school attendance, employment, etc. U.S. law enforcement authorities may not be familiar with such a procedure since it is not commonly requested in the United States. There are a variety of options available to U.S. citizens seeking to obtain proof of their lack of a criminal record.

Local Police Check: Contact your local police department where you reside or last resided in the United States, request that the police conduct a criminal records search and provide you with a document reflecting that there is no history of a criminal record. Local police departments may require your personal appearance in order to conduct the search. Your local police department can phrase this in whatever way they deem appropriate. The document should then be authenticated for use abroad following our guidance on authentication or legalization of documents.

FBI Records Check: The Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) centralizes criminal justice information and provides accurate and timely information and services to local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies, the private sector, academia, and other government agencies. The subject of an identification record may obtain a copy thereof by submitting a written request to the CIS. The request must be accompanied by satisfactory proof of identity (consisting of name, date and place of birth, and a set of roll-inked fingerprint impressions) and a certified check or money order for the $18 processing fee. The FBI will not provide copies of arrest records to individuals other than the subject of the record. Requests should be directed to FBI CJIS Division, Attn: SCU, Mod. D-2, 1000 Custer Hollow Rd., Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306. If there is no criminal record, a report reflecting this fact is provided. See FBI Identification Record Request.

Getting Your Fingerprints Taken: U.S. citizens should be able to obtain fingerprint cards from their local police departments. U.S. embassies and consulates do not generally provide this service. In Bucharest, you may go to the General Police Inspectorate, on 13-15 Sos. Stefan cel Mare, the Criminal Records Division (Directia Cazier Judiciar, Tel: 021-316-4975, E-mail: to have your fingerprints taken. You may download the fingerprint form from CJIS’s website: Standard Fingerprint Form.

Authentication of Police or FBI Certificates of Lack of a Criminal Record: The FBI’s CJIS Division will authenticate U.S. Department of Justice Order 556-73 fingerprint search results for international requests by placing the FBI seal and signature of a Division official on the results, if requested at the time of submission. Documents prepared in this matter may then be sent to the Department of State’s Office of Authentications by the requestor to be authenticated if necessary. Please be sure to indicate the country in which the document is to be used. The FBI procedure became effective 1/25/2010 and will apply only to documents finalized after that date. Requests to authenticate previously processed results will not be accepted. See the FBI FAQ on this subject.

Documents obtained from your local police will require additional authentication after you obtain the local police seal. Contact your state Secretary of State’s office or other official designated in your state to authenticate state issued documents. See the Department of State general guidance on authentication of documents for use abroad.

Revised February 2010