How do Americans get a criminal background check for teaching English abroad?

For Americans planning to teach English abroad, obtaining a criminal background check is often a critical part of the job or visa application process. Countries like South Korea, a major hub for foreign English teachers, mandate this check for securing an official work visa. Likewise, various nations and schools have similar prerequisites. Typically, the most frequently sought-after background check for American teachers is the FBI's Identity History Summary Check. Although locally-sourced checks are also accepted, the FBI's version is more universally recognized but may have longer processing times.

Also read: What is the EPIK program for teaching English in South Korea?

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What is an FBI criminal background check?

Can I get an FBI criminal background check abroad?

What is an FBI criminal background check?

Once you are in your country of choice and have secured a teaching job you might require a background check locally which can usually be done at a police station or government office. In this situation your employer should be able to inform you of the procedure you need to follow. However, in many cases, particularly in Asia, a full FBI criminal background check is required. This can be completed via the official FBI website. Simply follow the instructions online and your request should be processed within three to five days (add additional time for postage of results). It is also possible to apply by post, but the processing time for this route is anywhere up to two months. The cost of the check is $18.

If you are in a real hurry or simply want someone else to take care of things for you, you can apply for a background check via a third party company for an additional fee. Take a look at the list of FBI approved background check services for more details.

Can I get an FBI criminal background check abroad?

Yes, it is possible to apply for an FBI criminal background check from overseas. All the instructions required should be found on the FBI website, including how to register your fingerprints. Your fingerprints need to be placed on an official form that can be downloaded from the site or collected in person from a U.S. Embassy. Just remember that in many cases your new employer will be familiar with what is required and how to go about it as they have probably recruited other foreign teachers in the past.

Also read: How do I verify a TEFL certificate?