This may seem like the most complicated document to acquire because EPIK spends about three pages of the Required Documents explanation packet explaining it in a confusing way that’s not really in order. However, if you break down the procedure it is actually very simple. In this post I break it down in two parts, step by step. (For US applicants only, sorry!)
DISCLAIMER: This POST Was WRITTEN FROM MY EXPERIENCES DURING THE FALL 2015 EPIK INTAKE. FUTURE PROCESSES OR FORMS MAY DIFFER. ALWAYS READ EPIK’S INSTRUCTIONS FIRST AND USE MY INFORMATION AS A SUPPLEMENT ONLY IF IT APPLIES.
PART ONE: ACQUIRE YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD CHECK (CRC)
Before I go into anything: It’s important to know that your CRC cannot be more than 6 months old when you apply for your visa. So, although you want to do this step early, do not do it toooo early. You would be applying for your visa about 1 month before your orientation (Mid-February or Mid-August).
1. FBI or Channeler?
The first thing you need to decide is who you want to pay to check your background to see if you’ve ever been arrested. You need to decide this before getting your fingerprinting done because some channeler’s require multiple sets of fingerprints. Your two options are:
a) FBI: Instructions for getting your CRC directly through the FBI can be found here. Although going through the FBI will only cost you $18, it can take about 14-16 weeks.
b) Approved FBI Channeler: Because 14-16 weeks is a longgg time, the FBI has a list of approved channeler’s on their website. These channelers will process your CRC much faster, however it is more expensive. I used VetConnex so I can recommend them. It took only about a week for me to receive my CRC, but it did cost $45. In the end, it was totally worth it! No stress and panicking about my CRC not arriving in time.
2. Get Fingerprinted
Now that you’ve decided who you want to do your background check, you need to get fingerprinted. Getting your fingerprints is easy. I called my local police station and made an appointment for that day to get my fingerprints taken. Check your local police department’s website for their process. Fingerprinting is usually done by a detective.
I brought two fingerprint card print outs from the FBI website. However, the detective wanted to use the cards the police station had. I eventually convinced him to do both sets, why not?! It is better to be safe than sorry! Make sure that your fingerprints are clear. They can get denied and then you will have to pay all over again. If livescan is available anywhere do that instead. I cannot give any information on this since I did not have this option.
3. Mail Fingerprints to FBI or Channeler
This step varies slightly depending on who you chose to use. If you are using the FBI, click here.
For Vetconnex I had to include:
-Completed VetConnex Application Information Form
-Two original sets of fingerprints
-Photocopies of two forms of identification (i.e. driver’s license, school ID, passport, birth cert)
-Payment of $45: there were a few options here. You could fill out the credit card information on the application form, send a money order or cashier’s check, or call and pay over the phone. I called and paid over the phone because that seemed easier, and it was.
PART TWO: GET THE CRC APOSTILLED
First off, what is an apostille??
“An Apostille is a certificate issued by a designated authority…. Apostilles authenticate the seals and signatures of officials on public documents such as birth certificates, notarials, court orders, or any other document issued by a public authority, so that they can be recognized in foreign countries…” (source: Travel.State.Gov).
*Important Note*: The CRC apostille must be done on the federal level by the US Department of State. You cannot have your CRC apsotilled by the Secretary of State like your diplomas.
1. Receive your CRC
It’s a single blue paper that will basically say they found nothing on your record (hopefully! :P).
2. Review the Instructions
You can find the detailed directions here. Unless you live in the DC area, you will need to mail-in your request for an apostille.
Print the Request of Authentications Service DS-4194 form and follow EPIK’s notes about how to fill this form out:
Section 1: For "case type" put 'individual' Section 2: Answer 'no' and leave the rest blank Section 3: Fill in how you want your apostilled CRC mailed back to you Section 4: Fill in 'South Korea' as the country and 'FBI Criminal Record Check"
3 . Mail Everything to the US Department of State.
Mail the CRC, DS-4194 form, a check for $8 made out to “U.S. Department of State”, and a self-addressed pre-paid envelope.
There was a discrepancy about the address in the Facebook group. EPIK gave us one address in the Required Documents instructions packet, but the Department of State’s website gave another address. I went with the one on the Department of State’s website and had no issues.
4. Receive your Apostilled CRC
I don’t think this even took two weeks to reach my doorstep. You will get something that looks like this: Model Apostille.
See! It’s really not that complicated once you organize the process. I hope that this post helped clear up any confusion!e
If you found this helpful, check out the rest of my EPIK Application Guide!