FBI Name Check: FAQ's

Q: How long will it take for my name check to be completed?

A: The length of time it takes for a name check to be completed varies from name to name.
The majority of name checks submitted are electronically checked and returned to the submitting agency as having "No Record" within 48-72 hours.
A secondary manual name search conducted within 30-60 days usually identifies additional requests as having a "No Record."
Many times, the delay associated with the processing of the remaining name checks is not the actual time it takes to process a name check, but the time it takes for an analyst to get to the name check request in order to process it. This is due to the constant volume of name checks, several million each year, combined with the FBI's current work on processing residual name checks from a batch of 2.7 million requests submitted by USCIS in December 2002, as compared to the NNCP's limited resources.

Q: How can I have my name check expedited?

A: The FBI tries to process its oldest name checks first. Customer agencies (e.g. USCIS) will occasionally request expedited handling of specific name checks. Criteria used to determine which name checks receive expedited handling are internal matters of each customer agency. The FBI does request that the number of expedited cases be kept to a minimum in fairness to the other pending name check requests.

Q: Does contacting my Congressional representative expedite my name check?

A: No, the requesting agency determines expedited handling, i.e. USCIS.

Q: Is there a fee I can pay to expedite the process?

A: No. Processing times are a function of the volume of work versus the resources that can be applied to the task. Paying an additional fee would not speed up the name check process.

Q: I am aware that some name checks have been completed that were submitted to the FBI after cases that remain pending. Why are some name checks not handled in the order in which they are received?

A: The vast majority of name check requests are completed in less than 60 days. Of those remaining, the FBI tries to complete the oldest name checks first. The time to complete any given name check varies. There are many factors that impact processing times such as the number of files to retrieve and review, a file's location and accessibility, case status, and workload all impact processing times. Another factor that might delay the processing of a name check request on a first in/first out basis is the number of requests for expedited handling received from a customer agency.

Q: My Freedom of Information/Privacy Act request to the FBI resulted in a "no record" response. Given that, why is my name check request still pending?

A: Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts (FOIPA) requests are sometimes confused with name check requests. FOIPA provides copies of FBI files relevant to a specific FOIPA request. For FOIPA, the FBI search uses the name or information as provided in the FOIPA request. A FOIPA search determines whether there is an investigative file associated with an individual—a "main file" search. For a name check, "main files" and "reference files" are both checked, in an effort to protect our national security, in addition to searching a name in a multitude of combinations.

Q: Who can I call to check on the status of my name check?

A: The FBI will only respond to status inquiries from its customer agencies. Please contact the organization receiving your original application. In Citizenship and Immigration cases, contact USCIS for the status.

Source: www.fbi.gov
(For further information please visit www.fbi.gov)