Applying for a work permit/visa in China and need your criminal background check letter fast? We've got you covered.
For the China work permit regulation, a letter from any level of government—city, state, or federal—stating that you have no criminal record seems to do. Some provinces do not require an original copy—a scan suffices. Thus, the easiest solution, if your most recent city of residence allows it, is to send a friend or relative to the local police station there and request the letter and then scan and e-mail it to you. However, some police stations require the signature of the person whose background they are checking; others require a notarized signature. The U.S. consulate in Chengdu provides notary services for a fee of $50, but you must book an appointment during citizens' services hours, which might not be available immediately. Still other police stations require such requests be made in person.
So if the above method fails, you have the option to obtain a record from your state's department of justice or from the FBI. Ordinarily this process takes five to six weeks, but it is possible to expedite the process to a week or less. Here's how:
Print two to five copies of the FBI fingerprint card (link opens PDF). This must be printed in color on cardstock.
Obtain fingerprints on these cards. The U.S. Consulate lists fingerprinting agencies in Kunming and Chengdu, and here is the FBI's advice on taking clear fingerprints. Fingerprints must be done in blue ink. Taking up to five sets is advised in case some prints are rejected. Here is complete information on how to fill out the information on the fingerprint cards (link opens PDF).
Here's the expedited part: Select an FBI channeler from this list of FBI-approved channelers.
a. Select the appropriate delivery method (as of this writing, a scanned copy suffices for the Chengdu Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, so to save time, select an option that includes receiving the letter via e-mail). If you also choose to have an original copy of the letter mailed, make sure to provide a U.S. address and have it sent to your name.
b. Select your desired payment option (this might require printing and completing a credit card payment form).
c You can e-mail the channeler to notify them that your request is on its way.
Use an express courier to send your application form, fingerprint cards, and payment to the channeler you selected. As of this writing, FedEx's fastest service takes about 3 days from Chengdu to Chicago and costs RMB310. DHL charges approximately RMB440.
Track your package online and wait with baited breath. After the designated processing time (48 hours in the case of Accurate Biometrics), you will receive an e-mail with a one-time access link to download your letter in PDF form. Therefore, make sure you are downloading on a device that will allow you to save the file.
Note: The above method takes about one week in total and costs around $100 to $150 (express shipping plus channeler fee). If you have more than a month to prepare this document, you can submit your request directly to the FBI. The fee for each "identity history summary" (i.e., criminal background check) is $18, and the processing time is 32 days. You will still need to factor in the cost and time of shipping your application and fingerprint cards to the FBI.
Officially the Rules for the Administration of Employment of Foreign Nationals in China seem to require that
foreign nationals have no criminal record in order to work legally in China (无犯罪记录证明). While enforcement of the general regulation may be handled differently in other cities, the Chengdu Human Resources and Social Security Bureau requires new arrivals and job changers to provide proof of no criminal record before a work permit will be issued. While it is not clear if entries for minor crimes may be tolerated, the rule of thumb seems to be zero tolerance.
image source: wikimedia.org & ditu.qq.com