No, it’s not a Korean version of the popular CSI television series, but where you go in Korea (at least in Daejeon) if you are a foreigner and need to get fingerprinted so you can have the FBI do a criminal background check so you can continue working here (E-2 visa renewal).

I went to be fingerprinted for the fourth time in three years the other day. Why so many when I haven’t been in America in five years? Good question. The first one, in 2008 wasn’t good enough; it was good enough then, but now you have to get an Apostille for the FBI background check. Fair enough, but if my record was clean in 2008, and I haven’t been back to the States since, you would think that I would still be good to go. Right?

And if I had a criminal record, would I be stupid enough to have a criminal background check done, just so I can prove it officially?

It takes almost four months to have one done, too. You have to send the fingerprint cards to the FBI, which takes 2-3 months, and then, once you get them sent back, you have send them back to the States, this time to the State Department for the Apostille.

Last time I had them done, the CSI officer did not fingerprint me correctly and, after waiting for over two months for the results, the FBI sent back a letter telling me to do it again. Fortunately, I did not have to pay the $18.00 fee again. When I had them done again, I had four sets of fingerprints done—just in case.

However, I missed the deadline (the background check is only good for six months) so I went to the CSI office again, had four sets of fingerprints done, and waiting for the results. I am a little nervous because when I had them done, the officer smudged a couple of them. Good thing I had four sets made.

I don’t mind doing all this criminal background check stuff, but when your job and livelihood hangs in the balance because of bad fingerprinting or a backlog at the FBI—well, that’s when I start feeling a little nervous as my visa renewal deadline approaches. It’s still five months away, but I just want to have a peace of mind.