U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Justice Information Services Division Clarksburg, WV 26306
CHALLENGING FBI IDENTITY HISTORY SUMMARY INFORMATION
With the implementation of U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Order 556-73 by the U.S. Attorney General on September 24, 1973, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was granted the authority to issue copies of FBI identification records to subjects of such records upon request. In accordance with the Attorney General’s order, the FBI could release copies of such records upon submission of a written request, satisfactory proof of identity of the person whose identification record was being requested, and a processing fee. If an individual was unable to provide the required fee, the individual could request waiver of the fee by submitting a claim and proof of indigence with a request. Upon compliance with these three provisions under U.S. DOJ Order 556-73, an individual would receive copies of his/her FBI identification record, also known as a “rap sheet”, or a no-record response. More than 40 years later, an individual can still request a search of the FBI Criminal File under the provisions of U.S. DOJ Order 556-73, which is now known as an Identity History Summary (IdHS) check. An individual may request an IdHS check by submitting a signed written request, a signed and complete set of rolled and simultaneous fingerprint impressions, including name and date of/place of birth to serve as proof of identity, and an $18.00 processing fee (or claim/proof of indigence) to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division. Upon completion of this request, the individual will receive an official copy of his/her IdHS, or a U.S. DOJ Order 556-73 response which indicates that there is no arrest information maintained on him or her within the FBI Criminal File, via the U.S. Postal Service. However, an individual may also request an IdHS check by electronically submitting a complete set of fingerprint impressions to the FBI’s CJIS Division through an FBI-approved channeler agency. Upon completion of a search of the FBI Criminal File, the appropriate response will be returned to the channeler agency for dissemination to the requesting individual. Once an individual receives U.S. DOJ Order 556-73 response from the FBI’s CJIS Division, the response can be utilized for many purposes. Because the response bears the FBI seal, title, and signature of an FBI official, the response meets the requirements for authentication (through an Apostille) by the U.S. Department of State for use of the response in a foreign country. The response can also be used to satisfy a variety of travel, adoption, and employment requirements, both domestic and international, when proof of any IdHS information 1
for an individual is required. Furthermore, the response can be utilized by an individual for review purposes to determine if his or her IdHS information contained within the FBI Criminal File is accurate and complete. One of the primary goals of the FBI’s CJIS Division is to ensure that all IdHS information contained within the FBI Criminal File is accurate and complete. However, because the FBI’s CJIS Division serves as the nation’s central repository and custodian for fingerprints and related IdHS information, as custodian of such information, the FBI’s CJIS Division does not have the authority to modify any IdHS information unless specifically notified to do so by the agency that owns the information. In regards to local and state agency IdHS information contained within the FBI Criminal File, most states, through agreement with the FBI, require that modification requests for IdHS information be processed through their respective state central repository (State Identification Bureau) before any modifications can be made to their IdHS information contained within the FBI Criminal File. The remaining states participate in the National Fingerprint File (NFF) program, in which the participating states maintain their own records systems, which can only be accessed and reviewed by the FBI’s CJIS Division; however, no modifications to any arrest information can be effected except by the state which owns the information. In regards to federal agency IdHS information contained within the FBI Criminal File, in order for the FBI’s CJIS Division to effect any modifications to this information, the FBI’s CJIS Division must receive a request directly from the original arresting agency, from a court with jurisdiction over the IdHS information, or from another agency with jurisdiction over the information. Because of these agreements and policies, one of the most important actions that an individual can take upon his or her receipt and review of a U.S. DOJ Order 556-73 response is to challenge any IdHS information contained within the response the individual knows, and has substantial proof of, that the information is inaccurate or incomplete. All IdHS information contained within the FBI Criminal file is submitted voluntarily to the FBI’s CJIS Division by authorized law enforcement and criminal justice agencies; therefore, it is the responsibility of the owner of any IdHS information contained within the FBI Criminal File to update and maintain this information. If this information is not updated by the owner of the information, this could have a negative impact on the subject of the IdHS information regarding employment, adoption opportunities, and other various endeavors. Challenging this information authorizes the FBI’s CJIS Division to collaborate with the owners of the information to determine if updates or modifications need to be made to the information, which in turn assists the FBI’s CJIS Division in reaching its goal of ensuring that all IdHS information contained within the FBI Criminal File is accurate and complete. In order for an individual to effectively challenge any arrest information contained within the FBI Criminal File, the individual must first undergo the U.S. DOJ Order 556-73 process. This action serves two important purposes. One, this establishes the individual’s identity by fingerprint comparison, as each of the 69 million summaries maintained within the FBI Criminal File are indexed by fingerprints; and two, this provides the requesting individual with the exact arrest information maintained on him or her within the FBI Criminal File. Individuals may wish to challenge inaccurate or incomplete arrest information they may have, but if this information is not maintained within the FBI Criminal File, and is only maintained at the local or state level, the 2
FBI’s CJIS Division cannot take any type of action regarding this information, and can only refer the challenging individuals to the owners of the information. Once an individual has received a U.S. DOJ Order 556-73 response and wishes to challenge information maintained on him or her within the FBI Criminal File, the individual has two options for challenging the information. One, the individual may contact the owners of the information in order to obtain their agencies’ specific challenge procedures. Or two, the individual can provide a signed, written request to the FBI’s CJIS Division stating that he or she wishes to challenge IdHS information maintained on him or her within the FBI Criminal File. In this request, the individual should clearly identify the information he or she feels is inaccurate or incomplete, and should include all available proof or documentation that would substantiate the claim that the IdHS information is inaccurate or incomplete. If the individual chooses to challenge the information through a third party, such as an attorney, the individual must also include a signed statement authorizing the FBI’s CJIS Division to release information to the third party. Once the FBI’s CJIS Division receives the individual’s challenge, the challenge will be researched and the owners of the information will be contacted in order to verify the accuracy of the challenged information. Once the FBI’s CJIS Division receives official notification from the owners of the information at the completion of this verification process, the appropriate action will be taken based on the direction provided. If directions are received to modify the IdHS information, the FBI’s CJIS Division will immediately make the appropriate modifications based upon these directions; however, if the directions received are to make no modifications to the IdHS information, no modifications will be made. Once the verification and any IdHS modification processes are complete, the FBI’s CJIS Division Biometric Services Section Chief will provide a signature letter to the individual, which will provide the individual complete details regarding the results of the individual’s IdHS information challenge. If the individual previously completed the U.S. DOJ Order 556-73 process, and modifications were made to the individual’s IdHS as a result of the challenge, in addition to the signature letter, the individual will receive a free copy of his or her updated IdHS. If the individual previously completed the U.S. DOJ Order 556-73 process, and the individual’s challenge results in the expungement of all arrest information maintained on him or her within the FBI Criminal File, in addition to the signature letter, the individual will receive a free copy of a U.S. DOJ Order 556-73 response which indicates that there is no arrest information maintained on him or her within the FBI Criminal File. IdHS challenge requests, once received by the FBI’s CJIS Division, are generally responded to within 30 days. However, due to various complexities encountered in the research and verification processes, some IdHS challenge requests may require additional processing
times. IdHS challenge requests may be submitted to the FBIâ€™s CJIS Division at the following address: FBI CJIS Division Attention: Criminal History Analysis Team One 1000 Custer Hollow Road Clarksburg, WV 26306 For more information regarding the U.S. DOJ Order 556-73 and IdHS challenge processes, please visit our website at www.fbi.gov/checks.