Navigating Your Apostille Options: Traditional vs. Expedited Services for FBI Background Checks

Navigating Your Apostille Options: Two Paths for FBI Background Checks


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on securing an apostille for your FBI background check. We recognize the importance and time-sensitivity of this process, whether for travel, work, or other international requirements. In this guide, we’ll explain both available options, so you can make an informed decision.


Ordering your FBI Background Check

Initially, it’s necessary for you to secure an FBI background check.  These documents are sometimes called FBI “Rap Sheets” or FBI Criminal History Reports. Guidance on how to do so is available on the FBI’s official website, a step that is outside our service scope.

After acquiring your FBI background check in PDF format from the FBI, you are then able to submit an order with us. We are equipped to process the background check directly from the PDF, eliminating the need for you to send any physical documents to us.

Option 1: U.S. Department of State Apostille

What to Expect

  • Time: 3-6 weeks
  • Cost: $175 for the first document, $95 for each additional.
  • Process: We’ll print out the PDF of your FBI-supplied document and submit it to the U.S. Department of State for apostille processing. Once the apostille is issued, we will mail the finalized documents back to you.

Why Choose Option 1?

This method has universal acceptance and is recommended for those who have enough time before the document is needed.

Option 2: Washington, D.C. Secretary of State Apostille

What to Expect

  • Time: 3-4 business days
  • Cost: $225 for the first document, $125 for each additional.
  • Process: We’ll print the PDF of your FBI background check that you’ve obtained from the FBI. Next, we’ll present this to a D.C. Notary Public for notarization as a “true copy.” After that, we’ll submit the notarized document to the D.C. Secretary of State to obtain the Hague Apostille. Finally, we’ll ship the apostilled document back to you.

Why Choose Option 2?

This option is significantly faster but comes with some risks regarding universal acceptance.  Not recommended for Spain.

As of March 2024, the only country we are aware of that is rejecting this option is Spain.  Rejections from other countries are possible.

Official Statements from D.C. Secretary of State

On August 10, 2023, the D.C. Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications provided guidelines that enabled the notarization of certain federal documents, including FBI background checks.

Dear Notary Public: We are writing to inform you of two very important items. You may now notarize copies of many federal documents, including FBI background checks and fingerprints. In general, any federal document that does not say on its face it cannot be notarized, may be copied and notarized. EXCEPT, you may not notarize naturalization or immigration documents, whether originals or copies. This supersedes any previous statements regarding federal documents.

On September 9, 2023, we reached out to the Washington D.C. Secretary of State via email, seeking a more official statement about the validity of apostilles for FBI background checks using this procedure. Below is the response we received:

Thank you for your email. We do not have anything more official than the email we sent out. According to the US State Department/US Authentications Office, notaries may notarize copies of many federal documents, including FBI background checks. We have no way of knowing, nor do we have any purview over what countries will accept authentications issued by DC or other state jurisdictions.

Preview an Example of a D.C. Apostille

Curious to see what a D.C. Apostille looks like? We’ve provided an example below so you can familiarize yourself with its appearance, which differs from apostilles issued by the U.S. Department of State. This example may be useful to show to foreign authorities for verification purposes.


Choosing Between Option 1 and Option 2


Before deciding, consider the following:

  • How quickly do you need the apostille?
  • Is the receiving entity familiar with D.C. apostilles?

Our Recommendations

  • If time is crucial, consider Option 2.
  • Always consult with the end-recipient to confirm their acceptance of a D.C. apostille.

Consumer Caution

Be aware that we offer both services. It is essential to consult the end-recipient and make an informed decision based on your specific needs.

Our Goodwill Guarantee: A Safety Net for Option 2

We understand that choosing Option 2 for apostilling your FBI background check is a new route and that you might have concerns about its acceptance internationally. To provide you with peace of mind, we’re introducing a special offer.

The Goodwill Discount on U.S. Department of State Apostilles

If you choose Option 2 (D.C. Secretary of State Apostille) and find that the receiving entity does not accept the apostille, we regret that we cannot offer a refund for this service. However, as a gesture of goodwill, we will provide a significant discount should you decide to revert to Option 1 (U.S. Department of State Apostille).

You also have the option of ordering both processes at the same time while taking advantage of discount pricing.  We will submit your FBI background check to both the Washington DC Secertary of State and the US Department of State at the same time, potentially saving you time should the former not be accepted.

How It Works

  1. Notify Us: If you encounter any issues with the acceptance of your D.C. apostille, contact us immediately.

  2. Switch to Option 1: We’ll transition your document to undergo the U.S. Department of State apostille process.

  3. Discount Applied: A special discount will be applied to the cost of this service as a goodwill gesture.

Terms and Conditions

Please note that proof of non-acceptance may be required to avail of this discount. Contact our customer service for full details on terms and conditions.

Contact Us

For any more information or clarification, our lines are always open.