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Foreign Adoptions

The DOJ will honor a request for a fingerprint background check if needed for approval for a foreign adoption. This process is not the adoption home study and is not to be considered an approval or denial to adopt.

If the foreign government or adoption agency requires an FBI background check, please go to FBI for information and instructions, or you can call (304) 625-3878.

If the foreign government or adoption agency requires a search of the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI), visit the Child Protection Program's web site or contact them by phone at (916) 227-3285 for information and instructions.

The following are the basic steps to complete your request for a state background check using Live Scan if you are in California, or a manual fingerprint card if you are outside of California. Failure to follow these procedures may result in a delay or the rejection of your application for a DOJ background check.

ELECTRONIC (Live Scan) SUBMISSIONS:

Step One (1):

Print out a copy of the Request Form:
Request for Live Scan Service - BCIA 8016RR, pdf

Step Two (2):

Follow the instructions for completing your Request Form:
Guidelines for Completing BCIA 8016RR, pdf
En Español, pdf

Step Three (3):

Live Scan Device and Process Image Examples

Get fingerprinted. Fingerprint services are usually available from your local police or sheriff’s department, or from private vendors engaged in the fingerprinting business. To find the site nearest to you and a listing of fees, see Public Live Scan Sites.

Your total costs will be $25 plus the fingerprint rolling fee charged by the Live-Scan agency. Since the fingerprint-rolling fee varies widely among locations, you will want to review the cost along with the accepted methods of payment before going to the fingerprinting site.

Step Four (4):

Once the submission is received and processed, the DOJ will mail the response via U.S, mail to the applicant and to the foreign government (Identified by the applicant on the BCII RR 8016 form). It is the applicant’s responsibility to forward the information to their legal counsel or assistance agency.

NOTE: An "Apostille" or a "Certification" is frequently required by the foreign government before the background check will be accepted. The document you receive from the DOJ is not the actual Apostille, but will include the signatures necessary for such authentication. You will need to forward DOJ’s document to the Secretary of State to obtain the Apostille. For more information, you can visit the Secretary of State’s website.

MANUAL FINGERPRINT CARD SUBMISSIONS

Step One (1):

Print out the Foreign Adoption Hard Card Instructions, pdf

Step Two (2):

Obtain a blank FD258 fingerprint card from your local law enforcement agency and fill it out according to the instructions. If you are having difficulty in obtaining a blank FD 258 fingerprint card, please contact the Record Review Unit at (916) 227-3849.

Step Three (3):

Get fingerprinted. Contact your local law enforcement agency for fingerprinting services.

Step Four (4):

Mail the FD 258 fingerprint card

Submissions must be accompanied by either personal check drawn on a U.S. bank, money order or certified check. The check or money order must be in the amount of $25 and made payable to the "California Department of Justice." Mail your application, FD 258 fingerprint card and processing fee to:

Application Image Example

California Department of Justice
Record Review Unit
P.O. Box 903417
Sacramento, CA 94203-4170

Once the submission is received and processed, the DOJ will mail the response via U.S, mail to the applicant and to the foreign government (Identified by the applicant on the FD 258 fingerprint card). It is the applicant’s responsibility to forward the information to their legal counsel or assistance agency.

NOTE: An "Apostille" or a "Certification" is frequently required by the foreign government before the background check will be accepted. The document you receive from the DOJ will not be the actual Apostille, but will include the signatures necessary for such authentication.You will need to forward DOJ’s document to the Secretary of State to obtain the Apostille, if needed. For more information, you can visit the Secretary of State’s website.

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