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Which Background Check Is Right For You? (US edition)

A background check, also known as police record or criminal report, is a summary of all the arrests and charges against an individual. State and federal agencies issue background checks on their citizens and residents

Background Check

A background check, also known as police record or criminal report, is a summary of all the arrests and charges against an individual. State and federal agencies issue background checks on their citizens and residents by comparing their personal information against police and court databases.

For US citizens, the FBI issues federal background checks that can be used internationally. The United States may also issue background checks for domestic use in a specific state.

There are different reasons why background checks are needed. A few reasons are international travel, retaining residency or citizenship, or for licensing and pre-employment screening.

FBI stands for Federal Bureau of Investigation and the report is also known as Identity History Summary. The report encompasses information on past and current arrests, criminal conduct of all types, federal employment, naturalization, and military service. This information is obtained from fingerprints and kept by the FBI.

Two types of US background checks: DO and ORI  


DO stands for Departmental Order. This FBI background check is for traveling abroad or retaining residency or citizenship in other countries. All states can issue a DO background check.

For travel, it ensures legitimate visitors and makes it difficult for criminals to impersonate innocent people. It allows immigration to spot violators, and those who may want to do harm.

When applying for residency or citizenship, the DO background check is to ensure applicants, are indeed eligible and don’t pose a threat to their origin country or to the country where they are trying to obtain residency or citizenship.


ORI stands for Originating Agency Identifier. The ORI is supplied by the employer for the category needed. Some common professions that may require this type of background check include security, real estate, car dealers, and those occupations that require contact with vulnerable members of society.

For employers, it is used for pre-employment screening by checking the following databases and records for criminal activity: federal criminal records, national criminal database, statewide criminal records, and local/county records.

We would also like to mention the FDLE which stands for Florida Department of Law Enforcement. This is used when applying for a job in certain industries in Florida. OLS Documents has an office in Orlando, so this article will highlight FL.

Background Check

Need a DO FBI Background Check?

To obtain the DO FBI report for immigration purposes, fingerprints must first be taken. The client will need to bring a valid identification or passport to the appointment. They may also be asked for personal information such as their place of birth and Social Security number.

There are 2 different ways that fingerprints can be taken and sent to be processed for a DO and ORI background check: Live scan (Digital fingerprints) and Ink prints.

Once the fingerprint application is submitted, a TCN (Transaction Control Number) number is created for that person. Each TCN is unique. The TCN is used to pull the FBI report from the database. Once the report is ready, it is printed on a security paper. Next, the FBI report is sent to the US Department of State for an apostille, which is required for international use. An apostille is a specialized certificate that is issued by the Secretary of State. Once the apostille is complete, it will need to be shipped to the location/address requested. You may need to have your document translated, depending on the country you intend to use it in.

Need an ORI FBI Background Check?

To obtain a job in certain industries, an ORI FBI background is required. Industries include (but are not limited to): health care, construction, detention centers, real estate, teaching, car dealerships and professions dealing with vulnerable sectors of the population.

To obtain the ORI FBI report, the employer will provide the specific ORI code to the person requesting licensing or employment. Fingerprints must be taken by a trained official and the client must bring a valid identification or passport to the appointment. Once the fingerprints are taken they are sent to the FBI, to be processed.

After the fingerprints are processed, the FBI sends the information to the state agency (for example: FDLE in Florida) which is held in the proper Originating Agency Identifier database. Then the employer accesses the database and can obtain the FBI background check. An apostille is not needed for use in the same country where the document was issued.

Bottom line

If you want to learn a few fun facts about fingerprints, we recommend this article.

Outlier Legal Services is dedicated to provide you with the highest level of professionalism, and secure process to help you fulfill your dreams in Costa Rica and Panama.

Our sister company OLS Documents can provide both DO and ORI background checks, as well as vital records, court documents and authentication services. Contact them for your document needs!



Lorri Moyer serves as the Purchasing and Logistics Coordinator. She has decades of work experience in companies like Disney and Telecom corporations. She knows a little bit about everything: from being certified lake patrol to installing copper/fiber phone lines, dabbles in gourmet popcorn, and being an Ultraman race finisher. She describes herself as organized and passionate.

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