We received a letter from the Church Travel Department that the Houston Consulate had changed the requirements for their police clearances. We have previously obtained one from the city of The Colony, but, apparently this one didn't have enough information in it.
If you received a similar letter and your missionary has already left home (either in the MTC or temporary stateside assignment), you have probably read that there are 3 options:
- Get a state police clearance.
- Get a city police clearance with the necessary documents.
- Get an FBI clearance. The problem with option 3 is that it will take 6 to 8 weeks to obtain.
The problem with options 1 and 2 are that they are impossible if your missionary has already left the state of Texas. The issue is that they require fingerprints and the state of Texas only accepts them from a company called IdentGo, which you can see from a quick review of the application form. IdentGo doesn't have any offices in Utah (so, no MTC option). If your missionary is serving temporarily in the field, they might be lucky enough to have an IdentGo office in their area. Their offices are listed on their web site.
(If your missionary is still in Texas, 1 and 2 are the best options because you can get the document quickly. A trip to Austin will allow you to get it the same day.)
So, how do you get the FBI clearance?
The FBI doesn't require a specific agency to take the fingerprints, however, they do require that they be on a specific form. What the letter from the Church did not tell you is that they will take care of the fingerprinting at the MTC. If your missionary is in the field, they can get their fingerprints at a police station.
Prepare a kit with the following:
1) The FBI Clearance Form. It came with the letter you received. Fill it out for your missionary so they don't have to waste precious time doing it themselves.
2) The FBI fingerprint form (see link above). Make sure you print it out on card stock. I went to Kinko's, but, you can probably have it done at a good copy shop, or, if you have a printer that will take the card stock paper, go for it.
3) A Money Order for $18 made out to US Treasury. I got one from my bank. Be sure you sign it!
4) The letter that states where the FBI is to send the completed form. This should be to the Church Travel department.
LDS Church Travel5) An envelope with the place your missionary will mail them from (the MTC in our case) as the return address, but addressed to the FBI address on the form. (Note: Previously I had said to send it to the Church's travel office address with the home address of the missionary as the address on the certificate. The FBI informed me that their system will mail it to the address on the certificate, so, you will have to remail it to the Church travel office. There is no need to prepare an envelope for the FBI or to spend money on priority mail or expedited postage as their mailing system just sends it regular mail to the return address on the certificate. I have heard of cases where the FBI was able to send it directly to Church travel, but, my experience was that this only led to unnecessary delay). You can print the label from the US Postal Service website. I highly recommend you add your email address for notifications so that you can follow the documents and see if your missionary has sent it or not.
50 E. North Temple St
Salt Lake City, UT 84150
If you have any questions, just post them here and I'll do my best to answer.