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Indiana University

University Human Resources

IU-specific Procedures
Background Checks Q&A:
International Applicants

Q: What is the university’s policy on when it is necessary to conduct a criminal background check on a foreign national?

A: If the person has been in the United States for over one year, the university’s policy is to conduct a criminal background check covering that period of time using the normal background check process using GIS. A criminal history check in the individual’s prior countries of residence is to be performed only if the individual’s visa and/or authorization to work in the United States was issued before implementation of the Patriot Act on October 24, 2001. The university will not require that a criminal history check be conducted in the individual’s prior countries of residence if the visa or authorization to work was issued or renewed under the provisions of the Patriot Act.

Q: What information does GIS need to conduct the search? (As a new resident in the United States an international applicant may or may not have a Social Security number and even if they do, it will be new without any credit history associated with it.)

A: All of the required fields have a red asterisk next to them in the GIS system. If they are a new resident they should technically have a SSN. If they do not have a SSN enter all 9’s in the GIS SSN field.

Q: What are the costs and where can a user find out the cost?

A: Please contact your campus human resources office for the cost of a search for a particular country.

Q: Are Canadian searches the same price as the U.S.?

A: Canadian searches are different from the United States in that the entire country must be searched through the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police).

Q: How long does it take to perform an international search?

A: International search turnaround time typically is around 7 to 10 business days.

Q: Are there countries for which GIS recommends not doing a search? Is there such a list or how does a user learn which countries are on that list if it exists?

A: Your campus human resources office will contact GIS if there is a question about the country in which you are interested in conducting a background check.

Q: What type of screening does the State Department do on a person entering the country and requesting a work permit? What does it consists of and are the results available to IU as an employer?

A: They access the FBI's NCIC (National Crime Information Center) to conduct the criminal portion.

Q: Is the process any different if the person: (1) has just arrived, (2) is not yet in the U.S., or (3) has lived in the United States for a period of time?

A: The process should be identical regardless of whether the person has just arrived, has lived in the U.S., or is not yet in the U.S.


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Page updated: February 2014

Indiana University is an equal employment and affirmative action employer and a provider of ADA services. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ethnicity, color, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or identity, marital status, national origin, disability status or protected veteran status. Indiana University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational programs and activities, including employment and admission, as required by Title IX. Questions or complaints regarding Title IX may be referred to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights or the university Title IX Coordinator. See Indiana University’s Notice of Non-Discrimination here which includes contact information.

The Annual Security Reports, containing policy statements and crime statistics for Indiana University campuses, are available through Public Safety and the IU Police Department web sites at protect.iu.edu/police-safety/annual-reports/index.html.  A paper copy will be provided upon request from Public Safety at .